Jonglei state lawmakers want to amend the state’s constitution to extend their terms in office, and the mandate of the state’s caretaker governor, John Kong Nyuon.
The lawmakers are seeking the changes a few weeks after South Sudanese President Salva Kiir signed into law a bill that extends his term and those of other elected national officials by three years.
Nyuon was appointed caretaker governor of Jonglei state by President Kiir in August 2013, to replace the state's elected governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk, who is now defense minister.
Caretaker governors are only supposed to remain in office for two months before elections are held.
But Jonglei state information minister, Jude Jonglei Boyoris, said the fact that the current governor of the state is in a caretaker role has no impact on the lawmakers’ move to extend his term in office.
A debate over extended terms
“We are extending the position of the office of the governor, not personalities,” he said.
Jonglei state assembly speaker Peter Deng Aguer said the caretaker governor is soon expected to introduce an amendment to the state constitution that would extend his term and those of Jonglei state lawmakers'.
The National Assembly voted last month to extend the terms of all elected officials by three years, to July 2018. Jonglei's information minister said state lawmakers want to extend the terms of lawmakers and the caretaker governor to July 8, 2016. State assembly speaker Aguer dismissed suggestions that Jonglei lawmakers are mimicking national officials as they vote to extend their terms.
To become law, the amendment must be supported by two-thirds of Jonglei's parliament. Aguer is confident the bill will be approved and the governor will sign it into law.