Parliamentary building near completion, says MP

Parliamentary building near completion, says MP
South Sudanese Parliament Building. [Photo: Courtesy]

The renovation work at Parliamentary building is 75 per cent complete, Parliamentary Commission on Information chairman John Agany said.

Lawmakers have been transacting business at a privately-owned Freedom Hall since May 2019, when the building was put under renovation.

“What is remaining is plastering, fixing the chairs, and electricity. So it is only the 25 per cent remaining. I hope the Assembly leadership will address it. In one or two months we will be operating in our compound; we will not come here (Freedom Hall),” he said on Monday after MPs were forced to return home following a prolonged power blackout at Freedom Hall.

The power blockade meant that a planned meeting by the legislators had to be aborted.

At the time of relocating the Members of Parliament in 2019, the former chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee for Information, Paul Yoane Bonju, told reporters that the Assembly Hall was not enough to accommodate the current expanded parliament.

“This building is an old building. The foundation stone for this building was laid on July 26, 1973. The assembly was renovated 10 or 14 years ago. At the moment, it is not fit to accommodate members especially when they are conducting business,” said Yoane.

He said A.F.K. Concept Ltd — a Lebanese company — started renovating the building and it would be completed in few months.

“As soon as the renovation work by Skyline is over, we will be back. I can assure you it will not take us more than two and a half months to resume normal business inside the chambers,” he said.

However, the renovation has so far taken more than three years.

Process dragging

In 2021, the speaker of the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly, Jemma Nunu Kumba, said constructing a new parliamentary facility was among her top priorities.

She said the current parliament building would not accommodate the current 550 lawmakers. 

“The assembly leadership is looking at the possibility of constructing a new and larger parliament building to house the big number of MPs who constitute the national legislature,” Kumba said.

The membership of the house was expanded from 450 to 550 with the parties to the revitalised agreement sharing the numbers. 

The Council of States has also been increased from 50 to 100 legislators.

Rehabilitation work on the current national parliament building has stalled several times.

In November 2019, President Salva Kiir instructed the then speaker, Anthony Lino Makana, to construct a new facility to accommodate additional members of parliament.

However, the contractor abandoned the project over non-payment.

Weeks later, a member of parliament called for an audit on the project to query the alleged mismanagement of funds after the then speaker stepped down.

Makana resigned on December 8, 2019, amidst the following allegations of misappropriation of funds. 

This was after some MPs outlined reasons to compel the speaker to resign, saying he had among other things, failed to properly manage the august house.