By Bida Elly David
Some members of the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) have opposed a proposal to introduce a biometric attendance system.
The introduction of a biometric system brought forward by the Clerk of the Assembly was meant to trace out lawmakers who often absent themselves from sittings.
According to the R-TNLA administration, some lawmakers have been absenting themselves without genuine reasons but will blame the assembly administrators over allowance deduction.
Instead, they opted for a registration system where the Lawmakers present will be considered present.
“Only those who register their names will be considered as attendants or attendees. Every member with the new method should register when coming in.
“If you don’t register definitely, you will be considered absent,” Speaker, Nunu Kumba said during a sitting on Monday.
Nunu noted that special consideration shall conditionally be given to those who shall take permission on serious circumstances.
“Those who have taken permission or will take permission will be considered present and be included in sitting Quorum because this is what the law says,” the speaker clarified.
However, some Parliamentarians still welcomed the new attendance system with shock and disbelief as others challenged the administration against the quick adoption of the mechanism without clear elaboration.
Lily Kiden Eluzai a lawmaker representing Central Equatoria State at the R-TNLA disagreed with the adopted system saying that further analysis ought to be carried out before implementation.
“I don’t know what our conduct of business says about the registration of parliamentarians” she questioned.
“Sometimes I may come for a sitting, register and attend the sitting halfway then leave. The clerk wants us to wait until the end of the sitting, so we need stipulation of the conduct of business,” Lily voiced.
But speaker Nunu braved Lily’s excuse saying that it is compulsory for all members of parliaments to regularly attend every sitting according to the law unless otherwise.
“Members of parliament are supposed to come and attend the sitting until the end unless you are sick that is where you can leave. We are supposed to be here until the end of the meeting,” Nunu argued.
Clerk to Assembly, Mr. Makuac Makuac, reacting to the arguments by some parliamentarians said, the system which seemed new has been formerly in operation.
“We will have a registration to consider that MPs have been sitting. We will circulate the list in which all MPs present register and the list considered for administration,” Makuac noted.
Meanwhile, John Agany Deng, the spokesperson of the Assembly said that the introduction of the new registration system was informally communicated.
He recommended that implementation of the new system would require voting which may not sound well for the nation.
Agany reiterated that it would sound abnormal if lawmakers representing people in the August House go voting in the name of signing attendance.
“Some of the MPs sometimes have burning issues at the back of their families and so they only show up in the morning, sign and go,” he said.
“If people have to go for voting in the house, it will not be helpful for the nation and the bills which are supposed to be concerned that very day” he added.