By Dong Samuel Luak,
March 25, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan’s parliament on Tuesday extended President Salva Kiir’s term in office by three years. Some 227 members of the 332-member National Legislative Assembly (the lower house of parliament) voted to amend the constitution to allow an extension of Kiir’s tenure from July of 2015 to July of 2018. Only six MPs voted against the motion. The question is it necessary to amend the South Sudan Transitional Constitution 2011?
I believe is too early and dangerous to amend the transitional constitution 2011. The recent action by South Sudan parliament is a declaration of war on the voters who elected them into office. This opens a flood – gates for more abuse by both the executive and parliament, there’s no any reasons or Justification in the first place to warrant the recent changes or amendment to the constitution.
Article 66 Term of the national legislature shall be four years from July 9, 2011. Article 100 Tenure of office of the President be four years from July 9,2011.
Looking at the two provisions, there’s no any other provision to qualify a longer period where the life of the parliament is extended, in which event the term of office of the President terminate in the expiration of the period mentioned in Article 66 and Article100 of the Transitional Constitution 2011.
Did the government and parliament follow the correct procedures?
Any constitutional amendment must follow certain procedures, to avoid any violations and abuse of power by both the legislature and executive, Article 101 (F) function of the President; Article 199 Amendment of the Constitution respectively set forth the process. But what are the safeguards?
- Any proposed amendment which seeks to extend the length of a term-limit provision, will not apply to a persons or persons who held or occupied that office, or an equivalents officer, at any time before the amendment, this means an incumbent cannot be a beneficiary to a constitutional amendment which seeks to extent his or her term of office.
- Any amendment of the Bill of Rights, Article 25 Freedom of Assembly and Association, Article 26 Rights to Participating and Voting. Parliament alone can’t amend the rights provided in the Bill of Rights; it must be put to a national referendum Article 195.
- Article 9 Nature of the Bill of Rights sub article (4) this Bill of Rights shall be upheld by the Supreme Court and other competent courts and monitored by the Human Rights Commissions. Where are they?
- There must be a wider consultative process before any amendment is presented to the Parliament.
The recent action by the parliament in South Sudan is a serious violation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; Salva Kiir is a Parliament made President not a choice of the people of South Sudan.