Power dispute, shortage of funds paralyses parliament

MPs in a recent parliamentary session

Activities at the parliament have been put on halt by the absence of specialized committee chairpersons and a shortage of funds, the former Opposition Chief Whip in the National Assembly, Hon. Okuny Ayom, has said.

Last month, the Speaker of the Transitional Assembly, Anthony Lino Makana, reshuffled the heads of the 22 committees.

Hon. Okony said some members of parliament were unhappy about the procedure, arguing that he did not consult with the heads of state caucuses. They threatened a motion of no confidence in the speaker.

Hon. Andrew Ukuny said the appointment of the 22 chairpersons was suspended after the raw, leading to the paralysis of activities at the assembly.

He told Eye Radio on Thursday morning that no activity had been carried out for the last two weeks.

“The halt in the operations of the parliament is due to the chairpersons of the specialized committee. They were called first and they were withdrawn because of complaints raised from different groups of people, different constituencies, and different states that they are not represented,” Hon. Okuny explained.

“As such the assembly cannot operate because the operation of the assembly depends on the chairpersons of the committees. And every activity in the assembly is by the committees,” he said.

“And it has been going on now for more than two weeks. And it is a setback actually because we have many laws that need to be passed and activities are paralyzed,” he added.

Hon. Ukuny said a lack of funding has also contributed to the halt of activities at the Transitional National Assembly.

“There are outstanding claims of finance that sometimes stop work of the assembly. Sometimes you don’t get fuel for the assembly. You get it dark. These are some of the issues, the funding of the assembly,” he said.

When contacted for comment, the Government Chief Whip, Atem Garang, referred the matter to other senior officials in the assembly, who are yet to comment.