October 30, 2013 (JUBA) - The governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, Paul Malong Awan, defended his rejection of parliamentary changes, in particular, the removal of head of information and public relations committee, claiming his actions were constitutional and justifiable.
Awan, according to a cabinet minister, dismissed claims by an anonymous MP labeling him as a “dictator” and “divisive” in his leadership. He played down the criticism putting them down to “disgruntled” and "unpatriotic elements” of the state’s MPs.
Members of the Northern Bahr el Ghazal state legislative assembly expressed disappointment that the Governor has become involvement in the affairs of the house, particularly his decision introduce changes to some parliamentary committees on 24 October.
“First of all, I would like to make some corrections in regards to views expressed by some members of parliament who even failed to identify themselves, which shows that they were not honest. What I want to say is that the governor did not violate any law. He also did not impose any decision on anybody. He only expressed his opinion as a leader, especially where elements of transparency and the need to accommodate certain constitutional provisions were not observed in the decision of the house”, a cabinet minister who also did not want to be named said Wednesday
The minister said governor Awan had only asked the members to go to their respective counties and sit down with their constituents so that they select who they want among the members in the house to take up the positions from which the incumbents were removed.
“The governor did not make any nomination. He only asked the members to go their counties and sit down with their constituents so that they make selections of whom they want from among these members. He just emphasised on the need to observe some constitutional provisions, especially those which concerns with certain group in the society like people with the special needs”, he said.
He cited an article in the transitional constitution of the republic of South Sudan, which he says advocates for guaranteeing and the protection of the rights as well as participation of the people with the “special needs” in the society at all levels of governments in the country without prejudices.
“Article 30 (1) of the transitional constitution of the republic of South Sudan, states clearly that all levels of government shall guarantee to persons with special needs participation in society and the enjoyment of rights and freedoms set out in this Constitution, especially access to public utilities, suitable education and employment. This means that any decision of the house should observe. In this case, the members acting under political disillusion decided to remove comrade Majong Ngor, who fought and was shot in the battle during our war of liberation struggle with oppressive successive Khartoum regimes, as one of the senior officers. Isn’t it a shame to remove him?”
He says he would vacate his ministerial post if he were asked to leave for any of the disabled members of parliament.
“I am asked today by the governor to leave my ministerial position to be occupied by any disabled; I would definitely not hesitate to do so. I will immediately without hesitations accept to show respect and honour to our veterans and martyrs who brought us this country with their blood. What would we have struggled over if these people we despise today did not sacrifice their blood”, he asked in an interview with Sudan Tribune, from Aweil town, capital of the state on Wednesday.
But a legislator, who did not want to identified, refuted the argument of the minister, claiming that it was a ploy to deny members they did not want to be appointed into the assembly leadership.
“This is just a ploy to deny some members they do not like to be appointed in the positions of leadership in the house. If it is because they want to show a respect to some provisions in the constitution as they claimed, why they don’t give him a cabinet position. They actually do not want him. This is why they are keeping him at the periphery of power. They are demoting him [Majang Ngor]. You know that he was the speaker and now thrown away to the extent that he returns to competes with members at the lower level positions. What does this mean? It means they don’t want him to occupy a key position. They just want to use him as one of the tools to implement their decisions in the house. This is the simple meaning of the imposition”, the lawmaker explained.