October 8, 2013 (BENTIU) - After a month of agitating by MPs, a new speaker was appointed to the Unity state legislative on Tuesday, with Simon Maguek Gai, who stepped down in September, replaced by James Nguany Chakuoth a former chief whip.
- James Nguany Chakuoth, the new speaker of the Unity state parliament. 8 October 2013 (ST)
Unity state’s caretaker governor Joseph Nguen Monytuel nominated Chakuoth at a meeting of MPs who represent South Sudan’s ruling party - the SPLM - in the parliament.
The governor’s nomination was opposed by some MPs, including the current deputy speaker Petro Juoi Machar who had shown interest in being promoted. Chakuoth was not voted into office but put in place by the governor who argued that he would act in the interests of the SPLM.
The new speaker said he will work hard to improve basic services for all people in the state.
"I will work closely with the people between the executives to the counties and legislature, this is the thing that I wish to happen in the future", added the speaker.
Chakuoth said he and the caretaker governor will work jointly to address the economic crisis that engulfed South Sudan since oil production was stopped for over a year due a transit fee dispute and border security issue with neighbouring Sudan.
Gatluak Pech Dak a member of parliament representing Payinjiar county from the South Sudan African Nation Union said the nomination of Chakuoth was opposed by some members of the SPLM.
Dak said that the state had bad health facilities, poor schools and dangerous roads. He urged the speaker to prioritise development projects.
“We just remind that the current speaker must come up and must know the roles of legislatures in the state. I think things are going to be in place, we are working together to achieve the common goal and the common goals of this state is the development our citizens should not suffer”, said Dak.
Former speaker Simon Maguek Gai says the way things were handled in the assembly was contrary to the parliaments code of conduct as the governor and other members of the state’s executive should not have been able to interfere.
“The motions all together was not follow it is completely unconstitutional and it is against the conduct of business regulations of the assembly because things were discuss differently by different people not the member of the assembly until the executives brought the nomination”, added Gai.
Gai urged lawmakers to be respectful and avoid conflict situation. Gai say he will not challenge the proceeding in court but warned against ignoring the law.
Although speaker Gai’s removal was described as unlawful by some MPs, many say that they felt force to accept the governor’s candidate.