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MP calling for protest was interrogated, says another lawmaker

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Parliamentary sitting. April 12, 2024. (Photo: Obaj Okuj).

The leadership of the national parliament says it will follow up on a member who was interrogated for speaking out about the plight of citizens in the country and hinting at peaceful protests due to inaction of the August House over the rise of commodity prices.

During last week’s parliamentary session, Lawmaker Amule Michael Lasu challenged the parliament for keeping mum about the skyrocketing prices in the market, especially water and fuel.

The opposition MP said some residents in the outskirts of Juba have been without water as they were unable to afford it due to the high prices.

Honourable Michael said the parliament failed to question the concerned authorities concerning the situation and suggested a protest.

But the Speaker of the Parliament, Jemma Nunu Kumba demanded that he withdraw the statement which he complied with.

After that day’s sitting, security personnel interrogated the lawmaker -something another MP Samuel Loti informed the parliament about.

“A member brought up an issue saying we may need to go on the street regarding the current situation and after the debate, he was made to withdraw. This member of parliament has been summoned by national security for interrogation over something that happened within this house.

Loti, citing from the parliamentary regulation said sections 145 and 147 of the conduct of business protect the rights of members to express their opinions within the parliament freely.

“All of us have the right to speak in this (August) house, but not to be persecuted. We need to make this very clear anything that is said in this house should not be turned around.

“We are representing our people and we have the right to speak for our people, but not to be persecuted and threatened. This must stop,” he said.

In response, Deputy Speaker Parmena Awerial who presided over the seating agreed and said the leadership would take it up.

“I believe that’s a valid point. When you express yourself within these walls, you’re not subjected to repercussions. However, when you voice your opinions outside, you encounter limitations. But within this chamber, every member has the right to speak freely. We’ll investigate what was said and the circumstances surrounding it,” said Deputy Speaker.

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