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Parliament adjourns sitting to discuss Kiir’s speech over absence of ministers

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Monday, May 20, 2024

Lawmakers at the National Parliament. (Photo: Lou Nelson/Eye Radio).

The National Legislature on Monday adjourned a sitting to deliberate on President Kiir’s 3rd April speech after lawmakers requested the presence of national ministers.

Kiir’s address on the first parliamentary session of 2024, focused on the need for economic reforms, agricultural improvement, youth employment, upcoming elections, and regional security.

The parliament has formed a 23-member legislative committee to analyze the speech and return it for deliberation within two weeks. But this process has since delayed.

During a presentation of the report, lawmaker Elizabeth Adut, an SPLM member from Northern Bahr el-Ghazal state, said the speech was important, and demanded that the relevant ministers attend the session.

“My point of procedure, Right Honorable Speaker is about the importance of the Speech of the President, I am talking about the ministers, ministers are not here and we are presenting the speech of the President,” she said.

“My suggestion Rt. Honorable, is that we have to adjourn the sitting and wait for the ministers to come.”

On his part, Hon. Gatwech Lam, the Acting Chief Whip of the SPLM-IO, also said he concurred with the suggestion.

He said the ministers are responsible for implementing government policies and suggested that they attend the deliberation.

“Right. Honorable Speaker, I think Honorable Elizabeth Adut is correct. The President’s address is all about the policies of the government. Who are the implementers of the policy of the government if not the ministers?”

“So, we can not discuss the President’s address without the ministers, because these are the people that are going to be directed by the house to implement the policies.”

“So, I would concur with her and move a motion that we adjourn the sitting until the ministers are here.”

Responding to the lawmakers, Speaker of Parliament Jemma Nunu Kumba concurred with the MPs.

She directed the Minister of Parliament Affairs to inform the ministers to turn up for the sitting on Tuesday.

“I think there’s a point here, when the President came to present his speech all the ministers were here. Also as we discuss the speech, they must also be here to take note of what is in the report,” Nunu said.

“So, in view of this, the Speaker also agrees with this motion and allows the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs to inform all the ministers to be here during the discussion.”

Over the last three sittings, the lawmakers have been calling on ministers to attend the sessions as required by parliamentary procedures for conducting business and passing laws.

The legislators have also decried the constant failure of ministers to adhere to the parliament’s resolution to appear in the house when summoned.





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