September 30, 2013 (WAU) – The deputy speaker of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state assembly insists has no explanation to make, despite summons from fellow lawmakers over his alleged misconduct.
- Northern Bahr el Ghazal Legislative Assembly members taking oath of office (paulmalongforgovernor.org)
Athiang Manok Athiang was recently quoted by a local media as having described lawmakers in the national assembly as “crooks” and “betrayers” after they rejected Telar Riing Deng, an ex-nominee for the justice ministry.
While a 10-member committee was formed by the national assembly to probe Athiang, his fellow lawmakers in the state want him impeached.
However, the deputy speaker, who is to appear before the assembly seems opposed to the parliamentary summons.
“What will I go and tell them. There is no document from the court and there is no document from the National Legislative Assembly. Also, I did not use my position as the deputy speaker. I was not speaking as government official. I was speaking as a citizen expressing my own opinion”, he told Sudan Tribune by phone.
And if there is any issue, I will have to take full responsibility, he added.
The embattled deputy speaker wondered whether killing or committing adultery by an individual would be considered an act committed by the government of a given state in the country. I do not really understand the connection.
“May be some people are not reading from the constitution. I did say I was speaking for anybody. I was speaking as individual citizen expressing my opinion because I was trying to actually protect the interest of the SPLM as our party”, stressed the lawmaker.
I was trying to tell the national legislative assembly and the state legislative assembly that what they did was wrong because they challenged decision of the president, he further added.
Athiang was reacting to reports that he had been summoned by the state assembly to explain the motive behind his earlier utterances, which were widely covered in the local media.
Ernest Mangok, the state minister for parliamentary affairs confirmed Monday that the assembly had indeed summoned the deputy speaker to make a personal statement before the house.
“It is in the conduct of business of the state constitution that a member of the assembly is required to make explanation when something like this has happened to any member of the house”, the minister exclusively told Sudan Tribune.
The reason is to educate the members so that the house gets to know what transpired, he added.
The state minister, however, dismissed reports suggesting he was behind the ongoing lobbying to have Athiang removed from the post of deputy speaker.
“It is not true that I and Hon. Akoon Diing had approached some members of parliament. This is incorrect and those who said this did not provide the right information. What I know is that deputy speaker was asked to make personal explanation. There is no plan to remove him”, clarified Mangok.
But multiple sources told Sudan Tribune of an ongoing plot to remove Athiang, with many already anticipating that the embattled deputy speaker could end up like former speaker, Aguer Wol Aguer.
Athiang, who is currently in the capital, Juba, is also accused of leaving without approval from the house, contrary to assembly rules of procedure.
The deputy speaker has, however, dismissed these allegations.
“I was given permission by the speaker. I did not leave without approval. I have requested the leave and it was approved. So I do not understand what is happening”, he said.
He said the plot to remove him from the position of deputy speaker was not in any way linked to statements uttered, but insists there could be a hidden motive behind the planned impeachment.
“There must be a hidden agenda otherwise what will they say if the national legislative assembly says they have no case against me. Why are they in [a] hurry?” Athiang asked.
They should wait until there is a case that requires me to appear before court, he