April 25, 2013 (JUBA) – The US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) has carried out a survey among the citizens on the ongoing constitutional making process in the country.
According to the survey, the people of South Sudan want the freedoms of movement and expression to be clearly stipulated in the permanent constitution as priority rights in the supreme law of the land.
The Resident Country Director of the American international organization, Kury Cobham, together with the NDI Senior Advisor, Traci Cook, on Wednesday briefed the vice-president of the Republic, Riek Machar Teny, on their findings from more than six hundred interviews they had conducted with the people across the country.
In a statement after the briefing, NDI’s Senior Advisor, Traci Cook, told the press that their survey was conducted in various towns and villages in the ten states in the last few months, targeting different ethnicities, genders, ages and education levels.
The survey as Cook elaborately explained included issues of democracy, justice, ownership of property and term limits for the executive constitutional post-holders, among many others.
She said the people in all the ten states have strongly expressed the need to contribute and accommodate their views in the constitutional making process, with the majority of them giving most of their concerns to the need for freedoms of movement, freedom of expression and access to education in addition to term limit for the president.
The survey also revealed that the citizens were against the appointment of any member of parliament whether at the state or national level, saying they should all be electable by the people to whom they will be answerable in their respective constituencies.
The same issue also applies to governor and county commissioner who should also be elected and not appointed, she explained.
Majority of citizens also want multiparty democracy in South Sudan and detest dictatorship or one-party system.
When asked about their opinion on presidential contests between various politicians in the country, there was a consensus among the interviewees that as long as it was constitutional right for every citizen to contest for the presidency, it was therefore a normal democratic exercise that should be respected and allowed to happen.
The survey also expressed the importance of respecting and developing traditional authority at local levels in the country.
There was also rejection of the increasing size of dowry for marriage, asking for constitutional provision that should guide payment of dowry for the respective ethnicities in the country.
The surveys also revealed that majority of the people are against girl-child early marriage and would prefer the age of 18 years and above as appropriate for marriage.
The survey also revealed that majority of the citizens want the permanent constitution to recognize Abyei region as part of South Sudan.