National, News

Parliament takes U-turn on VP Igga

By William Madouk

 

National Legislative Assembly has retracted its earlier stand to summon Vice President for Economic Cluster, Dr. James Wani Igga over looming hunger in the country.

Spokesperson to the National parliament, Oliver Mori Benjamin told the press on Friday that though the House had summoned VP Igga, it later changed the stand.

He explained that the House resorted to only summon 11 government agencies under the economic cluster chaired by Vice President James Wani Igga but not Igga himself.

“At the end, a resolution was passed that the economic cluster ministers have to be summoned to come to the House to explain about the reasons that culminated in hunger in the Republic of South Sudan,” he said.

The ministry of finance and planning, the ministry of petroleum, the ministry of mining, the ministry of agriculture and food security, and the ministry of livestock and fisheries, are spotted.

Others include the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, the Ministry of Land, housing, and Urban Development, the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism, and the Ministry of Investment.

“These are the eleven ministries under the economic cluster; the resolution of the Parliament was that these people must report to Parliament to explain in person,” he added.

MP Mori also revealed that each minister must be accompanied by some key technocrats or directorates to ease the consultation process during inquiries by the House.

He noted that per the 2018 peace deal, the House cannot summon any of the vice presidents.

“As per the agreement, we have collective responsibility; who is the president and the five vice presidents? They are treated as such as entities,” he noted. “So, the chairs of the clusters are actually overseers of their respective ministries under them, and they don’t have executive powers.”

The assembly spokesperson, in a quick rejoinder, said if there are any summons, it must be the minister’s concern to appear before the assembly and not otherwise.

“If there is anything, it is the minister concerned in that cluster to deal with [or] to answer in Parliament.”

“So, the Parliament did not summon the Vice President for Economic Cluster on the basis that he is part of the Colloquial Presidency, and he doesn’t have executive power over the ministers performing their duties.”

Although Article 82.1 of the constitution says, “The National Legislative Assembly or any of its committees may summon any public official or any person within South Sudan, other than the President, to testify or give an opinion before it,”

Mr. Mori stated that the revitalized peace agreement overrides the interim constitution, asserting that “any institution that is set up by the agreement is above the Constitution. And this is how we are dealing with issues here now in the parliament until this agreement comes to an end by the elections.”

Last week, MP Stephen Bol, who represents Mayom County in Unity State, highlighted the looming hunger facing his constituents and called for an immediate response.

However, according to the members, the hunger is not felt in Mayom County alone but in the entire nation.

Recognizing the urgency of the matter, the Parliament requested the summons of the economic cluster chaired by VP Wani Igga, the governor of Unity State, Upper Nile, Eastern Equatoria State, and the chief administrator of Ruweng Administrative Area.

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