October 7, 2013 (JUBA)- The deputy speaker of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state legislative assembly was on Monday removed from his position, confirming earlier reports that intense lobbying was ongoing to have him impeached.
Athiang Manok Athiang was removed during a sitting that was convened in the assembly on Monday.
The vote, multiple legislators told Sudan Tribune, was carried out after the former deputy speaker declined to resign from the position, despite repeated requests for him to do so.
He has been under investigation over statements he uttered in a local media that allegedly undermined the integrity of lawmakers in the country’s national assembly.
Two motions were raised on Monday in a session attended by 32 lawmakers. But while the first motion, seconded by 10 law makers advocated for the deputy speaker’s removal, the other motion, which was supported by five MPs, called for his condemnation.
At least seven members of the assembly abstained from taking part in the exercise, alleged it was the work of the “invisible hands”.
“There were invisible hands in this vote. It was something already cooked and this was what I told you last week that we have been approached by the minister of parliamentary affairs with Akoon Diing and Garang Majak to help them remove the deputy speaker”, said a lawmaker who preferred anonymity.
“I knew it was going to happen because this is how they do their things. Someone somewhere is using some of the members as a toy to advance his interest all the time”, he added.
The legislator, who did not want to be named, claimed Majak, a candidate vying for the deputy speaker ’s post “brought them heavy working lunch” after the vote.
“When the result [was] confirmed, some members became excited and Garang Majak, who is one of the members lobbying for the position collected us in two trips to the market and bought us heavy working lunch today”, the lawmaker told Sudan Tribune.
“This was the beginning of the campaign”, he added, confirming his earlier revelation to Sudan Tribune on the matter.
When contacted on the issue, Majang Ngor Kuany, the head of information and public relations, said he “does not want to comment on anything relating to the assembly”, indicating “prevalent of dissidence” in the house over the vote.
“I cannot comment on anything relating to the assembly. You ask another member about it”, Kuany told Sudan Tribune on Monday from the state capital, Aweil.
A legislator who voted in favour of the former deputy speaker claimed some individuals in the state have “created a political environment that does not recognise independence of the house.”
“I regret having accepted to be a member of this parliament because we are no longer seen as representatives of the people”, he said.
We have not been allowed time and opportunity to do what the people who elected us wants to do, instead we have allowed ourselves to be divided by individuals, the legislator added.
The lawmaker, who asked not to be named, expressed concern about relationship between two institutions to build democracy and protecting human rights.