The Central Equatoria State Legislative Assembly, (CESLA) yesterday passed the State constitution into its third reading after weeklong deliberations.
If the constitution was in conformity with the South Sudan Transitional Constitution it would have been passed last Tuesday after it was presented last week in its second reading to the House members.
However, two main items hampered its endorsement that culminated a tense debate in the House; issues on nationality of the candidate to contest as the State Governor and the process of filling the position of a County Commissioner in case a vacancy arose.
Debate emerged as article 94A of the constitution which states that any candidate that will contest as a State Governor will be a South Sudanese by birth. Some MPs opposed the idea while saying that the article will bar many citizens of the State who are born in the Diaspora from participating in the political positions after their return home.
Others argued that this will give an opportunity to South Sudanese who are not indigenous of CES to manipulate the article and participate in the State’s politics.
However, the opposing statements were in contrary to many of the State’s constitutions and the national transitional constitution. Hence the article remained as it was.
Members also debated on the position of a County Commissioner in case a vacancy arose. In the second reading of the constitution, it stated that, the position will be filled in accordance with the Local Government Act 2009 and the Electoral Law. However, this is controversial to the fact that South Sudan still has no electoral laws.
The House Speaker Mr. Naphtali Hassan Gale called the Committee drafting the legislation of the Constitution to be very cautious in inserting and subtracting the deliberations raised by the Legislatures.
“Hon. Members particularly members of the Committee, I want you to take a serious note on what was raised by the Hon. Members, let us sacrifice to do the best and come up with a very good document that our people can be proud of ,” said the Speaker.
The constitution is expected to be passed into its final stage next week Tuesday.