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Business community backs Supreme Court rejection of Amum’s appeal

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November 3, 2013 (JUBA) - The business community in South Sudan has backed the country’s Supreme Court for ruling against an appeal by Pagan Amum, the suspended secretary-general of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

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SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum (AFP/Getty)

Amum filed a petition in the Supreme Court on 7 August, accusing the party’s leader, Salva Kiir, of violating the country’s constitutions when he suspended him and curtailed his freedom of movement and expression in reaction to his criticisms on how the president was handling national issues.

On 28 October, the Supreme Court rejected Amum’s petition on the grounds that he had not “exhausted all the remedies available to him”.

The Supreme Court judgement has been welcomed by the South Sudanese business community.

South Lual Bol Kuan, a spokesperson for the South Sudan business group, says the business community supports the Supreme Court judgment.

“We want to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation in regards to the decision taken by the Supreme Court of the Republic of South Sudan. The court reflected the will of the people of South Sudan, particularly the leadership and the entire membership of the SPLM”, said Lual Bol Kuan, a spokesperson for the South Sudan business group, in statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

Speaking on behalf of the business community, Kuan also praised the leadership shown by resident Kiir.

“On behalf of different business groups in this country, as their spokesperson, I would like to register our sincere thanks and appreciation to our leadership, particularly our president, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, for demonstrating leadership even when his authority was undermined and allowing the court to make an independent decision”, he said.

According to Kuan, utterances attributed to Amum in the media criticising Kiir showed his disloyalty to the leadership of the SPLM and promoted enmity in the rank and file of the ruling party.

In support of the Supreme Court ruling, the spokesperson of the business community said

As much as the constitution of South Sudan allows for freedom of speech, Kuan said there is a legitimate limitation to this right, particularly in instances when one is deemed to be promoting violence and enmity.

According to Kuan, Amum should have followed established administrative channels within the SPLM to share his grievances instead of resorting to using the media.

“Even in America, which portrays itself as the supporter of democracy, they address their internal differences within the established institutions”, he said.

CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATION

However, business official Elijah Diing Deng said even if Amum acted like someone in the opposition, he still has the right to freedom of expression and movement.

“I do not approve the decision that limits his movement because that in itself is another violation of the constitution of the Republic of South Sudan. I do not want our government to correct a wrong act with another illegal act”, said Deng.

“I know comrade Pagan Amum acted like someone in the opposition but that is not the way to make correction. He should only be suspended from his position and allowed to move freely like anyone, whether he wants to travel outside the country or inside”, he added.

Deng expressed fears that disunity within the governing party could have a bearing on foreign investment in the country.

“Our leaders think this situation does not go beyond the leadership wrangle, but as [a] business community, we feel the link and threat to business activities. It encourages fear and uncertainty, thereby affecting investment opportunities in the country”, he said.

Deng’s view was supported by Garang Mawien, a native of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state currently on a visit to Juba. According to Mawien, it is unconstitutional to limit Amum’s movement and right to freedom of expression.

“Our transitional constitution, particularly article 24 (1) states clearly that every citizen shall have the right to the freedom of expression, reception and dissemination of information, publication, and access to the press without prejudices to the public order, safety or moral as prescribed by law. This means that the freedom of speech and expression has to be guarded”, said Mawien in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

According to Mawien, under the constitution, any citizen has “a right to say anything in any form; whatever he/she likes about the government or its measures; by way of criticism or comment, so long as they do not incite people to violence against the government”.

Mawien observed that the president had been misled in banning Amum from travelling outside of the country.

“Much as I agree with the decision of the president to suspend the secretary-general of the SPLM over misconduct, I think it was not right to deny his movement. The president may have been misled in this area”, he said.

Mawien points to article 27 (1), which he argues grants citizens the “right to freedom of movement and the liberty to choose his or her residence except for reason of public health and safety, as shall be regulated by law”.

He also notes that article 27 (2), states that “every citizen shall have the right to leave and return to South Sudan”.

(ST)

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  • 4 November 2013 02:41, by wang

    First of all, those Kiir’s gangs also known as “Business communities” must have to tell and should shut up from intervening into politics…otherwise most will lose their business operating licences when new govt is form in a due date. Kiir has mess up with wrong people…in this government

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    • 4 November 2013 04:09, by Tutbol

      "Business community backs Supreme Court for rejecting Amum’s appeal" What a piece of crap! This is a type of corporate media & journalism that has destroyed democracy & transparency in the US & UK?! What has business community has to do with an individual fighting his *case in the court of law?* Anyone who follows the US & the UK media knows that there are no independent media houses these days---

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      • 4 November 2013 04:28, by Tutbol

        ...almost all the media houses in the US & the UK only cheer-lead the governments of the day & corporate interests. And masses are left on their own. Investigative journalists who tried to find out *things of public interests* are even dubbed as enemies or even terrorists by those in authority. We should be very careful to import good things that will help our country grow in a good way from...

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        • 4 November 2013 04:37, by Tutbol

          ...the US & the UK. And we should just leave out some things that would easily come and corrupt our governance and our people way of life. Yes, we don’t any permanent system in place and i think that is why we should borrow anything good anywhere in the world that we think would help us best develop.

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  • 4 November 2013 07:02, by Letigolight

    This so called "Business Community" are the very candidates of the "Dura saga" and agrents carrying on business on behalf of the executives - they are using money looted from the coffers of the government; may the Almighty God condemn all of you to death!

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  • 4 November 2013 08:02, by tootke’bai-ngo

    This traitor called Lual Bol is a disgrace to S.Sudanese bussiness community, he should not be allow to talks on their behave or else ordinary S.Sudanese will deemed this organisation as an enimy of the people. Mr. Lual constitution of the land is the one representing the will of the people, court ruling against constitution is a baise which should not be tolerated.

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  • 4 November 2013 09:05, by Ping Yes

    The return of comrade Lam Akol will stage a drama for those eying the top most job comes next election. I like the way this guy play his cards.Look at his Nasir faction strategic planning, even-though of his participation in Nair faction, nobody is eying at him as a traitor.Oyeee! oyee! Lam. we are there for you comes next election.Go home Dr. traitor Riek

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  • 4 November 2013 11:35, by Ambago

    People of South Sudan, where does the so-called business community fit in here when the issue is between a citizen (Amum) vs the State for restricting his freedoms?
    Very soon we will hear the other trade communities like Tea Sellers Community or the Boda Boda Community telling us how our supreme court should be run. This country is rooten to the core!

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    • 5 November 2013 10:20, by Simon Peter Wal

      Strange South Sudan,what links business community with a court ruling to a case very far from this idiot community.It won’t be my surprise tommorrow if CSW Union comes out and say they are happy with the court ruling.Its all about mess.

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