Juba, June 25, 2014 (SSNA) — After weeks of internal wrangling, the speaker of South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly (SSNLA), Manasseh Magok Rundial, has secretly replaced heads of parliamentary committee without following parliamentary procedure. The new chairs are widely speculated to be staunch supporters of president Salva kiir Mayardiit.
The move surprises most of the MPs with leading members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and opposition party threatening to boycott all parliamentary legislative sessions, unless the speaker reverses his decision.
A secret document obtained by the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) explains reasons as to why the speaker chooses to act without following parliamentary procedure. The document signed by the government’s Legal Affairs Advisor, Telar Ring Deng, further reveals political tactics, maneuverings, and conspiracy to counter the growing nationwide call for federalism to be established in hope to end the ongoing political crisis in the country.
“Mr. Speaker, we have no time to waste. You must remove any head of any committee who acts against the government interests. Any member of Parliament who talks about the so-called FEDERALISM must go”, Telar Ring Deng, the Legal Affairs Advisor in the office of president said in the document.
“Some MPs are not helpful in this senseless war. We don’t want those [MPs who are not openly supporting the government]. There is no give and take with supporters of rebels”, Deng warned.
Telar Ring Deng has a story of stony relationship with the young nation’s MPs. In August of 2013, his bit to become the country’s Justice Minister was trashed, with most MPS calling his legal record “bogus and tainted”.
Deng’s contentious comment, linking unnamed MPs to the ongoing rebellion did not surprise MPs who are furious about action taken by the speaker, Rundial.
Three influential members of Parliament who spoke to the SSNA on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal confirmed the change and declared that the main reason the speaker removed the committee chairs is because the government doesn’t want people who publicly express their support for a federal system of government.
“Here in Juba, people simply don’t talk about federalism, especially if an individual wants to see a fully-established federal government in the country”, One of the MPs who talked to the SSNA acknowledged.
“We will not allow these illegal appointments to stand. Parliament is different from an Executive office; these threats from a government’s legal affairs advisor are the very same reasons we went to bush and fought against Khartoum’s regime", he declared.
Meanwhile, the main opposition party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) rejected the procedure, calling it “inequitable and nonsense”.
President Kiir has on many occasions indicated that he will not tolerate anyone who criticizes his government. In 2013, he asked anyone who publicly criticizes his government to leave, asserting that a person cannot criticize the government and expect to be a part of government at the same time.
On July 23, 2013, Kiir dissolved his entire cabinet and reduced the number of national ministers, claiming he wants a lean government.
Fighting erupted in Juba late last year between different units of presidential guards after months of political crisis among senior leaders of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party.