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Legislators reassert supremacy over the Executive

President Salva Kiir addressing the TNLA in a recent function

Members of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly have expressed the need for the supremacy of the legislature over the executive in the next transitional period.

South Sudan is expected to enter into a new transitional period with the formation of a new government of national unity as a result of the revitalized peace agreement.

According the constitution, the National Legislature represents the will of the people of South Sudan and shall foster unity and nationhood, exercise legislative functions, oversee the Executive, and promote decentralized system of government.

It also has the power to impeach the President, cast a vote of no confidence against the Vice President and any Minister, approve declaration of war, and confirm declaration of a state of emergency or its termination.

However, analysts believe over the years, the Executive through the office of the President has unlawfully absorbed the powers of the assembly.

Some believe the parliament has only been used to rubber stamp decisions of the executive that were supposed be debated and approved by the parliament, before being executed.

Speaking yesterday in the national parliament in Juba, some MPs reiterated their constitutional right to summon Ministers to answer questions on matters related to their ministries, approve plans, programmes and policies of the National Government, including approve budgets.

Others say these rights have been violated.

“We have to change our ways of doing things, and it is this parliament that will change our ways of doing things,” The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Honorable Peter Bashir Bendi said.

Hon. Bendi said the parliament should reassert its oversight role during the next transitional government.

The current transitional parliament is expected to be expanded to over 500 members with the expected return of the opposition groups to Juba.

“We will fight corruption through this parliament, we will fight tribalism through this parliament, and we will reunite our people –especially the social fabric which has been destroyed as a result of this crisis – through this parliament.”

“With our brothers [in opposition] who are coming, let us take this country to a different level. Let us change our ways, and let us mean business. So we have to put the nation first, and the people first,” he added.

Honorable Nyan Achiek Nhial insists that the parliament should not back-down on its role of promoting transparency and accountability.

“We are serious, we the MPs even if we are dismissed from the parliament, we will become another parliament on the streets. We will not leave the executive alone,” said Hon. Nyan Achiek.

She said this will ensure the executive is delivering on their mandate to deliver services to the public.

“There are a lot of ministers who have been on their ministerial positions for so long, this is what is bringing problems to this country. Why don’t you appoint another minister to do the job, and we decide if he is doing the job or not.”

For his part, honorable Daniel Awet Akot, the Presidential Advisor on Military Affairs, and an MP at the TNLA, said the legislators should also safeguard the recently signed peace agreement as a guarantee for economic stability and development in South Sudan.

“Have we internalize that it is only peace that will avoid blame-game which will avoid corruption and what that is happening? When we are in peace, it is money by itself, because the international community, the West and the investors either in the Arab countries have their eyes are on South Sudan. People are fed up of us, but they have money, they want to work here,” Hon. Awet said.

“So as our brothers are coming, we should develop a different attitude all together; whether you have been hurt or whatever, it is our attitude that will show to them that the people inside have accepted peace. And it is in the assembly here that it has to be shown. So brothers and sisters, peace is what we need.”