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VIOLATION: SPLM-IO demands revote on National Security Bill

By Kei Emmanuel Duku

 

Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) party has called on President Salva Kiir not to sign the controversial National Security Bill recently passed by the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), into law.

In a press conference held over the weekend, Nathaniel Oyet, SPLM-IO Deputy Chairperson, argued that the TNLA violated Article 1.14.9 of the Revitalized Peace Agreement (R-ARCSS).

He demanded a revote, either through a secret ballot or by seeking consensus among the agreement’s signatories, as stipulated in the R-ARCSS.

Oyet contested the validity of the vote, arguing that the two-thirds majority threshold of 367 votes was not met. While 274 voted for the Bill, it fell short of the required number.

Oyet further criticized the Bill’s passage as a violation of the R-ARCSS, undermining security sector reforms and democratic ideals.

He specifically highlighted concerns regarding human rights, civil liberties, political space, and the rule of law.

Sections 54 and 55 of the Act empower the National Security Service (NSS) to arrest and detain individuals with or without warrants.

The Bill had been stalled in Parliament for two years due to disagreements over these very sections.

In February 2021, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, who also serves as Attorney General, advised the removal of the controversial article.

This was followed by a consensus between the two principals (President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar) signatories of the R-ARCSS.

Oyet explained that following the principals’ agreement, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs communicated the decision to the Justice Minister on March 3rd, 2024, directing the removal of the sections.

Oyet emphasized that the Parliament disregarded both the Attorney General’s legal advice and the Council of Ministers’ decision during the first and second readings of the Bill.

This occurred even after the Council instructed the Justice Minister to submit the amended Act to the TNLA for enactment.

Oyet declared the entire voting process null and void, claiming it violated Article 1.14.10 of the R-ARCSS, which requires a simple majority.

The SPLM-IO, along with other signatories to the peace agreement, pledged to continue dialogue and seek amicable solutions regarding the implementation of the agreement.

Oyet urged President Kiir to refrain from signing the Bill and return it to Parliament for further consideration.

Oyet concluded by calling upon President Kiir to uphold the decisions of the principals, Council of Ministers resolutions, and the Attorney General’s legal advice.

He specifically requested that Kiir withhold his assent from the “Controversial National Security Service Bill.”

The Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) on July 3rd 2024, passed the National Security Act 2014 (amendment) Bill 2024 maintaining articles that grant arrest without warrant.

The passing of the Bill has caused outrage among South Sudanese and the international community.

Rights Groups have condemned the passing of the National Security Service urging President Salva Kiir not to sign it into law.

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