South Sudan’s defence minister, Angelina Teny, has declined to appear before the country’s Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA).
This comes two days after the parliament summoned her for allegedly not deploying members of the country’s armed forces in the country’s borders as fears grow that COVID-19 patients may be sneaking in.
On April 14, first deputy speaker of parliament Timothy Tot Chol wrote in a letter addressed to the defence minister last week that a “huge number of people are still crossing into South Sudan causing high risk to lives of people.”
The letter said “Although our borders are porous there should be contingents of our National Army posted at the borders. Therefore, in light of the above, the TNLTF summons you to appear before the committee on Monday 20tb April 2020, at 11: 00 AM in the Premises of Transitional National Assembly.”
In response, Teny said she would not attend to the parliament because its mandate ended with the incorporation of the revitalized peace agreement to the constitution and end of the pre-transitional period.
“Reference to your letter dated 14th April 2020, summoning me to appear before the IG-Transitional National Legislature Taskforce for COVID-19. In light of this summon request, I hereby, decline to appear before this committee,” Teny wrote in a letter dated April 16.
Among the reasons Teny mentioned for the refusal is the supposed establishment of the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) as provided for in the revitalized peace agreement.
She said the current parliament “as per Article (1.4.4) of the revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) is supposed to be replaced by the reconstituted TNLA by the end of the pre-transitional period.”
“The last function of the IG-TNLA is the ratification of the constitution amendment bill,” Angelina wrote adding that the mandate of the current parliament “has no mandate to extend its life.”
The revitalized peace agreement, Teny said, is, according to chapter VIII Article (8.1), “supreme to the constitution and any other legislation that is not in compliance with the agreement.”
She said she will not appear before the parliament until the R-TNLA is in place adding “I am ready and willing to appear before the reconstituted TNLA.”
“Given the above-mentioned reasons, I cannot appear before the IG-TNLA until a reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly is formed,” she said.