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JUBA - 19 Jul 2021

Dismissed lawmakers demand reinstatement

Several lawmakers who were not reappointed to South Sudan’s Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) have demanded reinstatement. 

Last month, President Salva Kiir revoked the appointment of 36 representatives to R-TNLA, the lower chamber of the country’s legislature, a little over a month after their appointment, and before they could take the oath of office. 

No reason was given for the abrupt changes.  

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj over the weekend, the majority of those dismissed demanded reinstatement, saying they represent constituencies that came to life during the 2010 elections. 

The complainants, the majority of whom are from the SPLM party, called for representation. 

“Our concern is that those of us representing legitimate geographical constituencies have been left out of the R-TNLA by the committee tasked with overseeing the reconstitution process. For example, I was representing Constituency No. 17 Pibor East. But my appointment was revoked, and my constituency transferred to Gumuruk. Now, all the 3 constituencies of Pibor County are transferred to only one area, Gumuruk,” Abraham Ngacho Tango of Pibor explained. 

He added, “According to the president, all the 2010 constituencies should be represented. But that has not been observed, and no reason is given for revocation”

Another former lawmaker, Kam Gai Chuol of Leer County said his constituency is not represented as well, condemning it as marginalization, and that it may create friction among the locals.

“I represent Leer Constituency No. 23. I wonder why we are neglected yet our constituency is an independent one. It has nothing to do with the SPLM party, SPLM-IO, or any other political group,” he said. 

Gai pointed out that he will file a lawsuit in the constitutional court to seek redress. 

Rejab Mohandis of the civil society Organization for Responsive Governance and a representative to the peace monitoring body R-JMEC urged the disgruntled MPs to address the concerns within their parties. 

“Some of those MPs have been in parliament since 2010. They witnessed elected governors being removed from their positions but they did not complain. So, it is the same thing affecting them now. If their complaints should have a strong basis, then they should complain for the elected governors,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Jame David Kolok, the head of the consortium South Sudan Civil Society Forum (SSCSF), said while the agreement is silent on the reconstitution process, there is a need for constructive party politics.

“I hope this issue will not have a negative implication. South Sudan has got a history of individuals fighting if they are not part of the government. If we still have this mentality, then yes there is a threat,” Kolok said.