Power blackout at Freedom Hall halts security Bills discussions

Photo showing the power-blackout empty Freedom Hall on Monday in a party sitting arrangement protocol as lawmakers couldn’t stand the heat inside

By Philip Buda Ladu

A power blackout at the Freedom Hall on Monday due to a mechanical problem with the Generator producing electricity to power the public hall let to abrupt adjournment of parliamentary sitting on the presentation of two important security Amendment Bills for their second recording.

The Freedom Hall, is a public hall that always hosts various events in town including but not limited to; weddings, graduations, music concerts and government’s official businesses, it currently holds the regular house sittings for the Transitional National Legislature as the national assembly building has been under renovation for ages now.

The Chairperson for Information, Communication and Postal Services at the R-TNLA said the renovation work at the Assembly building which has taken over three years is at 75% completion but he noted that the work is being slowed down because of financial and technical issues.

The delay in the renovation of the building now leaves the Parliament with no any convenient alternative option but rather to continue holding its sittings in the Freedom Hall.  

However on Monday, the 23rd of May 2022, Members of Parliament at the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly who turned up for Monday’s Ordinary sitting No.9/2022 were disappointed when they dashed into a dark, warm spacious room of the Freedom Hall.

After waiting and loitering in front of the huge white tent, the MPs started leaving the premises in dozens as they were told that the generator powering the hall had broken down and the technicians were working to fix which wasn’t materializing sooner, leading to premature adjournment of the sitting.

The R-TNLA was supposed to receive a presentation of the Joint Report of the standing specialized Committees on Defense and Veterans Affairs; Legislation and Justice on the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (Amendment) Bill, 2022 at the second reading stage and the presentation of Joint Report of the Standing Specialized Committees on national Security and Public Order; Legislation and Justice on the South Sudan National Police Service (Amendment) Bill, 2022 at second reading.

John Aganny Deny, Chairperson of the Information Committee at the R-TNLA and spokesperson of the parliament told reporters on Monday that the sitting was hampered because of no electricity.

He said if they were not having a problem of electricity, they were going to amend the SSPDF Bill and then the second Bill was about the National Police Service which was also an Act they need to amend to be comfortable with the agreement.

“So it was actually hampered by the signs of having no electricity, today (Monday) and for that matter we couldn’t actually do it because of that shortcoming of having no power today because of generator breakdown. Our technician tried to fix it but it was very difficult it need more time to materialize, so these were the two Bills we were supposed actually to pass today (Monday) and discuss on them and see how they can go onto a normal process and they will see light, so definitely it was hold off due to this problem of generator breaking down” Aganny affirmed.

Aganny said hopefully if the mechanical fault in the generator is fixed they will announce to the Members that there will be sitting, next tomorrow that’s Wednesday.

Juma Zacharia, a lawmaker at the R-TNLA on the SPLM-IO docket said the premature adjournment of Monday’s sitting was not procedural arguing that the adjournment should have been announced by the Speaker in an official way.

“About the adjournment of the sitting for today (Monday) I think it is not procedural, because the adjournment should be announced by the Speaker in the official sitting, but we know there is no power” Zacharia said.

He believed that lack of proper leadership and administration in the parliament led them to the inconveniences caused.

“I think this is a failure by the clerk because it is their responsibility to make sure that everything in the Parliament is in order. So even we were outside of the Freedom Hall and we were surprised to learn that the sitting was adjourned” he echoed.

The lawmaker told journalists at the Freedom Hall on Monday that he thinks continuing to have sitting in the Freedom Hall, is not good citing that the Freedom Hall is for the public functions; like wedding among others so they shouldn’t hold the assembly sittings in the public hall.

If we still continue like this, that means there is serious problem of leadership in the Parliament because the leadership should make sure that the Hall should be completed” Zacharia stressed.

Zacharia said he  once had a conservation with the engineer working on the renovation of the parliamentary building who revealed to him that the renovation should have been finished two months ago but it might go up to next year if the contract agreement is not settled by the government.  

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