By Godfrey Olukya 2-1-2014
While appearing on state television last evening, the president of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit has declared a state of emergency in Jonglei and Unity states.
This comes after over two weeks of fighting between government troops and rebel forces commanded by former vice president Riek Machar.
According to the constitution of South Sudan, the President has the authority to declare a state of emergency.
It provides under Article 189 1, for the president to declare the state of emergency in response to imminent danger, including war, invasion, blockade, natural disaster or epidemic, that may threaten the country, its safety or economy.
The constitution requires the declaration of state of emergency to be submitted to the national assembly within fifteen days for endorsement, an emergency session is required if the parliament is on recess.
Under the state of emergency, the president can suspend part of the bill of rights, any organ of government but no infringement on provisions regarding the right to life.
According to the transitional constitution’s provisions, a state of emergency can lapse after thirty days if parliament does not approve by a resolution the extension of its duration.
President Kiir also ordered the formation of a negotiating team to take part in the peace talks in Ethiopia. The government delegation includes key opposition figures, as required in the presidential decree.