Law student warns of looming Constitutional crisis in South Sudan

Kampala, March 27, 2015 (SSNA) — A law student at Nkumba University-Kampala, Gai James Kai, has warned of a looming Constitutional crisis in the country following the recent extension of President Salva Kiir’s lifespan/term in office for two more years.

He said it would be illegal for President, Vice-President, cabinet ministers, and their deputies to continue carrying out their executive duties two more year after the end of their terms in July.

Gai told our reporter this week that if elections are not held by June this year, it would also be illegal for President Kiir to appoint a cabinet because his term in office would have lapsed by July of 2015.

His comment follows the recent announcements by National Legislative Assembly that incumbent President, Salva Kiir Mayardit’s term in office is extended up to 2018.

Kai added that although term of parliament cannot be extended, the Presidential term can be extended by another two years or even more, depending on the surrounding circumstance.

Few months ago, Kiir indicated that he would dissolve Parliament by June; 2015, but has considered the extension of the lifespan of the executives.

Gai said: “Yes! The extension of the lifespan of Parliament can only be done during times of war like this, and under those circumstances, but should not be for more than one year at a time and the cumulative extensions should not exceed two years.’’

“Further the law requires that Vice-president, cabinet ministers and deputy ministers shall not occupy their executive offices for more than three months without being members of Parliament and there is a grace period of up to three months for non-MP ministers to hold these positions.’’

He said while the President shall continue in office until the person elected as President in the next elections entered office, he cannot appoint a cabinet after the three months grace period.

“It must be made clear that beyond the dissolution of the current Parliament, the appointment of a cabinet by a “President’’ whose term expired would be illegitimate,’’ Kai added.

Although Salva Kiir recently approached the High Court to secure an order to declare elections by or on June 2015, opposition political parties protested the proposal and challenged the decision in court, saying even if the Parliament can be dissolved by July 2015, government business should go on and so the terms of the executive can be extended for one or two years until a new government is formed.

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