A section of the South Sudan National Assembly (SSNA) members in session. [Gurtong | File]
By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 16 October 2012 [Gurtong] - The two parliaments; National and the Council of States merged in a one sitting to adopt the agreements including the speech of the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir addressed to the Houses during the opening of the Houses which called for the urgent ratification of the agreements.
The two houses also revoked the parliament decision taken early this year to shutdown the South Sudan oil production after the country accused Khartoum of looting her oil resource.
Despite mass support by the parliamentarians including all the opposition referred to as minority, there had been mixed reactions in the house especially on the placement of mile-14 for demilitarization.
Several parliamentarians who are senior members of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) had expressed reservations and reconsideration of mile-14 during the ratification of the agreement.
However, the legislators ratified the agreements without reconsideration of mile-14.
Two motions emerged after a six-hour debate in the House. One motion proposed adoption of the President’s speech, revocation of the parliament’s resolution of shutting down the country’s oil production early this year and ratification of the agreements.
While a counter motion had proposed passing of the agreements with reservation on mile-14.
The 216 parliamentarians voted for ratification of the agreements without reservation of mile-14 with just 15 members voting for passing of the agreements with reservation.
In his closing remarks, Speaker James Wani Igga called for the parliamentarians and leaders to intensify mobilization of what the agreements are to the public saying that the parliament’s move is the opening of a new era of diplomatic relations with Sudan.
Sudan had earlier on this year declared South Sudan her first enemy following the shutdown of the oil production. The bitter relations between the two nations came to a brink of war.
“What is important is that you have definitely taken a right decision to approve and ratify this cooperation agreement. An am sure we have actually started a new face,” Wani told the legislators while making his final ruling.
“What is important is this cooperation agreement is not well understood outside there. So although you will be pinned down in the house here in passing more bills and other things but please use all ways; the internet, letters and telephones… Because absence of information is a problem by itself or information conveying wrongly is by itself misleading,” he said.
On Monday,protesters marched at the parliament with a petition against the signing of the agreements. The activists gathered at the gate of the SSNA denouncing the four freedoms which compose the citizenship agreement and also placing of Mile-14 in Northern Bahr el Ghazal as a disputed area.