Speaker Nunu forms committee to design her uniform

Speaker Nunu forms committee to design her uniform
An undated picture of RTNLA Speaker Jemma Nunu Kumba addressing a function in a past event. [File Photo]

The speaker of the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (RTNLA), Jemma Nunu Kumba, has formed a committee to design uniforms for herself, the clerk, legal advisor, Sergeant-at-Arms, and other attendees.

The decision to form the committee was made public yesterday in Parliament in response to concerns raised by legislators.

Last year, the legislators demanded that the speaker wear a gown during a regular session of the parliamentary sittings.

In response, Nunu said the committee would design a gown for her and a dressing code for her support staff, including the clerk and the sergeant-at-arms serving the assembly.

“Your concern is in place because in all the other parliaments we have visited in the region and beyond, the speakers have special outfits and so do the clerk and the rest.

‘‘I think it is the right time [we] should start thinking about designing an outfit for this particular category of people,” she said.

She said the move would allow the speaker and other parliamentary staff members to emulate the culture embraced in other parliaments.

The speaker of the parliament (who acts as the assembly’s presiding officer) is in charge of keeping order, interpreting and executing the assembly’s standing orders, and ensuring that assembly sessions run smoothly.

At the front table of the chamber, there are two more people. They are not elected by the public, unlike the members, but they perform crucial functions.

The clerk is the assembly’s most senior permanent official. The clerk is in charge of the Office of the Legislative Assembly’s administrative tasks, and is also, providing procedural guidance in the chamber and announces the assembly’s business.

The Deputy Clerk who assists and sits alongside the Clerk in the Chamber also serves as Sergeant-at-Arms in the Legislative Assembly.  As Sergeant-at-Arms, they are in charge of carrying out the speaker’s security orders, as well as ceremonial tasks such as leading the speaker into and out of the chamber while carrying the mace.

Add the mace

Nunu also recommended carrying a mace. A ceremonial artefact with a long and illustrious history. The mace is one of the most important emblems of British legislative tradition, and it is still used around the world today. The Sergeant-at-Arms is in charge of this large sceptre, which is weighty and ornamental. It represents the Speaker’s authority as well as the Crown’s right to convene Parliament and pass laws.

“South Sudan has never had these since independence, and the speakers have never worn the official gowns,” she said.

So, I think it will be this parliament that comes up with this and leaves it as a legacy for other parliaments, “Nunu added.

South Sudan still lags behind many countries in the region and around the world at large. However, since the formation of the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity, in many ways, the country has been participating in regional and international forums such as the speakers’ summit.

At the summit, the speakers always interact with one another while also learning from their counterparts how things are done in other countries.