Delay in enacting laws worrying, says activist

Delay in enacting laws worrying, says activist
Executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, Edmund Yakani [Photo: courtesy]

A civil society activist has said the delay in enacting crucial legislation in parliament is worrying.

Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), Executive Director, Edmund Yakani, called on the lawmakers to enact pending legislation to transition the country from cyclic conflicts to peace.

Yakani said currently five pieces of legislation are very critical, including the South Sudan People’s Defence Act, the South Sudan Police Service Act and the National Security Service Act each of which is already tabled in parliament but the lawmakers are not working on them timely.

He added that other legislation tabled before parliament are on the transitional justice processes, the establishment of the commission for truth, healing, and reconciliation, and the bill on the constitution-making process. 

“If we are to go through the constitution-making process, then we need to have legislation that informs the constitution process,” Yakani stressed.

The activist reiterated that the five pieces of legislation were critical for transitioning the country to peace and said the parliament had been adjourning the debates. He doubted whether the legislation would be able to be accomplished.

He appealed to the parliament to disclose the legislation for public discussion, saying it could not be enacted without public opinion.

The activist alleged that the legislation was being delayed so that they could be passed without serious deliberations and public opinion on the contents.

Public participation

“Any act of parliament requires a citizen’s view on that particular act,” Yakani said.

“The delay is disturbing and contributing to the delay in implementation of the revitalised peace agreement.” 

The activist stressed that the enactment of the legislation has a direct link to creating a conducive environment for elections.

He called on the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly to be proactive and enact legislation that are required of them.

Last month, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Rubben Madol Arol, delivered the bill for the permanent constitution-making process of 2022 to the Transitional National Assembly for consideration.

Once considered and passed through the presidential assent, the law will provide a legal framework to govern the process of making a permanent constitution as well as define the form, powers, and functions of the mechanism factored in the process.

While there are other bills to get over the line, the lawmakers have successfully passed the emolument and privileges act, which allows them to raise the salaries of legislators and bestow other privileges on them by the law.

“The emoluments and privileges of the members of the Transitional National Legislature Act 2022 have been assented to by His Excellency President Salva Kiir Mayardit, and it is now law.” This will take effect from March 18th, 2022,” the RTNLA speaker announced to the MPs last month.