March 10, 2013 (JUBA) - An member of the parliament of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, which has been split politically since 2011, has denied that the state’s politicians are divided over the reinstatement of the assembly’s speaker.
The speaker was sacked last year by the state’s Governor but South Sudan’s president, following a recommendation from the upper house of the country’s parliament, order that the speaker and six other MPs be allowed back into the ruling SPLM and to retake their positions.
Majang Ngor Kuany told Sudan Tribune last week that the 32 members of parliament would accept the return of the six MPs but not the former speaker, Aguer Wol Aguer.
But the another MP, William Wel, told Sudan Tribune from Aweil, capital of state that what Kuany "was a personal view" as the parliament had not discussed the presidents directive.
"We support decision of the president. This is the position of the majority members of parliament", Wel said.
Aguer was removed from the office as speaker in 2012 by an executive order of the state governor Paul Malong Awan, on allegations that he had refused to comply with a directive asking him to resign following claims he did not the support of the parliament.
Governor Awan, in a letter dated June 6, 2012, which Sudan Tribune obtained, claims his action was necessitated by the need to preserve unity of the SPLM members in the house.
He stated that the action was in line with the principles and objectives of the state’s 2008 constitution. However, the letter failed to mention which provisions give him the power to remove speaker without following parliamentary rules and regulations, as is stipulated in the conduct of business.
“The SPLM State Secretariat in collaboration with the office of the SPLM State chairperson have seen the dispute in the State Legislative Assembly as worrying and endangering stability and unity of the SPLM membership in the state. Hence, to rescue this situation, the SPLM in the state has firmly decided to remove Hon.Aguer Wol Aguer from the speakership position since he has failed to observe and comply with decision of the majority, 30 members of parliament”, letter reads in part.
Awan’s decision was rejected by South Sudan’s Council of States, which passed a resolution reinstating speaker and the six members of parliament who were also dismissed on allegations that they were collaboration with members of other political parties against activities of the SPLM in the house.
The resolution was submitted to the office of the president for endorsement and implementation. In February 2013, President Kiir responded with directive asking a minister in his office to write to governor Awan to implement the resolution of the council of states which reinstated six members of parliament and Aguer Wol Aguer as the legitimate Speaker.
The letter dated 22 February is said to have been given to governor Awan in person by an official in the office of the president. It remains unclear how soon or whether he will implement the directive.
Many officials expressed views suggesting that the governor might take action so as to avoid coming into conflict with president, while some members of state’s parliament have expressed their unwillingness for the speaker to return.
“The directive of the president will work on six members but it will not work for the speaker. 32 members will not accept Aguer Wol Aguer to return as speaker again. This will not happen," Majang Ngor Kuany, himself a former speaker of the house, who is currently a head of information told Sudan Tribune last week.
Kuany became head of information and public relations committee after dissolution of the assembly leadership in which Aguer was removed during a session he boycotted, saying it was “illegal and unconstitutional”.
He accused some members of the state’s executive for sponsoring the dispute. Achak Thiep, a member of the six MPs expelled from the party who have been reinstated said an outpouring of outraged "disgust" should not see all citizens painted as power hungry community.
“We welcomed directive of the president. We will return. We knew we would return because what was done was not right. That why I kept quiet and returned all 12 identification cards when they were asked by the state secretariat. I did it so because I wanted to show that we are law abiding people. We did not want to do it the way it was expected”, Thiep told Sudan Tribune Saturday.
The legislator asked members on the other side of the political camp in the house to be careful not to rubbish the name of the state and to preserve peace and unity in the house and also in their respective constituencies.
“Our state is one of the peaceful states in the country. It is not a violent state. It is well known in the whole country that we are peace loving community. By and large we are not trouble making people. We love peace. Our people are peace-loving people. This is why the state has been stable and peaceful though there are some elements that acted in shocking and unacceptable manner. This must stop. We believe in peaceful means of resolving dispute otherwise if we adopt the type of mentality we see now, some people would not have come. Some people with physical strengths would have taken these positions”, Thiep explained.