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Kiir to receive permanent constitution-making bill after MPs reach consensus

Kiir to receive permanent constitution-making bill after MPs reach consensus
Speaker of TNLA Rt. Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba (Right) and her deputy Rt. Hon. Oyet Nathaniel during the swearing of MPs in 2021

President Salva Kiir is set to receive the permanent constitution-making bill 2022 after members of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly passed it for the second time on Monday.

The MPs reached a consensus after the bill was re-tabled for its second final reading – an unprecedented parliamentary procedure.

The passage of the bill through the first and fourth readings was marred with political bickering.

In June, the SPLM-IO boycotted some parliamentary sessions after the passage of the Political Parties’ Act. The constitution-making process bill was among the bills passed by a section of MPs in the absence of the SPLM-IO legislators.

However, President Salva Kiir ordered for the re-tabling of bill in order to include the views of the SPLM-IO.

The legislation will now be forwarded to the President to help govern the making of a permanent constitution of South Sudan.

“The bill has been passed into its final reading and it will make the way to the President where it will be passed to law,” said Hon. John Agany, chairperson of the information committee in the TNLA.

Once signed into law by the President, it will, among other things, the law will initiate consultations for a constitution that will bring about a federal and democratic system of government that reflects the character of South Sudan, and guarantee good governance, constitutionalism, and the rule of law.

Hon. Oyet Nathaniel, the First Deputy Speaker of the TNLA and deputy chairperson of the SPLM-IO said they are satisfied with the nature of the bill.

“The parties reached a consensus on issues that were contentious in the bill…the original text of the bill was upheld in contrast to the changes the parliamentary committee on the legislation had introduced in the bill,” Oyet confirmed.

The Permanent Constitution-making Process law will also provide a framework for public participation in the governance of the country through democratic, free and fair elections, and devolution of powers and resources to the state and counties.

Rt.Hon. Speaker of the TNLA, Jemma Nunu commended the legislators for working collaboratively to pass the bill.

“Thank you for the very effective team spirit that you have demonstrated during this discussion and the consensus that we have quickly built on the issues that put us apart,” she told the House on Monday.

“This is the spirit which is required and this is also the reflection of the spirit of our own President Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit who for the sake of unity among ourselves decided that we need to table this bill and build consensus as brothers and sisters as responsible legislators in this country.”

The signing of the bill into law will usher in a series of consultations, convening of National Constitutional Conference, reconstitution of National Constitutional Review Commission, and the transformation of the TNLA into a constituents assembly to adopt a new constitution, among others.

The permanent constitution shall guide the conduct of general elections towards the end of the transitional period in 2025.

The revitalized peace deal says the process of permanent constitution-making shall be led and owned by the people of South Sudan, and ensure their supremacy in the law.