The International Republican Institute (IRI) hosted the Honorable Jimmy Wongo, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) for two-days of meetings with members of congress, the administration, and representatives of the think tanks and nongovernmental organizations.  

During the trip, Dr. Wongo, who is a member of the Union of Sudan African Parties-1 representing Central Equatoria, spoke at an IRI-sponsored roundtable.  The discussion focused on the future of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the role of the SSLA in governing the country.  Wongo suggested the future of the peace agreement depends on two major events:  first, the population census, which will provide the basis for determining the constituency and voter registration as well as adjusting the power sharing in Sudan; and second, the success of the upcoming elections, which also has the potential to reshape the distribution of political power at all levels of government.  Wongo stressed that failure of these two critical components of the peace agreement would disastrous for Sudan.  

In addition, IRI facilitated meetings for Wongo with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) and Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO).  Wongo discussed with these and other lawmakers legislation that will enable U.S. businesses to more easily invest in Southern Sudan, a necessary component of the south’s development.

Wongo also met with representatives of the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of State, the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Research Service.  He spoke with staff of the Congressional Research Service about the challenges currently facing the Public Accounts Committee, including a lack of capacity, a lack of trained support staff, and the lack of sufficient space and equipment to meet the committee’s needs.

“Members of the Public Accounts Committee really need an expert, who will provide them with the necessary training tools to effectively do their job” Wongo stated.

Wongo discussed IRI’s Sudan programming and the role of the SSLA in governing Southern Sudan with Lorne Craner, President of IRI, and Stephanie Blanton, IRI’s Regional Director for Africa.  Through its program to help strengthen the Southern Sudanese legislature, IRI is working with the Public Accounts Committee, as well as other committees in the SSLA, to increase its ability and capacity to govern effectively.

The SSLA is the legislative body of the government of Southern Sudan, and its Public Accounts Committee oversees and approves governmental spending.

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