News, Politics

SPLM MPs walk out of parliament over ‘secret ballot’

By William Madouk Garang 

SPLM parliamentary caucus at Central Equatoria State Transitional Legislative Assembly staged a walkout, after the Speaker declined to adjourn session and rather implied ‘secret ballot voting’ for the House to decide on matter.

The members, led by Jacob Aligo Lo-Ladu, the chief whip for Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party, marched out after a disagreement with the Speaker Peter Wani Kulang.

They wanted the draft budget for FY 2022/23 to be adjourned for next week and the contrary motion wants it discussed, but the Speaker suggested secret voting to allow the House to decide whether to continue or adjourn the sitting.

“We have two motions and they are seconded, we divide the House so that this issue is put to rest – the majority will take. And the procedure of dividing this House is going to be in a secret ballot,” the CES Speaker announced to the lawmakers.

But just as the speaker ruled the procedure of voting to resolve differing views that split the House, SPLM parliamentary caucus marched out leading to premature adjournment.

“I want to remind you that, I am neutral as Speaker of this House, Honourable members sit down! First of all sit down. SPLM members I urge you to sit down all of you sit,” Kulang urged dissident members.   

According to members who wanted the sitting postponed, the committee for Finance and Economy was supposed to present a general evaluation of the economic situation for financial performance.

They also wanted a detailed estimate of proposed expenditure and revenues for forthcoming year compared to previous years before the draft budget is discussed. 

“We need detailed report of expenditure 2021/22 financial year sector by sector, ministry by ministry and that’s the reason why members are seconding for re-adjournment of sitting for next week,” one lawmaker asserted.

Another MP who wanted the budget deliberated on said the resource envelope is very important for state and its people and therefore it shouldn’t be delayed.

“The expenditure report is part and parcel of the budget it’s not prepared as a separate report this information must go very clearly, to Honourable members. The budget is about the people of CES. We don’t need to play around let us go ahead with discussion,” the MP noted.

Addressing the journalists after adjournment, the Chairperson of Specialized Committee for Information at Assembly, James Modi Lomindi said the sitting was postpone because members were not prepared.

Lomindi added that the law permits, for any members of any party who are not satisfied with ruling in the House to walkout to go and reorganize themselves.

“This is a parliamentary procedure for every member of the party who is not satisfied with what has been ruled in the House of this kind, they will pull out such that they go and reorganize or adjust themselves to be able to tackle a very important agenda in front of them,” he noted.

The draft budget was passed by Central Equatoria State Cabinet at tune of SSP 16 Billion and tabled before parliament for further review and approval.   

The Resource Envelope allotted SSP 6,768,875,749 pounds for goods purchase and services, a total of 42 percent of total budget.

While salaries and wages are allocated SSP 5,164,075,795, which covers 32 percent of budget, another is capital expenditure which is SSP 3,754,027,341, 23 percent of budget.

Again, a conditional operational transfer to counties and services delivering units was allotted SSP 382,382,982, which represent 3 percent – the lowest in the Resources envelope. 

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