Generator malfunction causes South Sudan Parliamentarians to adjourn sittings.
The power outage in Parliament buildings forced the cancellation of a meeting of Parliamentarians scheduled to examine the modification of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Act.
The lawmakers had gathered in Freedom Hall, ready to debate the heavy subject of national significance – including the planned renaming of the National Police Service – only for the meeting to be called off due to a lack of electricity in the precinct.
The two measures were due to be submitted for second reading on the same day that they would have gone through third and fourth readings, with changes, before being signed into law by the President.
Last Monday, the two houses of parliament, the Council of States and the Transitional National Assembly (TNLA), passed Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10, renaming the national army SPLA the SSPDF.
The measure, however, would be amended to fit with the renewed agreement on which the present administration is based by changing the constitution.
The TNLA’s Information Committee head, John Agany, informed media that the meeting was called off because the generator that supplied electricity to Freedom Hall had failed.
The second law concerned the national police force, which the parliament must also change in accordance with the agreement.
“The generator went down, and our specialists attempted to repair it, but it was quite tough.”
“If we didn’t have a light issue today, we were going to revise the SSPDF law,” Agany told reporters.
This is not the first time a session has been canceled. A sitting was called off earlier this year when merchants leased space at Freedom Hall for a three-day show.
A meeting to discuss the Emolument Act for constitutional position holders, including Members of Parliament, was also postponed on January 5, 2022, when Minister of Finance Agak Achuil failed to appear.
The speaker of the Transitional National Parliamentary Assembly, Jemma Nunu, also canceled a legislative session scheduled for April 25, 2022, to discuss modifying the SPLA Act to the South Sudan People’s Defence Force Act, 2009, alleging a clerical error in the text.
Because the venue was hot, several of the legislators who came to Freedom Hall for Monday’s session waited outdoors for over two hours before departing after learning of the tragic event.
The postponing of the sittings has been termed as “political manipulations” by one opposition MP, Chan Deng Marol.
“The members came here to debate the measures, but they have already departed since the time has expired, with neither the speaker nor the deputy speakers present.” This is the third time we’ve done the same thing to the members. We believe this to be a political game that has been played throughout the nation.”
“It’s not obvious because when I questioned the cashier, he said it’s the generator and they’ve dispatched a team of technicians.” “It’s not apparent to me since the clerk is not the correct person to convey us the message that should have been received from the speaker,” said Deng.
However, John Agany denied the charges, claiming that it was merely technical.
According to Deng, adjournment of sittings makes it impossible for lawmakers to fulfill their tasks, notably the passing of legislation.
He stated that owing to laws that must be completed before the new budget can be received, the assembly is not yet ready to call the Minister of Finance to present the new national budget for 2022-2023.
The opposition leader, Juma Zachariah, blamed the postponement on the parliament’s lack of leadership and administration, alleging that they would have ready the hall before the planned day.
“They should have been prepared to prepare everything since we found out last week that we were going to have a meeting of the parliament’s administration and the clerk.” “I believe this is a failure on the part of the clerk, since it is their obligation to ensure that everything in the parliament is in order.”
The National Assembly meets in Freedom Hall because the parliamentary building has been closed for three years for restoration.