National, News

Suspension of Clerks to assembly paralyses sitting

By William Madouk

Central Equatoria state Assembly was on Monday paralysed over suspension of the clerk to the Assembly and the deputy.

Discussion on the announcement of the suspension of the clerk to the Assembly, Ananias Peter and his deputy, by the House Speaker, Peter Wani Kulang dominated the August house,

A hot debate arose when the speaker, Rt. Hon. Kulang, declared that the two offices are now vacant and asked whether the sitting would continue or be postponed.

The state assembly’s ordinary sitting on an urgent motion to summon the state minister of finance, planning, and investment was eventually stuck.

Reacting to the matter, one MP said the deputy clerk was legally appointed and thus should take minutes of the sittings, asserting that regulation 23 of the code of business regulation calls for the choice of the latter with consultation with the Assembly Business Committee (ABC).

“It was alluded to by the members that the procedure for the appointment of the deputy clerk was legal, so I don’t see the reason why you are again announcing the position of the deputy clerk to be vacant,” he said.

“We need to say that since the appointment of the deputy clerk was procedurally done, we need the deputy clerk to come and take over and continue with the sitting,” he added.

However, the speaker said, “I want to bring to our attention that I have been calling the deputy clerk since last week for reasons not known even to me; he has refused even to pick up the phone.”

“And so, I have made up my mind; the two offices are vacant and now need to be filled,” he added.

While the SPLM chief whip, Jacob Aligo Lo-Ladu, stated that “it’s unbecoming of the member of the civil service in the office to refuse to give their assignment,”

“Mr. Speaker, it is unbecoming of your office that after having known very well that you have taken administrative measures against the two, you also allow the clerk to attend the sitting of the house. These two are paradoxical in a way,” added Lo-Ladu.

He cited that the house should have been put in order before calling for sitting, adding that it is an embarrassment to see the clerk still attending sitting.

The SPLM chief whip also threatened to boycott sitting if the clerk was allowed to take minutes.

“I will suggest with the consent of the members that, first, we suspend this sitting until after lunch time and make sure that the assistance clerk is called,” he noted.

“Because I don’t think here after the clerk continues, some of us will go out of the house because my minutes or what I am saying cannot be recorded by a clerk who you have already fired administratively,” he continued.

Another lawmaker asked the speaker, “This decision that you are announcing, was it decided earlier, or you decided on it while you were sitting on that seat, because you cannot sit in that seat and make administrative decisions that are supposed to be done in your office?”

“This seat is only responsible for the proceedings of the house, not administrative matters; if you have decided this here, then it is null and void,” he dismissed.

But SPLM chief whip Aligo Lo-Ladu said, “From the understanding of the announcement, this was administrative measures taken in the office, and he [the speaker] was announcing for the benefit of this august house. It was not at the time when he arrived in the house when he took the decision.”

On the same note, another lawmaker said, “Sitting cannot longer proceed until we have an active member of the civil service to record this. I am in seconding that this sitting be adjourned for after noon until one of the assistance secretaries comes and records for us this meeting.”

Speaker Mr. Kulang then, after the arguments, postponed the sitting to today and formed a committee to be headed by his deputy, chairperson of security, labor, public service, and human resources, and a legal advisor to proceed with appointment into the two vacant offices.

“Whoever will bring in the request, the four members of this committee will go through the requests, and they will now select the two,” he ruled.

A Clerk of the House prepares the minutes of proceedings, advises on proper parliamentary procedure, pronounces the governor’s or president’s assent, and takes care of finance and administrative issues of the house.



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