April 7, 2014 (BOR) – The speaker of South Sudan’s Jonglei state assembly is set to resign on Tuesday in an organised powerful sharing arrangement within country’s ruling party (SPLM).
- Chol Wal, the speaker of Jonglei assembly, in his office in the state capital, Bor (ST)
Peter Chol Wal, who hails from Pigi county, has been the assembly’s longest serving speaker since his election in 2009.
The ruling party, in its system of governance, demands that occupants for positions of the state governor and deputy as well the two state assembly speakers be elected from Jonglei’s four greater zones.
This policy of governance, started during the British colonial days, still applies to this day.
Jonglei, South Sudan’s largest and most populous state is divided into four main geographical zones, namely greater Pibor which covers Pibor and Pochalla counties, greater Akobo, composed of Akobo, Nyirol and Uror counties, greater Bor, comprising Bor, Duk and Twic East counties and greater Fangak, which includes Pigi, Ayod and Fangak counties.
For instance, while the caretaker governor John Kong Nyuon hails from greater Fangak, his deputy Baba Medan is from greater Pibor. The speaker of the assembly also hails from greater Fangak and his deputy, Botrus Ochalla comes from Pochalla county in greater Pibor.
After series of meetings and consultations by the SPLM caucus in Bor, it was reportedly agreed that the speaker and his deputy resign from their current positions and their successors be appointed from greater Bor and Akobo respectively.
Sudan Tribune understands the deputy speaker submitted his resignation letter on Monday while the speaker is expected to resign when the assembly opens on 8 April.
Reports also suggest the ruling party caucus, in its Monday meeting, proposed Peter Deng Aguer from Twic East as the new speaker to be deputised by Moses Mayul Bol, from Uror.
Both speakers were to be chosen unopposed as agreed by members of the ruling party caucus, whose members constitute the majority in the state legislative assembly.
Speaker Chol described the caucus decision as “normal” saying it was important for balance of power to be exercised in the state as demanded by ruling party caucus members.
“My resignation is something normal. I will give chance to others to rule in my position,” Chol told Sudan Tribune on Monday evening.
Chol became speaker after predecessor Judi Bioris was impeached by lawmakers.
His five year term in office has, however, not been an easy one especially after some 20 lawmakers at one time petitioned the assembly to have him removed from the speakership.
“I am not resigning because they had been demanding my position, if was because of them I shouldn’t have resigned. Because they were few, they did not reach the required of people to move the motion against me as the speaker,” he explained.
At least two-thirds of the MPs should have signed a petition in line with the assembly’s conduct of business, for a motion to impeach a legislative assembly speaker succeed.
Philip Thon Nyok, a lawmaker who represents Bor county in the state assembly, lauded the SPLM caucus decision, accusing the outgoing speaker of allegedly failing in his executive and monitoring roles while at the helm of the legislative body.
“He [Chol] did not do enough to create peaceful co-existence among the six tribes living in the state,” Thon said. The six tribes include Nuer, Dinka, Anuak, Murle, Kachipo and Jie.
The lawmaker further said the change of the speaker and his deputy would mark the end of the period for the 17 members heading different commissions within the state assembly.
“If the new speaker and his deputy are sworn in, the chairpersons will be changed, they will not remain in power,” he told Sudan Tribune on Monday.