By Tereza Jeremiah Chuei
The First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar yesterday called on President Salva Kiir Mayardit to address the political space stalemate in parliament alleging that there is no political space for the opposition in the country.
This came amid the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) MPs boycott of sittings in the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly citing lack of consensus among parties in the Parliament.
Since then, the SPLM-IO lawmakers have continued to boycott parliamentary sittings promising to return once their grievances that emerged during the ratification of the country’s Political Parties Act is put to be settled.
However, the SPLM majority parliament had been continuing with the activities of the august house as usual, in absence of the main opposition lawmakers in the house passing some paramount amended laws as called for by the Revitalized Agreement.
In his reaction, the SPLM-IO Party Chairman and First Vice President in the unity government Dr. Riek interjected that any bill passed in the absence of the SPLM-IO will have to be redone.
“I hope that any bill that has been passed in the absence of IO should return to Parliament, including the political party bill, so that we do it together,” Dr. Riek objected.
Speaking during the extension of the transitional period yesterday, Dr. Riek stated that chances of implementing the agreement are low if there is still a challenge like lack of political space in the country.
“This agreement will not get implemented when the structures remain the same, the security, you need this political parties to be active, this agreement cannot be implemented in a country that structures doesn’t change, if there is no political space you can’t, at all you can’t,” he emphasized.
“We took a stand as IO in Parliament when Rt. Hon. Nunu Kumba the Speaker made her summary of what she thought on the Political Parties Act, and the other MPs objected and by the way I met them four times since they declared boycott, I would call them and share and evaluate if there is a reason for them to go back to Parliament, but they maintained that they will not go back, because if they went back with what happened in Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), I should kiss the Agreement goodbye,” Riek cited.
He however added that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Government (SPLM-IG) would pass any bill that is in their own favor, if the SPLM-IO MPs let go of the boycott and return back to Parliament.
“This agreement gives us a way to work, weather in the Executive or in Parliament, if there are differences, there is also a way of doing it, when I was told what happen I wrote to the President, I repeat the concern, because it was the first incident, if this first incident is let to go, the SPLM-IG and its allies has majority, It will pass anything they want to do,” he noted.
“But then they would forget that there is an article which is 1.14. 8 that tells you in parliament in doing your business, you must support the Agreement; you must enact legislations that support the agreement and reform in it, people read it and they forget that this is a guideline,” Dr. Riek remained.
The SPLM-IO Chairman questioned the Parliament, asking them of the message that they are trying to pass by choosing to continue their normal duties in absence of the rest of the members.
“If we start our differences from the political parties act and we did not resolve them, and parliament continues to work as if nothing has happened, what are we saying? what is the message, yesterday I followed the budget being tabled, we have challenges in operation even in the interaction, political space is important, hope ‘Mr. President in your statement it would be good to guide the nation on political space’, so that this security organs are not targeted by political parties,” he appealed to the President.
Dr. Riek continued to echo the reasons why he thinks political Space is important in the country.
“Because we would want to see our national security loved by all, we would love to see our police to be the protectors of all, we love to see this organ saving our Country, but that direction things will continue…., parliament have passed one security bill, SSPDF act the rest are still pending ‘I hope any of this that have been passed in the absence of IO should return to Parliament, including the Political party bill, so that we do it together,” he said.