SPLM-IO says gov’t manipulating incorporation of peace deal to constitution

SPLM-IO leader and First Vice-President designate Dr. Riek Machar Teny (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

January 30th 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s main armed opposition group, SPLM-IO, has accused the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit of manipulating the incorporation of the revitalized peace agreement into the transitional constitution.

The main armed opposition group signed a revitalized peace agreement in September last year to end the six-year-old civil war.

For the peace agreement to be a legal document, it have to be incorporated to the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 (as amended in 2015) after approval by lawmakers.

This week, the government said the bill for the incorporation for the agreement into the constitution was underway to the parliament.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the SPLM-IO, representative to the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) Oyet Nathaniel Pierino says the ongoing process by the government was unilateral.

“It has come to our notice that the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development introduced Constitutional Amendments Bill; the bill incorporating R-ARCSS (2018), to the TNLA. After short deliberation the bill was referred to Parliamentary Committee on Legislation for review and examinations,” Nathaniel said.

“There is clear tendency and intention by government to review the draft bill to delete provisions that doesn’t suit them. SPLMA (IO) will never accept this process or any changes to the Constitution Amendment Bill arising from this process and outside the National Constitution Amendment Committee (NCAC),” added the opposition official added.

“We are also aware that recently, the Minister of Justice similarly tabled Security related draft bills in the Council of Ministers for deliberation and the SPLMA(IO) has full information that the draft Security bills were unfortunately angrily rejected with contempt by the Council of Ministers of ITGoNU (a party to the R-ARCSS). The draft Security bills (SPLA, National Security Services, Prison, Police, Wildlife and Fire Brigade Services Acts) are now referred to the Governance Cluster of the Council of Ministers for review and changes.

“SPLMA (IO) would like to reiterate and make it categorically clear that we shall never accept any process that shall overturn the provisions of the Agreement. The provisions of the Agreement particularly Articles; 1.18.1.1, 1.18.1.1, 1.18.2, 1.18.6-7, 1.14.7 and Article 8.1-3 shall prevail over any intention and wishes of the ITGoNU unless they declare the Agreement death.

“Article 1.18.7 of the Agreement provides that the work of the Assembly shall be limited to “ratify” the Constitution Amendment Bill drafted by NCAC and not to review it and make unnecessary changes. And by virtue of Articles; 8.2 and 8.3, the Agreement supersedes the text of the Constitution and any law or any other intention by any party or group.

“The parliamentary process and rules of procedures leading to enactment of Constitution Amendments Bills, Security laws or any other laws drafted or that shall be drafted by NCAC shall be subject to the provisions of the Agreement as per Article 1.14.7.

“We reject this clear intention of ITGoNU to manipulate the Agreement and legal reforms process. This is a clear indication that despite signing the R-ARCSS, ITGoNU doesn’t want any reforms, it is determined to maintain the current status quo of decay and collapse in the security sector and to obstruct any prospect for reforms in the government.”

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