Juba – The National Legislative Assembly will discuss the controversial national security bill which was returned to the house by the president, who declined to sign the bill.

The president’s move follows concerns raised by local and international rights groups, Western countries, opposition political parties and members of his own ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party.

Those who had walked out when the bill was being endorsed said they were not allowed time to debate and criticized powers given to national security to arrest and detain people.

The minority chief whip Andrew Okony said they are happy now that the bill has been returned for proper debate as they had demanded.

“This is an important bill which needs to be debated and all concerns of the legislators are incorporated,”

The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), a civil society in South Sudan hailed President Salva Kiir for returning the national security bill for more deliberation by the national parliament today, dated 19.12,2014.

CEPO executive coordinator Edmund Yakani in a statement said the decision of returning the national security service bill to the parliament demonstrates the president’s response to the public outcry on the controversial provisions of the bill.

Yakani said CEPO is urging the national parliamentarians to sincerely deliberate on the national security bill with the interest of respecting and honoring the transitional constitution provisions in article 159, in which is defined the mandate of South Sudan’s national security duties, functions and responsibilities.

According to CEPO, the nation needs legislation on national security services but the legislation should embrace democratic principles including respect and fulfillment of human rights as stipulated in the transitional constitution part two, “Bill of Rights.”

He said CEPO will be keenly observing the national parliament on their deliberation on the national security bill improvement.

The executive coordinator pointed that when the parliament endorsed the bill last time, the quorum was not enough and they as MPs were not given time to study the bill.

By Moi Julius

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