Home | News    Tuesday 26 April 2011

Constitutional review: S. Sudan civil society activists decry lack of participation


By Julius N. Uma

April 24, 2011 (JUBA) - Coalitions of civil society organisations, gathered at a two-day pre-convention, openly decried the government’s failure to include their views in South Sudan’s interim constitution, now in its draft stage.

Coalition of civil society members attending the pre-convention workshop organized by Justice Africa in Juba, April 19, 2011 (ST)

In January, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, issued a decree, appointing a technical committee to help review the 2005 interim constitution ahead of the July independence declaration. The committee consisted of representatives from the south-ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the opposition, civil society and religious leaders.

A month later, however, about nine members from the opposition boycotted the committee’s work, accusing their counterparts from SPLM of violating procedures agreed upon by the technical committee.

This was closely followed by a civil society petition addressed to the South Sudan president and copied to John Luk Jok, the technical committee’s chairperson and the current minister for legal and constitutional development in the southern government.

In the petition, also seen by Sudan Tribune, civil society activist accused the committee of failure to consult them in appointing one Angelo Berda, the civil society representative on the technical committee.

“We the civil society would like to petition the technical committee currently reviewing South Sudan’s interim constitution. We feel the member appointed to represent us does not represent the civil society fraternity,” partly reads the petition.

Already, civil society entities have planned a national convention with the aim of mapping out strategies to define their role and mandates in society ahead of the southern independence in July.

The convention will be organised by Justice Africa, in partnership with the Southern Sudan Civil Society Referendum Taskforce (SSRTF). Justice Africa is London-based advocacy organization and research institute founded in 1999 to campaign for human rights and social justice across Africa.


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  • 26 April 2011 07:36, by harry

    In a society where illiteracy is rampant, ignorance is essential and intentional, tribalism is practice by an educated elites, and corruption is norm of the government, who cares about consulting the civil societies and activists regarding the constitution!

    The government does not care whether you exist or not. What they care for is their extended families overseas in America, Australia, and United Kingdom.

    They don’t care about you and about how you feel. They only care about taking the money away from you and stashed it in their dollarization accounts abroad.


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  • 26 April 2011 08:28, by Jada Lotole

    How I wish GoSS could think this way ! That , " The Civil Society is like Water and the Government is is like Fish "
    GoSS, Imagine a fish out of water !!!!! how long will such a fish keep its breath ? Imagine that this water also gets hotter ! Will this fish realy survive ?
    Why on earth must such a sociey that plays a pivotal role in ensuring the accountability of the govenrment activities be misrepresented by sycophants ? GoSS has lost the right track! SPLM is the only political party in the whole Universe that doesnt trust its self and doesnt trust other potical parties too ! what a party ! Pitty !!!!!!!!!

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  • 26 April 2011 14:35, by Paul Ongee

    Harry, Jada Lotole and the likes,

    If you don’t know how to make constructive criticism, read the reviewed constitution first. Does it meet the current aspiration of Southerners or does it guarantee the right of every Southern Sudanese or not? Will it not need amendments in the future as time goes by?

    Of course, some clauses need to be critically amended because we’re approaching the end of interim period. Every opposition party nominated its representative on the committee of the constitutional review but it appeared that they came with a different agenda and decided to pull out.

    In this case, do you expect SPLM, the ruling party to beg them for presence as if they know more about writing or amending the constitution than SPLM? We don’t have time to dwell on one thing. So long as southern Sudan and its political parties exist; the constitution is subject to change or amendment over time.

    Even the US Constitution was written by ten people only but reviewed by thirteen representatives from the colonies. The head of the committee was Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania. However, the person most associated with authoring the US Constitution was James Madison, the fourth President of the United States. Can you imagine how the fourth President of the United States became known as “The Father of the Constitution”? He wrote the constitution in 1787 and later passed in 1788. We don’t just need to complain but do something to frame South Sudan constitutionally.

    Paul Ongee
    Khartoum Watch

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    • 26 April 2011 16:19, by Fearless man

      Thank you brother puol You know more about politics,
      thank you once more.

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    • 26 April 2011 20:42, by harry


      Are you suggesting SPLM is the only body that can write and review the South Sudan Constitution without inviting other bodies such as civil societies to take part? If you think like that, then this is why South Sudan is in turmoil!

      FYI, these civil societies worked hard to convince most Southerners to vote for separation and this is the fact. No body can deny that.

      You may deny that because you actually live in Khartoum; but if you were living in the south, then your perspectives would be much different from your blind interjected assumption without considering the whole situation of Southernese constitutionally.

      Re-read the article AGAIN! It have nothing to do with southern political parties Mr. Paul, its all about the civil societies rights of consultation only. If you don’t consult civil societies regarding the constitution, who will you consult then?


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    • 27 April 2011 08:15, by Deng E. Manyuon

      Paul Ongee,

      You hit the nail on the neck! I do believe that with the time goes by, our constitution is likely to be amended. some articles may be irrelevant at the end of the 21st century. What is a big deal?

      Though I don’t dispute those who are criticizing the draft consitution, the Technical Committee has done a lot. They deserve a round of applaud. They have set a concrete corner stone and laid down foundation for a generation to come.


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  • 26 April 2011 22:25, by Garang

    I think this article has appeared here wrongly ! It no longer holds water.The amended constitution is currently before the President awaiting his meeting with Southern Sudan Political Parties Leadreships.

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  • 27 April 2011 00:03, by emadven

    SPLM and their jungle rules. they can’t seem to do anything democratically

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