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S. Sudan recalls MPs as constitutional review commission mandate expires

January 8, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan MPs, who were until now on recess, have been recalled back to the national legislative assembly as part of efforts to give the country’s Constitutional Review Commission a new mandate.

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The decision, a legislator told Sudan Tribune, followed a meeting held between South Sudan President, Salva Kiir and the speaker of the assembly, James Wani Igga on Monday.

"We are likely to convene in the assembly next week for a two to three day sitting over this issue. The mandate given to the constitutional review commission, as you may have heard, expired a few days back and it requires renewal," the MP said.

President Kiir, in January last year, appointed the 45-member body in accordance with Article 137 of the country’s Transitional Constitution, which provides for the establishment of an independent NCRC within six months period from the day of Independence.

Prof. Akolda Ma’an heads the commission, which comprises nine full time members and 36 part time officials, drawn from the ruling party (SPLM), civil society entities, other parties and faith-based groups.

South Sudan attained independence on 9 July 2011 after its population overwhelmingly chose separation in a self-determination vote, which was part of the 2005 peace deal that ended over two decades of the north-south Sudan war.

In a related development, a South Sudanese civil society group has asked the country’s constitutional review commission to inform citizens about its next plan of action after its mandate, expired on 7 January.

“As citizens, we are concern about the silence of the National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) since November 2012; it informed the citizens that, it has received part of its money from the government to start their work, but to our dismay, December 2012 passed without any work done leaving the citizens in suspense,” Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO) said in a statement.

In January last year, South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, appointed the 45-member body in accordance with Article 137 of the country’s Transitional Constitution, which provides for the establishment of an independent NCRC within six months period from the day of Independence.

Prof. Akolda Ma’an heads the commission, which comprises nine full time members and 36 part time officials, drawn from the ruling party (SPLM), civil society entities, other parties and faith-based groups.

South Sudan attained independence on 9 July 2011 after its population overwhelmingly chose separation in a self-determination vote, which was part of the 2005 peace deal that ended over two decades of the north-south Sudan war.

CEPO, in its statement to Sudan Tribune, also raised concerns over the review process of NCRC’s new mandate, while urging government to ensure the constitutional body is funded so it can start carrying out its obligations, without waiting for budget approval.

In August last year, the Commission Chairperson requested for an extension of its mandate, citing lack of funds among other challenges, which it said had greatly hampered its work.

The body is among others, mandated to keep the law of South Sudan under systematic review and carry out research in relation to reviewing of the existing laws (the Constitution, the Acts, and other South Sudan laws) to harmoniously operate and be applicable to the conditions, needs and dreams of people of South Sudan.

(ST)