Kumba promises speedy renovation of parliamentary building

Kumba promises speedy renovation of parliamentary building
Speaker of Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) Jemma Nunu Kumba (photo credit: Sheila Ponnie/City Review)

JUBA – The speaker of the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) Jemma Nunu Kumba has promised to speed up the renovation of the parliamentary building.

It has been three years since the renovation of the parliamentary building started and the work is still far from completion.

Currently, lawmakers are conducting their business from Freedom Hall, a private facility owned by a business firm.

“Together with the responsible institutions in the executive arm of the government, we will exert all efforts to address those problems as soon as possible,” the speaker said.

“We will also look into the possibility of providing office spaces to accommodate all the honorable members of parliament as well as other services needed to create the right atmosphere for our activities,” Kumba told the lawmakers during the grand opening of the parliamentary session earlier this week.

As part of the 2018 peace deal signed between President Salva Kiir, SPLM/A-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar and other opposition parties, the assembly was reconstituted and the membership raised from 400 to 550 to accommodate all the signatories.

The speaker said the assembly leadership would consider the responsibility of constructing a new large parliament building to accommodate the big number of the Members of Parliament who constitute the national legislature.

Ms. Kumba was speaking during the first joint session of the transitional national legislative assembly on Monday, August 31, in Juba.

Salary issues

She said her office had come up with plans to solve the issues to do with remuneration so that processes are formalized.

“In that respect, we will work in consultation with the president’s office and other institutions to find some appropriate solutions to them,” she said.

“Given the rapidly changing circumstances in the modern world, Members of Parliament need to be in the mood of continued learning accordingly,” she said.

Kumba, the only female speaker South Sudan has ever had, also said a training program will be developed to benefit the MPs, especially the new ones in the areas such as parliamentary procedures, diplomacy, and international relations.

She said the training will be conducted in partnership with qualified and relevant institutions of governance within the region.

Just like other countries, South Sudan is currently facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To this, Kumba revealed that the parliament is prepared to lead the nation by example in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will adopt and adhere to all measures such as [observing] social distancing measures like the use of masks and frequent hand washing which are advocated by the medical and scientific fraternity; and the national task force,” she said.