By Hon. Juol Nhomngek Gec,
May 13, 2021 — With sincere gratitude, I wish to acknowledge the role played by the Chairman of the SPLM-IO and also the SPLM-IO Members that played a great role in my journey to the political leadership of South Sudan. In fact, without the SPLM-IO leadership headed by Excellency Dr. Riek Machar and all members from Lakes State and individuals from other states, I could not have been appointed to the South Sudan National Member of Parliament (R-TNLA) representing Cueibet County.
I would like to begin by admitting one thing openly and in clear term that I owe you a lot as well as I am proud to work on your behalf and on behalf of the SPLM-IO as one of 128 Members of Parliament on the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly in Juba. I promise to make sure that I will work on the program of the SPLM-IO governed by our manifesto whose vision and mission are for reforms of the South Sudan social and political system.
In the same way, please allow me to give the vote of thanks to all my family members, relatives and friends in Australia, Canada, the USA and other parts of the World including those inside South Sudan plus the whole Cueibet County Community that I represent in the R-TNLA besides friends from Lakes State and from other nine States and three Administrative Areas who have come out openly to campaign for me and continually supporting me for the last one year and half that I have spent in politics here in Juba.
My heartfelt and acknowledgement therefore goes to all those I have mentioned above who supported me materially and morally of which without their support the life would have been unbearable. I am really grateful and I am humbled by such overwhelming support. Besides, I would like to say thanks to all the members of my Facebook Community who have been giving me company through my political activism and who have for the last two days been showering me with different congratulatory messages. I would like to say that I am very grateful to you all and I promise that I will do my best so that I don’t let you down.
Before I conclude with this thanksgiving statement, let me make these few remarks by starting that personally, my view on the position of a Member of Parliament is that of a privilege and honor that comes with stringent duties of the Members of Parliament. The duties of the Members of Parliament involve upholding the honor and integrity of the Parliament.
The honor and integrity of the Parliament comes in a way that represents the citizens through the constituencies the Members of the Parliament represent and due to that representation, the Parliament plays the role of being the oversight to the government departments. The oversight role of the Parliament is there to protect the interests of the country or the protecting the public interest. In that regards, the role of protecting the public imposes the overriding duty on the individual members of the Parliament who must always be conscious of their three main duties namely—
First, the Member of the Parliament has the duty to the country which is above everything including the duty to his or her constituency, to the citizens in general and to his or her constituency in particular and to his or her Party. This duty imposes the revocable duty on the Member of the Parliament to live according to the honor by upholding the duty to sacrifice his or her own self-gratification, pleasure, satisfaction and to protect the interest of the country and in the present case the interest of South Sudan.
Second, as a Member of the Parliament, represent the citizens in the lower and upper house by proposing policy initiatives on their behalf; second, by participating in the legislative process, which give my constituency at least an indirect role in the shaping of important policies affecting their lives; third, by making a statement on their behalf where necessary as permitted by the law; fourth, by also raising matters to influence the government to alter or initiate policies, which are in line with the interests of the citizens; and fifth and finally, by mobilizing other Members of Parliament to intercede with the President on behalf of the citizens in different constituencies they represent either by letter or more directly.
Third, the Member of the Parliament has the right under the law to move adoption of a Private Member’s Bill during the time allotted to Private Members’ business where necessary as permitted by the laws and if possible become a member of any committee in the Parliament which can enhance my opportunities to perform the representative role.
Fourth, the Member of Parliament works to influence the members of his or her own Party (and my case the SPLM-IO) to adopt specific attitudes and policy proposals along the lines of those advocated by constituents in the party’s caucus to ensure that the Party’s stance towards specific issues are observed.
Fifth, the Members of Parliament play a role of the “ombudsman” with other members to make sure that services are delivered as the people deserve. The Members of the Parliament can do this by mobilizing their constituents to rally behind them to make sure that the government desists doing the undesirable activities that affect the welfare of the citizens and to make sure that the Government passes the laws to control malpractice in the government departments to ensure effective service delivery.
Sixth, a Member of Parliament mobilizes other MPs to make sure that all laws and policies are thoroughly scrutinized and all the actions of the Government and their departments are in line with the law. This is done by the concerned specialized parliamentary committees with the support of the Parliamentary General Assembly.
In order to effectively perform the above duties, the individual member of Parliament or a legislator must approach issues pragmatically guided by the public interest. This includes working in close relationships with the people he or she represents so that he or she is able to listen to them regularly. After listening, he or she has to translate their concerns into workable proposals and then work hard to build consensus on implementing those proposals to benefit not only his or her constituency but the whole country.
In my capacity as the Member of Parliament, I must represent my constituency (Cueibet County) by doing the following— acting as the legislator (lawmaker); lobbying for constituent basic needs and development; playing an oversight role in collaboration with other lawmakers to play advocacy role and to compel the executive as an army of the government to implement policies of the Government in accordance with the laws of South Sudan relevant to that department.
As the Member of Parliament in South Sudan, I am aware of the fact that the country is facing many challenges now and in the time to come, but we as South Sudanese can overcome them if all 650 members of R-TNLA and 1000 members commit themselves by working in the interest of South Sudan and to arise as the General Assembly above partisan politics to do what is best for the country and citizens.
I believe that the role played by an individual can save the Country or destroy. If all 650 members of the R-TNLA and 1000 members of different States Legislative Assemblies can put the national interests above their party politics, I am sure South Sudan can be liberated without shooting a single bullet. On my side, I am ready to sacrifice and to do what I can to fight and to protect the interest of South Sudan.
In conclusion, with these few remarks, I would like to say that I look forward to continuing to work for you as your Representative in the R-TNLA. My main agenda as the Member of the SPLM-IO, a Political Organization that has been sold negatively is to make sure that the SPLM-IO is known through the good work I do and I am ready to do it for the people and this country.
In my political interactions with different youth that I met, I have to say that each of them possess admirable traits and strong desire to serve this country and we as politicians must use the government policies to develop the desirable and patriotic traits in our youth so that they serve our communities with integrity and hard work. I hope to work with all of you and to move the entire country forward. Otherwise, I would like to repeat by saying that I thank everyone who contributes to my leadership development. Thanks a lot and may God Bless You.
Hon Juol Nhomngek Gec is a member of Parliament (R-TNLA), Juba, representing Cueibet County, Lakes State, South Sudan. He can be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Facebook at Juol Nhomngek
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