Lawmakers annoyed over Minister’s ‘myopic’ comment

By William Madouk Garang

The State Minister of Information & Communication, Andruga Mabe has found himself in rock and hard place, after he uttered reckless comment in which he says ‘parliament endorses myopic views of analog group’.

Mabe’s comment infuriated the members of the House and they swiftly demanded the minister an apology, as well as to come clean and clarify whether the comment was his view or state government’s position.

Minister Mabe was among the three ministers who were summoned by the August House to answer questions over a ‘controversial’ contract of e-Government and e-Tax that were awarded to a foreign firm.

“I do not imagine that this powerful August House, renowned in its oversight roles of legislation can simply endorse the myopic views of the analog team of technocrats, so that the E-government system is dismissed to leave analog system of governance to prevail over the CEG,” Mabe told MPs during his presentation of answers on Monday.

However, the chief whip for Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party, Jacob Aligo Lo-Ladu protested the statement saying the minister has insulted the August House and demanded for an apology.

“However, I was concerned with the way our colleague the Minister of Information & Communication describes this house in his presentation when he was explaining the issue between analog and digital group,” Aligo said.

“The Rt. Hon. Speaker said this statement is an insult to this House and before we proceed let the minister walk to that podium and apologise,” he continued.

Another MP added that “in addition to what SPLM chief whip has said,… since he is the official spokesperson of the state government then he also needs to let us know whether calling this August House ‘myopic’ is the official position of  the government or his own opinion”. In his apology, the State Minister of Information and Communication, Mr. Mabe conveyed his sincere apology, withdrew the statement and explained the statement as solely his own views.

“I know using terminologies sometimes affect the flow of the information and I sincerely and deeply regret having used the word ‘myopia’ which means being ‘shortsighted’,” Mabe regrets.

“I was meaning that the analog group didn’t see far before running to seek the help of August House, I am not actually saying it’s the August House that is ‘myopian’ so my sincere apology,” he added.

On October 5, the State assembly summoned three ministers to explain a controversial E-government Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) they signed with a private company – MAC. The summoned ministers before the August house were the State Minister of cabinet affairs, Minister of information and communication and the minister of finance, planning and investment.

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