Drama in parliament as lawmakers fail to understand Achuei’s presentation

Drama in parliament as lawmakers fail to understand Achuei’s presentation
Minister of Health, Elizabeth Achuei makes a presentation to MPs on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 (photo credit: Kitab Unango/The City Review)

Drama ensued in Parliament Tuesday after the Minister of Health, Elizabeth Achuei, made an extraordinary presentation that lawmakers could hardly understand.

Achuei was responding to a motion raised by lawmakers who wanted to know what her ministry had done to mitigate flood impacts in the affected regions in South Sudan.

In her presentation on that matter, Ms Achuei could hardly be understood as the English words and spellings she used were foreign to many legislators.

Besides, MPs repeatedly made points of order to correct the minister for wrongly naming titles of constitutional post holders as provided by the Conduct of Business Regulation, such as using the right title to refer to the Rt. Hon. Speaker, Hon. Members, etc.

Though the minister was asked to allow technical personnel from her ministry to respond to some questions, she insisted and repeated the same mistakes over and over again.

Then laughter broke out over the repeated mistakes, and the minister deemed it necessary to concede her sloppiness and apologised to the lawmakers.

“I am so, so sorry. I am still learning, as you know. I am new. I am a human being, and this is my first time. Sorry, ” Ms Achuei told Members of Parliament.

Facing challenges

Achuei, however, said her ministry was going through complex challenges that hindered service delivery to the people affected by the flood across the country.

One of the challenges she mentioned was a lack of funding and a sufficient workforce to respond to emergencies.

“Human resources for health remain inadequate, in addition to poor payment and staff retention, which are affecting our capacity to prepare and respond to emergencies, in addition to poor infrastructure and access to essential medications as required for delivery of basic health services,” she told MPs.

She appealed to the lawmakers to push for the increment of the ministry of health’s budget in the 2021/2022 fiscal year to enable it to deliver healthcare services to the citizens.

Achuei was among the eight ministers who were summoned over a month ago to appear before the House and present their plans to address the flood menace in the states.

However, they boycotted the call, and only two of them appeared on Monday: Achuei and Peter Mayen, the minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management.

Nonetheless, the duo failed to address the lawmakers after the latter sent them back, citing a lack of adequate preparation. For instance, the ministers were ordered to produce enough copies to enable the members of parliament to follow their presentation.

Besides, their woes piled up as some members called on the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Nathaniel Oyet, to invoke the law and effect their punishment for contempt, citing their boycott.