August 24, 2013 (SSNA) — Was the South Sudan parliament taken by any surprise when the president walked in and threatened to dissolve it and dismiss the MPs if they failed to endorse Hon. Wani Igga for the Vice Presidency?
If it was, then the MPs must be living on another planet, and not in Juba the seat of Kiir’s government. Whichever way it ended, there are bitter lessons for those who thought that the president had any real respect for the MPs or the Parliament itself as an institution.
“I have always maintained that, I shoot the sheriff, but don’t shoot no any deputy”! I have nothing at this juncture against Chief Wani Igga. He has been president Kiir’s staunch supporter and I see no reason why he shouldn’t be his deputy. As for qualifications, he too is a learned person, a Lt General (I only knew yesterday that these guys have not retired) and a Catholic for that matter.
It is in fact what I read in the media about how Mr. President used an improper language to address the country’s lawmakers and they all went dump that upset me. This takes us back a few days when the same parliament flexed its muscles against the ex-presidential advisor who was about to become both a Minister of Justice and a Presidential Advisor at the same time.
While Telar Riing Deng( his name), was an easy prey to deal with as he not only made himself a public enemy number one through his past unhealthy records and obviously a very horrible ‘Bush Dossier’, but he is even lucky to have not ended behind the bars if he truly possessed undated university credentials. Fake degrees and fake certificates are by law, punishable crimes even in Yarol, believe me!
President Kiir’s Saturday morning meeting was primarily with the ruling SPLM party’s parliamentary caucus where he introduced his nominated new Vice President, James Wani Igga and sought their approval.
However we must see it in the context of the fact that the SPLM MPs make well over 95% of the total parliamentarians. In other words he (President) had already met with the number he needed to endorse his Vice President.
And again, even though I find it an inappropriate behavior by a head of a state, I think the MPs got what they deserved when the president behaved rudely towards them. It all boils down to the SSTC2011 – (John Luke’s constitution) which this very house passed two years ago.
Whatever excuses the MPs will give us from today on wards, will never make up for the damage the president have already done to the image of that parliament! And when it was reported that he (Mr. President) told the parliamentarians that even if the 2015 elections were still far, he would "dissolve the parliament and make them (lawmakers roam in the streets)". That was it! And it was a humiliation of the first degree.
What followed the above drama was yet another drama of an exponential nature. Conscious of the fact that the president meant business and unless he gets what he wants from the MPs or else he would dissolve the parliament and send everybody to roam the streets, they unanimously complied.
The NLA Resolution No: 55/2013 dated 24th August 2013 came out very fast and clearly a work done to avert ending up as ‘street roamers’ or some kind of vagabonds.
Partly it read:
“After a limited debate the august House unanimously resolved thus:
That the debate be closed
That the appointment of Lt. Gen James Wani Igga as the Vice President of South Sudan is hereby passed.
It was then quickly signed by the Hon. Daniel Awet Akot, Deputy Speaker of National Legislative Assembly of RSS – Juba, and the mass lay off was thus averted!
The wakeup call for the self-assuring MPs is that although we would like to believe them in their premature celebration of their new slogan of “South Sudan National Legislative Assembly won’t be the same again”, I want to tell them that they will have to wait for another Telar Riing before they recover from this weekend’s humiliation.
Now we can see, when it comes to the Politics of the Belly, South Sudanese politicians are utterly rendered without any principles. See what a generous choice he gave them, either Lt-Gen Wani Igga for Vice President or lawmakers end up roaming in the streets – jobless and aimless!
President Kiir knew he could always do this when he wants his job done the way he wants it. And that threat of dissolving the parliament any time and sending MPs roaming the streets will remain a hanging axe on the parliament for a long time to come.
Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org