News, Politics

Opposition MPs boycott sittings over altered political Parties’ Act

Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation & PLM-IO Chairman of National Committee for Information and Public Relation, Peter Manawa Gatkuoth (Photo: courtesy)

By William Madouk Garang

A section of lawmakers from the main opposition party’ Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) have been dodging parliamentary sessions echoing that the recently passed ‘controversial’ Political Party’s Act is tampered.

This came after the Specialized Committee on Legislation and Justice in the Transitional Legislative Assembly (TNLA) adopted the Political Parties Act 2012 Amendment Bill, 2022, on May 30, 2022.

In a statement issued by minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Manawa Peter Gatkuoth who doubles as SPLM-IO Chairman of National Committee for Information and Public Relation said MPs are boycotting sitting in protest of the recently passed Political Parties amended Bill 2022.

“On 30 May, 2022, the Transitional Legislative Assembly (TNLA) in its ordinary sitting No. 09/2022, passed the Political Parties Act 2022 (amendment) Bill 2022 dropping some reforms introduced per the agreement,” Gatkuoth said in a statement obtained by No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.

“Since May 31, 2022, the members of SPLM-IO Parliamentary Caucus and those from other parties to the agreement have been boycotting sittings in protest,” he added.

He added that they discussed the matter in the SPLM-IO political Bureau’s meeting and discovered that National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) had meddled with most of the Bills.

“The political Bureau met and discussed the boycott and noted with concern that the Bill coming from NCAC, including the Permanent Constitution Making Process Bill, 2022 have been tampered with,” the statement noted.

However, the Bureau resolved to convene a joint leadership emergency meeting yesterday (Sunday) and to bring the matter into attention of President Salva Kiir, IGAD guarantors, International Community and peace monitoring body.

On 2nd June, Members from other Political Parties (OPP) to Revitalized Peace Agreement have objected to the amendment of Political Parties’ Act that was passed.

Both the SPLM-IO Chief Whip Farouk Gatkuoth Kam and OPP Representative, Albino Akol Atak voiced rejection of the passed Bill “we strongly object to the ruling made by the Speaker of R-TNLA contrary to the spirit and text of the peace agreement” the two opposition lawmakers protested.

The two criticized the strategy of picking 14 members from one party (SPLM-IG) over the numbers of other political parties only six members to deliberate on such a critical Bill, hence consensus in decision making been undermined.

One point of argument was the Bill’s cancellation of section 7.3 (a) which increases the number of eligible voters required for political party registration from 300 originally adopted by NCAC, to now 500 members from at least two-third of states.

Another dissatisfaction point were the Bill’s elimination of the principle of diversity by deleting  the right of minorities and marginalized group outlined in Art 1.18.9, 1.4.4, 1.4.5, 1.4.6 and 1.4.11.

In his earlier response to the parties’ petition, the Chairperson of TNLA’S Information Committee and Member of SPLM-IG, John Agany Deng denied the accusation made against the Speaker and maintained that the judgment was objective.   

Agany added that the parties are wrongly accusing the speaker “the only body to deliberate are the members of parliament, and when they agree then the Speaker cannot alter it. So, the Speaker was only pronouncing what the house had already passed” Agany told the City Review earlier.

Meanwhile, after making decision on the amended Bill, Jemma Nunu Kumba asked all Members to retain their unity as representatives of the people, adding that Political Parties’ Bill should not divide them as they left Chamber.

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