August 27, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese parliament has removed 23 members who are in conflict with the government, declaring their positions vacant on the grounds that they absented themselves for 12 successive sittings without permission.
The names were read out in parliament during a sitting on Monday chaired by speaker Manasseh Magok Rundial.
Among those axed from their positions was former vice-president turned rebel leader Riek Machar and former political detainees, who were held in connection to an alleged plot to overthrow the government.
The MPs were deemed to have contravened section 27 (10, b) of the national assembly’s conduct of business 2011, which states that missing 12 parliamentary sessions without the speaker’s permission will automatically result in the loss of membership.
The unseated lawmakers comprise eight members from Upper Nile, five from Unity state, four from Jonglei, three from Central Equatoria, two from Western Equatoria and one from Northern Bahr El Ghazal.
On the list is former government chief whip Bangout Amum Okech, former environment minister General Alfred Lado Gore, as well as former finance minister Kosti Manibe Ngai, former postal service and communications minister Madut Biar Yel and former justice minister John Luk Jok.
The deliberations generated little discussion in the House, with the exception of a legal observation raised during the process by Jonglei legislator Ann Lino Wuor Abyei.
The legislator pointed out that the 23 members had not in fact been absent for 12 successive sittings as is stipulated in the assembly’s conduct of business regulations.
However, her observation was dismissed by the House, with many members saying most of the unseated parliamentarians have joined the country’s rebel faction, which has been engaged in an armed struggle against the government since mid-December last year.
It is not clear who will replace the unseated lawmakers or whether by-elections will be held as is required under the country’s 2011 transitional constitution.
Other parliamentarians set to lose their seats include: Nyalok James Thiong, Wieu Kun Kuiyang, Peter Charlman Chaiwac, Oyay Deng Ajak, Kuong Dak Wie, Gier Chuang Aluong, Michael Muot Dieu, Timothy Tot Chol, Sophia Pal Gai, Ruei Kuol Jel, Jock Jack Jok Yom, Bor Gatwech Kuany, Reath Mouch Tang, Gatluak Riek Jack, Richard K. Mulla, Ramadan Hassan Laku and Agnes Nyoka.