Sudan trade expo disrupts parliamentary business

Sudan trade expo disrupts parliamentary business
Paul Yoane Bonju, Chairperson Designate of Information Committee at RTNLA (photo credit: Sheila Ponnie/The City Review)

The trade exhibition organised by the Sudanese business community at Freedom Hall in Juba has disrupted parliamentary activities that are usually conducted at the facility.

Paul Yoane Bonju, the Chairperson Designate of the Information Committee at the Reconstituted Transitional Legislative Assembly, said any parliamentary proceeding organised outside the normal schedules will be treated as extraordinary.

“Any sitting outside these three days, we term them extraordinary sittings, so sittings of the National Parliament have never been obstructed,” he said.

Yoane said the August House green-lighted the Sudanese trade expo, inspired by bilateral relations between the two countries.

“Sudan is our neighbour. We have a bilateral relationship with Sudan, and if they have asked for a facility. I am sure the government of South Sudan has the right to grant them that facility,” he explained.

The Chairperson designate also revealed that other committees were actively finalising paperwork for presentation as the session resumes on Friday.

“And the other committee is also making acquainted consolation, getting necessary information from some of the members of parliament from the two houses and I believe that when they are done, then the presentation will be carried out on Friday, with no contradiction, no obstructions,” he stated.

More than 500 members of the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly have been using the Freedom Hall since taking the oath of office due to their large number, which the parliament facility with about 300 seats cannot accommodate.

Yoane rubbished reports that the parliamentarians were dishonourably thrown out of Freedom Hall to make room for the Sudan trade expo, dubbed SudaExpo.

“This is untrue, there is nothing of that kind,” he said. “What happened was that on Monday we had our sitting very normally and it was presided over by the Speaker, Jemma Nunu Kumba,” he said.

The parliament normally has sittings on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. However, the August house will not be having its ordinary sittings due to the Freedom Hall being used for the Sudanese Expo.     

The summons

On November 17, eight ministries were summoned by the Members of Parliament in the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA to answer queries relating to the seven flooded states in the country.

The states submerged in water are the Upper Nile, Jonglei, Unity, and Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal states.

Those who were summoned were the ministers of humanitarian, environment, finance, interior, health, petroleum, water and irrigation, and the minister of gender, child, and social welfare.

Yoane, said the two ministers appeared, but unfortunately, their presentation could not go through and they were sent back to make a comprehensive presentation due to inaccurate information.

However, this week, some of the ministers were supposed to be present on Tuesday and Wednesday, but due to the Sudanese exhibition at the Freedom Hall, the three ministries could not be present.

“The time lost will be compensated for and it will be regulated by the conduct of business. Any sitting that the parliament conducts is always regulated by the conduct of business,” he said.

He added, “If we miss, for instance, sitting on Tuesday and Wednesday, That is why we sit on Friday, and if we meet on Friday, then we have compensated for Tuesday and Wednesday. “

In May 2019, the South Sudanese members of parliament moved out of the parliament building in order to give room for renovation.

Since then, South Sudanese lawmakers have been conducting business outside the parliament building.

Paul Yoane, the head of the parliamentary committee for information, in 2019 said that the sittings of the parliament were relocated to the Freedom Hall, an arena meant for public events.

He explained that “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. “

 But from 2019 to 2021, the construction of the parliament has not been completed.

Yoane blamed technical challenges that continue to blight the renovation pace.

“As a member of this parliament, as a layperson, if at all they are given the necessary resources from the Ministry of Finance and Planning, I believe that within a period of four months or less this camber will be ready to accommodate the 650 of the national legislators,” he said.