National, News

Lawmakers want city mayor fired

By Bida Elly David

Lawmakers at the National Transitional Assembly demanded the immediate removal of Acting City Mayor, Emmanuel Khamis.

A controversial video on social media showed acting city mayor slapping a street vendor and threatening traders with a pistol sparked the widespread demand for his dismissal.

The mayor’s brutality against a female vendor sparked an urgent matter of public concern in Wednesday’s parliamentary sitting.

A lawmaker representing Upper Nile in Nasir County, Hon. Mach Thon condemned the act, saying it was unlawful and inhuman.

“Threatening vendors while carrying a pistol does not reflect the picture of South Sudan. If somebody is accused, we have the law that can refer to arrest and take a person for trial,” he said.

Citing Chapters 18 and 19 of the interim Constitution, Thon said the constitution discourages torture and humiliation of anyone before judgment.

“Chapter 18 says no person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel and degrading punishment, and Chapter 19 says an accused person is presumed guilty until he or she is proven guilty according to the law,” Thon said.

The MP also slammed the mayor as a leader who misused his powers by abusing local vendors.

The lawmakers noted that the city mayor used a brutal approach that does not reflect the characteristics of a leader.

Lawmaker, Grace Abalang, women representative in her argument, said the city mayor, in his capacity, does not have the mandate to personally assault traders, noting that it is the role of the law enforcement agency.

“The governor of Central Equatoria State should relieve the city mayor, or he (the mayor) should resign alone. As a woman representative, we are requesting that the mayor apologize to the women of South Sudan,” said Abalang.

Hon. Abalang requested that Mayor Khemis render a written apology to women within 24 hours before his removal.

“There is no way as a leader to act in that way. He is supposed to act with dignity. He must apologize to women across the country in writing or resign,” she said.

On his part, MP Farouk Gatkouth Kam, the SPLM-IO chief whip at the national assembly ruled out the mayor’s written apology, saying he ought to go.

“What can the apology do after the action has taken place brutally? This guy has to pack his bag and go. We simply ask the governor to relieve him,” echoed Farouk.

Another MP, Hon. Joy Kwaje, representing Constituency No. 4 Juba West, noted with concern the threats female vendors face at the hands of the City Council.

“Most of the women are on the streets because they want to put food on the table because most of our men do not have jobs. Now if we abuse in the streets of Juba, then it is not appropriate,” Joy lamented.

She criticized the acting mayor for using military powers against innocent traders who fight for their families during this critical economic hardship.

Some lawmakers, despite consensus on the removal of the mayor, requested the summon of the city mayor before he was removed from office.

The parliamentarians also recommended the immediate summon of Governor Emmanuel Adil of Central Equatoria State to explain the recent mess of the mayor.

In another statement issued last evening, the City Council Legislative Assembly also summoned the acting City Mayor to answer questions regarding the viral video.

Recently, Mayor Khemis also suffered public criticism after issuing an order for an increase in water prices by water tankers in the city.

The water price hike that never sat well with many Juba residents drew the attention of the national government, which reversed the order for the price hike.

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