By Ngor Arol Garang
October 7, 2011 (JUBA) - An MP from Warrap state Thursday accused South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, of intimidating lawmakers into not voting against a motion attempting to impeach state governor Nyandeng Malek Dielic.
Ariec Mayar Ariec was one of 26 MPs who voted for the governor’s impeachment maintains that proper procedures were not followed by the speaker.
The MP claims that some legislatures missed the vote after being "intimidated" by the Vice President through the state’s speaker. He told Sudan Tribune that because not every MP was present and no time was given to discuss the motion the vote was "illegal and unconstitutional".
Ariec said that the speaker hastily ordered the vote against governor after a phone call with Machar, despite only 41 of the 48 member being present.
The lawmaker said they asked for an adjournment of the voting in line with constitutional requirement which requires that voting take place only after all the procedures have been followed including presence of the whole membership of the assembly.
According to the MP, the speaker quoted Machar as saying that "the charges brought against governor were baseless“ claiming that the security situation in the state had been no better under previous governors Luis Anei Kueidit, Anthony Bol Madut and Tor Deng Mawien served.
"Some of these governors were senior military officers and failed to control the security who now Nyandeng [Malek]. Please tell members of Warrap State Assembly to drop this charge and leave Nyandeng [Malek] alone”, Machar is quoted as saying.
“This was the speaker told us in the deliberations of the assembly. So we are not the ones accusing the vice president. It was what we were told by the speaker with whom they spoke”, he said.
“This was what confused the situation in the Assembly. The interference of the vice president who was actually the acting president at the time was unconstitutional”, he said. Salva Kiir was on a trip to New York to address the United Nations as the first president of the independent Republic of South Sudan.
The lawmaker said they are preparing another motion because they were only 41 at the time the voting he said was imposed by the speaker took place of which 26 of them voted against the governor 15 voted in support of governor while seven were absent.
“Despite all these tricks and intimidations we do not recognise Nyandeng [Malek] as the legitimate governor of Warrap state. Because what happened was illegal and unconstitutional and we are still disputing”, he said.
To details their complaints a groups of MPs sent a one page letter addressed to Warrap speaker, Madot Dut Deng, objecting to alleged imposed procedures and claims of intimidation during a failed attempt to impeach the state governor.
On 27 September, officials from Warrap told Sudan Tribune that the state assembly voted against an attempt to remove state governor from her office. Eleven charges were raised against including denying the prevalence of severe malnutrition in the state despite reports that some people have died of hunger. MPs also claim that the governor has no agenda to implement.
Some of the charges include; administrative failure to control rampant sectional fighting in the state; lack of transparency and accountability in spending public funds; refusal to establish a fiscal planning commission office in the state provided for in the constitution; awarding contracts to individual contractors without seeking approval from the assembly.
The letter, addressed to the speaker and copied to president of the republic of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit and the local office for South Sudan’s ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the state, quoted article 56(1) of the Warrap State Interim constitution as source of constitutional reference for objecting alleged interference.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, has the right, under the constitution of the country, which became independent in July, to dismiss elected officials if national security is at risk.
Signed by 32 MPs, the letter, accused the speaker of the house of having imposed the vote of confidence on the parliament while some members were not in attendance.
“This was unconstitutional and against article 56 (3) (a) of Warrap interim Constitution. You took the decision to impose the voting under instruction of the vice president of the republic of south Sudan”, the letter says.
“You objected a motion raised by Hon. Dominic Deng Mayom requesting adjournment of the sitting to the following day even though it was supported by the majority members. This was unconstitutional decision because your decision objecting motion raised by honorable member contradicted article 73 of the interim constitution of Warrap State and therefore a clear violation of constitution of the constitution of Warrap State”.
But speaker Madot in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Thursday denied all the charges. He said that media reports that he or South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar had ordered the stoppage of the voting procedures were "rubbish".
"The[they do not hold any single truth whatsoever. Neither me nor vice president had ordered stoppage or imposition of the voting”, Madot told Sudan Tribune by phone from Kuacjok, the capital of Warrap.
He said that Machar’s involvement was purely inquire on what was happening in Warrap because he was informed a day before the voting took place.
“He was only calling for confirmation of whether what he heard was correct. That was what happened. He did not instruct me to cancel or impose the voting”, Warrap’s speaker said.
Anei Mangong Anei, Warrap’s minister of information in the state also denied the vote on the competency of the governor had been rushed so as to help her hold off the challenge to her authority.
“It was a lost motion. The members who raised the motion were defeated because in the constitution of Warrap 36 members are required for a vote impeaching governor. This was not the case. The members who voted in favor of impeachment against the governor were 26 while 14 voted in the favor of Governor and 2 abstained," Anei told Sudan Tribune from Kuacjok, capital of the state.
He said they will not give up as article 70 of the interim constitution of Warrap State says that power is given to the majority and as the majority the governor should go.