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Our Parliament in Juba paid for doing nothing! by David Char Akau, South Sudan
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Mar 26, 2008 - 8:24:41 AM

Our Parliament in Juba paid for doing nothing!
 

 
It is always shocking to be told that the only Supreme law-making body charged with the responsibility of making Laws in this emerging Nation goes on recess after every three months at this critical time when the Nation has witnessed a lot of backlog of legislation and Bills to be passed.
 
We are all aware that law making process is a difficult exercise that needs ample time through analysis and consultation, but the questions that can be asked in regards to this are: where do our MPS consult? Constituencies or
Holiday destinations? Are our MPs and Parliament aware that nothing else will get worked in regards to legislation without them devoting time?

The genesis of these questions is the general tendency that the Parliament goes for three months recess after three months and when they come back they only sit twice a week with inadequate Quorums to pass Bills, and whenever they leave for Recess, they go to: 1- Australia, 2- USA, Khartoum and many other Overseas destinations for fun, squandering the Consultation fund that is normally meant to aid their consultation Exercise.

We will be tired of this Parliament and the option will be not to vote you back if it has become a Rest haven for not carrying out your mandate but for excitements.

If consultations are necessary and if the constituencies you do not actually visit know what you should consult them for, then the period should be limited to one month and increase the number of times that the sessions should take place in a week to four times a week. We know of Countries that have been in existence for Hundreds of years ,they have vibrant constitutions and Acts of parliaments but they do not have the luxury that you guys with no remorse have. They even sit at night when their Nations are facing crisis.

Where are your soul searches in regards to how comfortable you are made here? :cared for in terms of salaries, sitting Allowances and no political threats from the Executive and the public.

Please wake up, the Parliament in all the Nations is supposed to be the last Institution to get Corrupted and has the Highest immunity by the constitution. It is because it has the bigger task of checks and balances to the Executive on top of the Huge task of making laws for the nation. Time will come when the president will be rift of Decrees which you guys tend to relay on how to govern the country, if that time comes how will we run without laws?

What a shame for us to run a tax system created by the presidential decree yet we have the parliament. Does lack of priorities on which laws to pass impede or it is ridden by incapability? God save us from this mess.
 
The question comes not because of the allowances but what do you do in return for that money?

Parliamentarians should not take themselves like the notorious GOSS Undersecretaries that you rarely find in their offices, they are always in Foreign countries doing what the Nation does not see or benefit from but are paid allowances as big as 500 US$ per day, what a luxury and shame on the Nation that has 98% of the population that lives below the poverty line.

When put in the economic wave-length, this allowance money can tarmac a kilometer of road or save a dying mother during delivery or as salary for a midwife for one or almost two months.
 
Let me briefly go through the list of the pending Bills that the Parliament would have acted upon as a matter of Urgency and survival of the Nation if we are not blindfolded by Ignorance, Oil money and preference for luxury than work that has plagued South Sudan after the conflict:---

1.       The Land Act -- if there is anything that is retarding the development of this Nation then it is having no laws on the city, land, property and housing. You find citizens crowded in tens on pieces land that do not qualify as plots waiting the dead parliament to revive and make land laws. We are left at the mercy of the Bari, and central Equatoria to bear insults and humiliation as if aliens to this country yet this is something caused by the Parliament which has the power to say, relocate or retain the city in or from Juba depending on what they deem necessary because there will be no way investors will come here to be renting or buying land at the crazy prices that the Bari people are levying on this Nation as if they have the monopoly of land in South Sudan yet Ramciel is there wide and accommodative for all the citizens without hindrance;
 

2.       The Economics or the Taxation Act-- this should have been enacted number one because taxation is not only a tool to collect money for individual gains as many amateurs entrusted with this task would think, it is a way in which the economy is regulated, by subsidies, deterrence of monopoly over market, narrowing the gap between the poor and the rich and above all, raise money for the government. We are faced with a situation of 2011 Referendum and every one seems to be contented that the oil money is enough. Did any one ever sit down and think about how will the transition be if we secede from the North? It will be received with resentment by the North, Oil production will be halted since the companies that drill and refine Oil are based and allied to Khartoum and the bigger enemy of the South will not allow us to use their Route where the pipe is leading to the outside World. If we do not have alternative sources of income we will get suffocated and anarchy will result and reign in our would-be country---better to make laws on taxations now as a matter of urgency.
 

3.       The Anti-Corruption Law -- I might be wrong to say that this law is delaying because of the ambiguous systems that we have where one person can be a member of parliament as well as a minister or a chairperson of a commission or a member or undersecretary, these are the big shots benefiting from all the Corruption scams that south Sudan has found itself in. Crooks are not willing to make this Bill pass because it will get hold of them as Hon. Paul Mayom (GOSS minister of Interior) did on the Investigation which was to reveal the truth about the Corruption of Cars that robbed this Nation of millions of Dollars……please Let this Bill go through to save the Nation.
 

4.       The Child Right Bill-- most MPS I talked to about this do not look at this as a priority but they are mistaken in a situation like ours where the country has just returned from war, orphans are many, abandoned children are a lot, poverty is high and Child Labor is the Order of the day that even some one who never went to any child rights school will testify that children are grossly abused here; not forgetting the Arab culture that looks at child labor as a normal phenomena in the life cycle. Children wash cars, plates and even serve In Restaurant and act as taxi conductors. What a shame and an Ignorance on the side of our Parliament that doze and does not look at priority in regards to future of the Nations pertaining making process.
 

These are not the only priorities that await the Parliament, the list is long and we can all agree these are the Bills you can wake up and pass.
 
Please Parliaments are there in the World to make Laws but not Only to pass Budgets, that is the only Easy Bill our Parliament can easily Enact but in actual sense the budgets should be viewed with suspicions and critically reviewed as they are where the government can manipulate National paths.

When I asked one member of one the states Parliament of how many laws they had enacted since their parliament was created, he satisfactory and confidently told me ‘’five bills’’ and among these three were budgets. What a shame on our law makers.

I’m calling upon our civil society network to not let MPS get away with this Embarrassing deed but pressure them, and the public should solicit avenues where they ask their MPs to be accountable to them, not to the president.

We should also encourage the creation of Public Debate forums so that Issues like these are exposed because the MPS seem not to know what they owe us as their Electors and beneficiaries.
 
Many thanks,
David Char Akau,
South Sudan

Email:

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