• Taban Gabriel

The volume is loud: is the current parliament illegitimate?

Taban Gabriel, Juba

Information Minister Michael Makuei's justification for rejecting a parliamentary summon is genuine and speaks volumes! For context, in a letter sent earlier this month the Chairman of Information Committee, Hon. Paul Yoane, summoned Makuei and two other senior officials over matters concerning outstanding court dockets. Makuei and the officials were given six days to appear before the committee.

Michael Makuei, the sitting Information Minister.

However, Makuei declined to appear before Yoane and the committee. He argued that the as the parliament is currently on recess, he must wait until the reconstituted peace parliament is in session. Makuei noted that given the incumbent government and executives are revitalized, they cannot be answerable to the un-reconstituted parliament.

Michael Makuei isn’t the first public figure to question the legitimacy of the current parliament.

In April last year, CEPO's Edmon Yakani threw jabs at some members of the National Assembly over questions of what he described as their right to operate before a new parliament is reconstituted.

The September 2018 peace agreement stipulates that the parliament will expand to 550 sitting members, of which the incumbent government will have 332, the SPLM-IO 128, SSOA 50, OPP 30 and FDs 10, respectively.

The agreement also demands that the reconstituted parliament supports legislation which assists the transitional process and its subsequent reforms.

Taken in its most general sense, the role of any parliament is to make laws and hold the government to account in its policies and actions. Yet, at time of writing the National Assembly is not yet reconstituted. Hence, its legitimacy is brought into question.

A 2011 diagram illustrating the functions of the South Sudanese government.

Just like any other cabinet member in a reconstituted cabinet position, Michael Makuei can only be answerable to a reconstituted parliament. However, this does not currently exist. Might we also question Makuei's legitimacy, by this logic?

Instead of summoning reconstituted cabinet members, why doesn't the current parliament and its committee chairs push for the speedy formation of a legislatively legitimised parliament? This will give them the powers they are owed. Otherwise, of what benefit is a committee if not made legitimate by reconstitution?

Paul Yoane and his drama kings should not hoodwink the South Sudanese masses; our eyes are now open and we can’t allow such irrational and thoughtless lies to precipitate on us any more.

The writer is a Freelance journalist. For any queries about the article, he can be reached by email: gabronn2014@gmail.com

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