National, News

Expedite National Security Bill-analysts

By Bida Elly David


As South Sudan drives towards December 2024, activists and analysts urge the parliament to speed up enactment of National Security Bill.

Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) notes that delaying the bill will affect the elections.

Speaking to No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on Monday, Edmund Yakani said that security is key to conduct of the elections.

“The delay of the National Security Bill not being passed urgently will contribute to the delay of the elections. Why? Because national security has a very instrumental role to play during the conduct of the elections,” he said.

Yakani described the political decision in the parliament over the powers of national security to arrest without a warrant as valueless.

He said the president earlier directed the removal of the article empowering national security.

Yakani pointed out Article 52 as the deleted section by the presidency within the bill empowering national security to apprehend without an arrest warrant.

He added that the provisions within the national security bill are controversial concerning the principle of democratic practices.

“The decision of the presidency meeting was binding, a legal one. They had agreed that the powers of national security for arresting people without a warrant of arrest should be removed, and it was officially communicated to the nation,” he highlighted.

“If the law still wants to retain those powers, then it’s a violation of the decision of the presidency and an undermining of the authority of the president. That’s what I like to bring forward.

Mr. Yakani suggested the need for lawmakers to consider national security as the first priority of debate after their return from recess.

“The most important thing is that we need to see the National Security Act be one of the priorities after the parliamentarians return from recess in February to be enacted, but it should be enacted with respect for democratic principles,” he urged.

CEPO’s boss suggested that freedoms and rights of political engagement during the electoral process should be taken seriously.

“If there’s any provision that contradicts the practice of our democratic principles in a period of election by the national security law that was not accepted and would be in violation of the UN Convention on Political Civil Rights,” he echoed

He emphasized that national security law has to adhere to international standards and practices.                       

Meanwhile, James Boboya, a political analyst, blamed political parties for the delays in passing the bill.

He noted that there is a conflict of interest within the parliament as some parties advocate for the retention of powers of arrest without a warrant for national security.

“It was clear that other powers that the national security system used to have had conflict with the constitution and the mandate of the police service, which is why it had to be removed from the bill,” the policy analyst explained.

“In the parliament, especially from the members of parliament who are either SPLM or leaning to SPLM, they still wanted the powers of the national security to arrest without warrant and to steal properties without due process to be maintained in the bill,” Boboya noted.

Boboya stated that every security-related process in South Sudan needs to be taken care of for secure and safe elections.

He said it will enable the government to have a legal framework that governs and guides its functions.

“The police, who will be providing security for campaigns and talking about internal security, needs to be empowered using the law. And it might be a law that is not meant to curtail the activities of parties who are actually engaged in electoral processes but to be working towards deepening democratic processes,” he said.

“Any policy or law that is meant to destroy the very intent of the public interest while promoting democracy and human rights becomes a problematic issue. So parliament needs to consider some of these issues.”

Boboya strongly advocates for the total removal of the powers of national security from arrest, saying their job is to detect, analyze, and recommend to institutions that are more interested in arresting criminals.

He said there’s an improper way of arresting civilians by national security, putting them in jail without even due process, even if they are not linked to any crime.

“The national security will commit a crime, and then they’ll cause you a problem because perhaps you belong to a different entity or you belong to a different unit. We do not want a law that will be passed that will create more problems in this country,” he echoed.

Last year, the spokesperson of the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly, John Agany, said the bill had already been passed to its second reading stage but was kept due to its critical status.

Agany earlier said there has been serious debate over rendering powers to the national security to arrest without warrant, saying this made the House pause it until some other time.

The delays had triggered critical voices from analysts as the bill provides key provisions required for elections.

Comments are closed.