Traditional Authority Attains Power

The Eastern Equatoria State Legislative Assembly (EESLA) has finally passed the Council of Traditional Authority Leaders (COTAL) Bill into law.

Traditional Authority Attains Power
Front view of the EESLA's Headquaters in Torit, Eastern Equatoria state [© Gurtong]

By Peter Lokale Nakimangole

TORIT, 9 August 2011 (Gurtong) – The Bill was passed in its third reading on 1 August by 33 state lawmakers in the state capital Torit.

The move followed an earlier presentation by the State Minister of Local Government Nartisio Loluke Manir on 4 July 2011.

Speaking to the press shortly after the passing of the Bill, Manir who doubles as the State Deputy State Governor revealed that the Bill underwent comprehensive scrutiny, including its presentation to the Assembly’s Legal and Legislation Affairs Committee for assessment and necessary amendments for its relevance.

He said the amendments were done in accordance with article 80 {1} of the Interim Constitution of Eastern Equatoria State.

“The Bill will become the Council of Traditional Authority Leaders Law once it is signed by the State Governor. The COTAL’s prime responsibility will be to uphold and promote peace, resolve and prevent conflicts as well as preserve cultural heritage, customs and values”, said Manir.

He at the same time said that COTAL will be utilised as a consultative interface between traditional communities and emerging modern state structures in the wake of the new Republic of South Sudan.

The EESLA Speaker Emmanuel Ambrose Ocholimoi commended the Local Government Minister Manir for his efforts in ensuring the Bill was passed into law.

He said the ten-chapter law will provide for the creation of the Council of Traditional Authority and will possess provisions for the selection of representatives from across the ethnic divide.

Originally, the Bill was drafted in accordance with article 175 {1} of the Interim constitution of Southern Sudan 2005 and with section 119 {1} (b) of the Local Government Act 2009.

The COTAL members, according to the Bill, shall be elected or selected by the community taking into account norms and values of each ethnic group like succession. The conduct of elections shall be supervised by an electoral committee drawing one representative from Legal Administration, Finance Ministry, Public Security, Local Government Ministry and the Ministry of Social Development. The chairperson shall come from Legal Administration.

Tenure of office

The term of office for members of the Council, as provided by the Bill, shall be four years effected from a date of taking oath of office by the members witnessed by the state Governor. Upon their election, the Council shall during their first session, elect a chairperson with his deputy to preside over meetings for a term to be decided by the Council. Similarly, the Council may regulate election and removal of chairperson and vice chairperson.

However, in the event of any vacancy arising in the office of the chairperson, the vice by the virtue, fills the position until the council elects a new chair in a period not exceeding thirty days.

Council Secretariat

The secretariat shall consist of chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary and treasurer.


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