From: Equatorian Leaders in the Diaspora
Subject: The Amendment of Transitional Constitution 2011, to Accommodate President Kiir’s Establishment Order 36/2015.
Date: 8th December 2015
The Equatorian Leaders in the Diaspora strongly condemn the act of the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly on the 20th November 2015 for amending the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 giving the president powers to create 28 new states in defiance of popular rejection of the order. The Parliament has succumbed to rubber-stamping President Kiir’s Establishment Order 36/2015 issued on the 2nd October 2015 without due scrutiny and in total disregard to its administrative, economic and political implications.
The Legislative Assembly should be reminded that it had ratified the peace Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (The Peace Agreement), which takes supremacy over existing Constitution, in the event of any contradictions between the two.
It is worth recalling that when President Kiir issued his Establishment Order 36/2015, his Minister of Information Michael Makuei confirmed that the Order did not require any Parliamentary approval. Why this huge U-turn? The South Sudanese people deserve a rational answer and apology for betrayal of the people’s trust and this gross violation of the Transitional Constitution 2011. By so doing, the President has exceeded his constitutional powers, which under normal circumstances should warrant his resignation. In a genuine democracy, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) should have commenced impeachment proceedings against the President instead of succumbing to his bullying and intimidation tactics.
Furthermore, we expect the National Legislative Assembly to be holding the Executive arm of the Government and particularly the Presidency to account in order to ensure that the Peace Agreement is implemented fully. The Assembly should have played its duty and sought answers from President Kiir Mayardit regarding the followings:
- The constitutional mandate of the Order;
- The criteria used for the creation of the 28 states;
- The lack of public consultation on matters of monumental importance to the citizens, prior to enactment into law;
- Equity of allocation of new states across the former three regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal, and in particular why Eastern Equatoria is split up only into 2 states instead of 4, the least it deserves.
Unfortunately, the National Legislative Assembly has failed in its duty to represent the people of South Sudan and to keep the Executive in check. For the Assembly to exonerate itself, we call upon the legislators to renegade the President on the illegal executive order and to stand by the people of South Sudan.
The failure of the Assembly to fulfil its duty raises a serious issue in relation to the independence of the legislature. This anomaly partly originates from the fact that the Constitution gives the President power to appoint members of parliament. The Assembly has just added another layer of power for President to appoint governors instead of governors being elected by the people. This naturally forces the MPs and appointed governors to feel more accountable to him rather than to the people or the state.
Furthermore, there was evidence that majority of MPs who voted for the amendment of the constitution hailed from one tribe (Dinka), while the majority of MPs from Equatoria and Upper Nile boycotted the vote or walked out. The President ought to be asking himself the question: is he a President of one tribe or is he a President of all the tribes in South Sudan?
As a result the Assembly did not get the required quorum and tried to cheat by unlawfully, allowing members of the Council of States to sit and be counted. This act of cheating, totally contradicts the moral integrity expected of the August House. Members of Parliament must lead by good example, and their action in this instant demonstrates a bad example to the general South Sudanese public, especially the youth. We condemn the NLA for being complicit in destruction of the moral fabrics of our society.
We remind the Assembly for its failure in condemning the targeted ethnic cleansing of Nuer people in Juba in December 2013, and its failure to hold President Kiir responsible and accountable for declaring war without approval of the Assembly. It has also failed to condemn recent atrocities in Wonduruba, Maridi, Mundri, and in Ma’di land in the government’s pretext of hunting down rebels. The Assembly is therefore liable for personal and collective negligence.
We applaud the MPs who boycotted the vote for the Constitutional amendment. They had shown wisdom, courage and integrity to resist President Kiir’s tactics of bullying and intimidation and to stand up for parliamentary integrity, and for justice, liberty and equality in the new nation.
In order to move forward and realise peace in the Republic of South Sudan, we demand the following actions:
- The National Legislative Assembly should declare the amendment to Constitution as null and void. It should wait for legitimate reconstituted Transitional Assembly of Government of National Unity in order to agree on any amendments to the Constitution.
- The President should withdraw his Establishment Order. Instead, he should work to create conducive environment for the return of his peace-partners. He should abandon the pursuit of military means to out-manoeuvre his peace-partners.
- Together with his peace partners, the President should move quickly to form the Transitional Government of National Unity; the more the Transitional Government is delayed the more the risk to the Peace Agreement unravelling.
- President Kiir needs to be reminded that the authority of government originates from the will of the people through regular, and fair elections, and not vice versa. In any modern democratic system, the president is not above the law. The vast majority of the people of South Sudan expect nothing less from a leader whose electoral mandate has expired but is now an interim president mandated to rule South Sudan in partnership with Dr. Riek Machar, 1st Vice President Designate by the Compromise Peace Agreement 2015, against the will of many. It will do him well to observe and respect that.
THE EQUATORIAN LEADERS IN THE DIASPORA:
Executive Committee, Equatorian Community in the UK
Equatoria Community & Welfare Association, NSW
Equatoria South Sudanese Community Association-USA (ESSCA-USA)
Equatoria South Sudanese Community Association-Canada (ESSCA- Canada)