Parliamentary sitting called off due to power blackout

Parliamentary sitting called off due to power blackout
A section of MPs leave Freedom Hall after th emeeting was calle doff due o power blockade. The meeting were set to discuss SSPDF Act and a bill to amend the name of the National Police. [Photo: Keji Janefer, City Review]

A meeting by Parliamentarians that was expected to discuss the amendment of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Act was called off because of the power blockade in Parliament buildings.

The legislature had assembled at Freedom Hall ready to discuss the weighty issue of national importance – including the proposed alteration of the name of the National Police Service, only for the meeting to be called off because there was no power in the precinct.

The two bills were scheduled to be presented for the second reading on the same day that would have seen the bills also go through third and fourth readings, with amendments, before the President could sign them into law.

The two chambers of parliament, the Council of States and the Transitional National Assembly (TNLA), enacted the constitution amendment bill No. 10 last week, changing the name of the national army SPLA to SSPDF.

However, by altering the constitution, the act would be tweaked to comply with the revitalized agreement under which the current government is anchored on.

John Agany, the TNLA’s Information Committee chairperson told journalists that the sitting was adjourned because the generator used to supply power at Freedom Hall had malfunctioned.

The second bill was about the national police service which the parliament also need to amend in conformity with the agreement.

“The generator broke down and our technicians tried to fix it but it was very difficult.

“If we were not having a problem of light today, we were also going to amend the SSPDF bill,” Agany told reporters.

This is not the first time that a session had been called off. Early this year, a sitting was called off after traders reserved the space at Freedom Hall for a three-day exhibition.

On January 5, 2022, a meeting to debate the Emolument Act for constitutional post holders, including Members of Parliament, was also adjourned after Minister of Finance Agak Achuil failed to show up.

The speaker of the Transitional National Parliamentary Assembly, Jemma Nunu, also called off a legislative session on April 25, 2022, to debate amending the SPLA Act to the South Sudan People’s Defence Force Act, 2009, citing a mistake in the bill.

Because the room was sweltering, some of the lawmakers who headed to Freedom Hall to attend Monday’s session sat outside for nearly two hours before leaving after they were informed of the unfortunate development.

The adjournment of the sittings has been described by one opposition MP Chan Deng Marol, as “political machinations”

“The members came here to discuss the bills, but now they have left because the time is over, without the speaker or the deputy speakers. It is the third time now that we are doing the same thing to the members. For this, we consider this a political game that has been played in the country. “

“It is not clear because when I asked the clerk, he was telling me that it is the generator and they have sent the team of technicians. To me it is not clear because the clerk is not the right person to tell us the message that is supposed to be received from the speaker,” lamented Deng.

John Agany, however, refuted the allegations insisting that it was purely on technical grounds.

Adjournment of sittings, according to Deng, makes it difficult for legislators to accomplish their responsibilities, particularly the passage of laws.

He noted that the assembly is not yet ready to summon the Minister of Finance to propose the new national budget for 2022-2023 due to bills that must be finished before the new budget can be received.

Juma Zachariah, the opposition leader blamed the sitting’s adjournment on the parliament’s lack of leadership and management, claiming that they would have readied the hall before the scheduled date.

“They should have been ready to prepare everything since we found out last week that we were going to have a sitting of the administration of the parliament and the clerk. I think this is a failure of the clerk because it is part of their responsibility to make sure everything in the parliament is in order. “

The National Assembly meet at Freedom Hall because the legislative building has been undergoing renovations for the last three years.