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Election Bill: MPs Reject Age limitation in coming elections

The elections bill which was tabled to the National Legislative Assembly last month by the Minister of the Justice has sparks chaos as many Mps who were above the age required by the bill were calling cancelation of age limit in the bill before it will be enacted to an act. The contradiction was brought by the Chairperson of the committee of Legislative and Justice in the second reading of the bill last week. According to the presentation only people below the age of 75 year are allowed to apply for Parliamentarian positions.

An Mps from Juba Constituency Number one Hon. George Bureang has said that limiting age for the Mps will avoid those aged Mps from contesting despite the fact that they have enough to deliver to the Nation. The committee of Legislation and Justice, anybody beyond the age is not qualified for the sit in the National Parliament. The Parliament of today accommodates people with age of over 80s.

The decision of the committee though favors young politicians who may take the chance. Professor Bureang said that limitation of age is not needed at any levels. He said that people should apply regardless of their age. The Mps said only the person must be above the age of 21 years. Meanwhile the Government Chief Wipp Mr. Atem Garang said that people with high age are doing great work for the Nations. He said that leaders like Mugabe of Zimbabwe of Moi Kibaki of Kenya are beyond the limited by the South Sudan Election bill, but they perform better than young leaders, Atem did not talk on the problem Mugabe is facing today.

Atem said that Military officers who want to join politics should resign from their Military position three months ahead of the elections day. He said many Military officers who left work and went for election in 2010 have gone back to their position because there was no follow up. The system also applies to all the people in the civil service and Ministers.

At the other side Hon. Mary Nawala from Western Equatoria state was focusing on representation of women. She said that women should be represented according to Counties not states. She asked that Parliament to learn from Uganda system.

The election bill has also put many things that regulate the conduct of the elections. The Minister of Justice at the first reading of the bill has urged the MPs to review the election bill critically; he said that the general bill was based on the Sudan previous elections. The bill categorized the Parliamentary sits in to three categories, Geographical, Women constituency and part list. The Geographical constitutes sixty percent of the sits, women list constitutes twenty five percent and Party list constitutes fifteen percent. Luk said that the criteria give chance of inclusiveness and that it’s a general principle in the country.

The bill also stated that all post holders contesting must resign from their positions. According to the bill, the President will dissolve the cabinet and may appoint care takers as it was done in the last elections. “Even governors must resign from their position during the campaign to give their opponents room for campaign” Luk reiterated. He said that if those post holders did not resign, then they will use powers and Government properties for their campaign. The review process impressed many MPs.