OPP Members of Parliament finally sworn-in

OPP Members of Parliament finally sworn-in
OPP’s Peter Mayen (photo credit: File)

The 28 Members of Parliament from the Other Political Parties (OPP) were finally sworn into the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly yesterday (R-TNLA).

The legislators took the oath of office in a ceremony witnessed by the speaker of the parliament Jemma Nunu Kumba.

Speaking to the press after the parliamentary session, the ‘ousted’ leader of the OPP Peter Mayen Majongdit said the swearing-in of the OPP members now gives them the much-needed legitimacy to fully participate in the business of the parliament.

“It is a big milestone that at the end we have an inclusive parliament that will be able to push acts and today they have participated on the passing of the conduct of business we call it a great milestone,” Mayen said.

Previously, Mayen had been accused by the OPP members of manipulating any decisions taken within the coalition as well as within his party, the People’s Liberal Party.

He said he accepted the revoke of the first list of the OPP members by the president to enable the individual parties to nominate their members.

“Yes, the accusations were [there] and that is why we accepted to revoke [the appointments] and now we were reappointed.

“I do believe if there is any complaint then it will not be to my side. We know these 30 seats cannot [be enough for] everybody and people will always complain. There is nothing I can do more than revoking the first list then doing the attachment through the nomination by the parties,” Mayen said.

Defends self

Mayen sought to absolve himself of any potential blame from quarters within the party, especially from potential nominees who failed to be picked to the house.

“If any member of the OPP did not make, it is not from me it is from the individual parties they are in so, for me as the head of the coalition I do collect the nominations from the various parties [and] files them to the appointment authority,” he explained.

In July, President Kiir revoked the names of 28 candidates nominated by Peter Mayen from a list of the members of parliament after the OPP members expressed concerns over the nomination process.

In an attempt to resolve the stalemate, the R-JMEC convened a meeting with the OPP members where Mr. Mayen rejected a proposal by R-JMEC that recommended that he should nominate seven members, while the alliance partners were to nominate five members each from the party and the individual parties were to nominate three members per party to bring the total number of members from both coalition and individual parties to 23.

Mayen said the allocation of the members was unfair to his party and that RJMEC had no right to decide on the issues pertaining to the internal party wrangles.

However, on August 09, the National Pre-Transitional Committee—a body tasked with the implementation of the agreement led by Tut Gatluak—convened an emergency meeting to resolve the stalled nomination process. But the meeting ended without any resolution.

Push and pull

The spokesperson of OPP Albino Akol accused Mayen’s group of gunning of a giant share by nominating 22 of its members out of the 30 slots meant for the entire OPP, leaving the other eight seats for the other partners to share. But this did not augur well with the other parties in the umbrella.

Mr. Akol stressed the two groups in OPP agreed to equally share the 30 seats in R-TNLA and 8 seats in the Council of States.

This prompted President Salva Kiir to hold a meeting with OPP members on September 18, 2021, where the members finally agreed to nominate their representative after a thorough discussion in a meeting with the President.