MPs fail to debate report on botched deworming

MPs fail to debate report on botched deworming
South Sudan Parliament building in the capital Juba (photo credit: CGTN)

The national parliament has suspended a debate on the botched deworming that affected learners in Ibba.

The report was presented to the House by Western Equatoria State legislator Dr Gasim Barnaba Kisanga yesterday.

Dr Gasim tabled the report on the incident of deworming tablets for bilharzia which were given to school children in Ibba County of Western Equatoria State last month.

Over 100 children were hospitalised and four others were transferred to Juba after a Praziquantel tablet was administered to them during a mass campaign carried out by the ministry of health and the World Health Organisation. The deworming was in response to controlling an outbreak of bilharzia.

Most of the children affected were aged 5 to 17 years. They were drawn from four different primary schools, such as Ibba Girls Boarding School, St. Peter Primary School, Hope Primary School, and St. Luwang Primary School.

The members of the parliament said the representation by Dr Gasim was lacking proper data about the incident, and they asked him to research the matter to give clear evidence of what exactly and how it happened to open the way for debate.

Procedures

Paul Yoane Bonju, designated chairperson of information in the R-TNLA, told journalists that the procedures used by the lawmaker in raising the motion were incorrect.

However, he did not blame him, adding that some of the new MPs who had been appointed under the terms of the revitalised agreement were not oriented on the conduct of business in the August House.

 “Let me share with you that Dr Gasim Barnaba Kisanga is a new member of the R-TNLA. I am not trying to say he has never been in parliament [because] he was a minister and he might have been a member of parliament, but things are changing.

“I believe that he has stayed for decades without making such a presentation, and that is why the motion was turned down. He has been requested to go and do more research and collect more data,” Bonju explained.

According to Bonju, the report was supposed to pass through the assembly business committee before being presented to the members for debate.

He attributed the mistake to the absence of the specialised committees and the lack of orientation of the new members on the procedures of the parliament.

 “After writing he decided to present it to the clerk without going to the legal advisor, and, of course, the clerk might have presented it to the leadership, and the leaders are busy, they don’t have time to read and go deep into the debrief of the matter. That is why it went back. I believe in the subsequent motions, he will not experience what he experienced today.”

Bonju stated that each new member of the assembly was supposed to undergo the induction process of the house so that he or she could perform correctly.

He stated that plans are in the works to ensure that new members are well-versed in parliamentary procedures in order to reduce mistakes.

A member of parliament is entrusted with writing motions about issues affecting their community, and they go through numerous procedures before they are presented to MPs for debate.

Bonju explained that an MP is expected to present the motion to the legal advisor to check that the legal aspect of the motion is quoted according to the Conduct of Business of the Assembly.

He said before writing the motion, it should be seconded by at least five members or more, then taken to the clerk who will table it to the assembly business committee. This committee includes the speaker, the deputy speakers, and the legal advisor.

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