August 14, 2012 (BOR) – Nineteen members of the Jonglei parliament, almost 40% of the state’s 49 MPs, boycotted the parliamentary session in Bor on Tuesday in support of four MPs who had been suspended by the speaker.
On Monday, the state speaker of Jonglei State Assembly, Peter Chol Wall, ordered the police to remove the former speaker, Judi Jonglei Bioris, representing Pibor South Constituency 135 to state parliament. Wall claimed accused his predecessor of “misconduct during the deliberations”, a moved that was immediately rejected by some three other MPs who were later served with suspension letters.
Among the MPs were Judi Jonglei Bioris, Peter Kuony Yaak, Toung Majok and Moses Mayul Bol.
Moses Mayul Bol told Sudan Tribune that he did not know the reason for his suspension and not convinced by the actions of Speaker Wall. He said that the speaker should not be a “dictator” but was there to guard the procedures of the house.
Mayul said that he regarded the speaker as an obstacle in the assembly saying, “when we tried to the make the laws that we were brought for by [South Sudan’s ruling party] the SPLM to that parliament, he breached them”.
“The whole processes are not going as we want in the parliament, so therefore, we don’t want Chol to lead us any longer,” he added.
Judi Jonglei Bioris, said they will not sit for any business in the assembly until Speaker Chol is removed.
The MPs said they felt intimidated when they saw the police at the assembly, led by two officers charged with responsibility to prevent the entry of the suspended members, a move which angered many MPs, triggering the boycott in solidarity with the four MPs who had been suspended.
Susan Lith Aloung, representing Athoch South Constituency number 27, accused the speaker of having dividing the assembly into “friends” and enemies, with the “Chairpersons of specialist communities are his friends”.
She said the Speaker had abused some members by saying they were “behaving like kids” and had refused to aapologise.
This is not the first time some MPs called for the change of Speaker Chol. The first attempt was made between April and May this year, by about seven members who did not win the support from their colleagues.
According to the Jonglei State Assembly Conduct of Business, a law guiding the assembly, the speaker can only be removed from his position by a motion supported by a two third majority of the members.
Judi Jonglei Bioris, one of the leading members calling for the change of the speaker, described the speaker as “speaker of village”, accusing him of dashing some motions which “he doesn’t like” once they are raised in the assembly.
“If Chol Wall is not changed as a speaker, we will not go back to the assembly”, he said.
He also accused the speaker of spreading rumours that those who opposed him also opposed Jonglei’s Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk. Bioris said that Wall had written notices to people saying that that the protesting MPs want to change the speaker they could also change the governor. “There is nothing like that” he said, dismissing the allegation.
“We are the people who voted the governor to this position, why do we changed him?”
Peter Chol Wall, became Speaker before the 2010 before general elections, following the impeachment of the former speaker, Judi Jonglei, who was accused of not doing enough to bring peace between the tribes in Jonglei state.
Peter Chol Wall and Peter Kuol Chol Awan, both from Pigi County in Greater Fangak contested for the post but Wall was chosen in an election of Jonglei MPs.
Following his defeat, Awan defected with George Athor Deng forming the South Sudan Democratic Movement / Army (SSDM/SSDA) to oppose the SPLM government in Juba and Bor. Athor decided to rebel after he lost his bid to become Jonglei Governor to incumbent Kuol Manyang Juuk.
In December 2011 Athor killed in a battle with South Sudan’s army and shortly after Awan rejoined the SPLM.
Some members who boycotted the sitting on Tuesday called upon the SPLM-led government to intervene to settle the chaos in Jonglei’s assembly.
Toung Majok, Barnaba Okuny Gilo and Philip Thon Nyok, believed that the chaotic situation could be solved by central government, calling on Juba to intervene.
But Speaker Chol dismissed the attempt to remove him by the 19 MPs as an “interruption” caused by those who refused to allow him to suspend he predecessor Judi Jonglei Biorisone from the house.
“If they got out and they say it was opposition against the speaker, it is something different but what I know it was an interruption when I sent somebody out from the house, five members, they intervened and they stopped the police not to impose the law”, he said.
Chol believed said “the fight is not about the change of the speaker” but accused the group of members of wanting to be chair state committees.
“My position is just one, which will be occupied by only one person. They want the chairpersons of specialised communities to be changed, but there is no law that can make all of them to be changed at once” he said.
He also dismissed the accusation labeled against him of having refused to review the conduct of business.
“I never refused to review the conduct of business. Now I form the committee for revision of the conduct of business because there are some article[s] that refer to interim constitution”, said Wall.