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MP voices concern as ministers neglect sessions

By Kidega Livingstone

 

A Member of National Assembly has raised concern over consistent absence of during the parliamentary sittings of Members of Parliament (MPs), who are also ministers.

Parliamentary sittings are held every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Each session presents an agenda that encompasses critical matters to be addressed, including questioning of ministers by lawmakers on pressing issues.

However, ministers normally don’t attend. For example, during yesterday’s session, not a single minister was present at the assembly.

“Always, if there are questions, the ministers are not there. We need all the ministers to be here during the sitting so that they will be able to answer some questions asked by the members of the August House,” said MP Stephen Mulai.

“It will be easy for the ministers to be around to answer the question, but the parliament should write to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs to inform all the ministers to attend the sitting,” he urged.

According to the Parliament report, some of the ministers are members of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly, but they committed themselves to their various offices, not attending parliament.

In response, Second Deputy Speaker Parmena Awerial advised the Members of Parliament that if they have any questions for Ministers who are not present, they should compile them and send them to the Deputy Speaker’s Office.

Hon. Awerial stated that his office would then inform the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs to ensure that the absent Ministers attend the sitting, considering that they are also Members of Parliament of the current August House.

“Those Ministers who are not around always should attend the sitting because the question you raise, they will be able to answer directly but we are going to write to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs to inform them about the sitting,” Awerial said.

The current huge parliament of 550 MPs came as a result of the revitalized peace agreement that birthed the revitalized transitional government of national unity (R-TGoNU), which came into effect in February 2020, but the legislature was reconstituted in 2021, a year after the executive arm.

The membership includes 332 members of the former National Legislative Assembly, mainly from the Sudan People‘s Liberation Movement, 128 members representing the SPLM-IO, 50 members representing the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, 30 members representing other opposition groups, and 10 members representing detainees.

The National Legislative Assembly basically plays an oversight role over the executive and judiciary arms of government, among other key roles such as enacting laws, approving government policies, and ratifying regional and international treaties, among others, as required by law.

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