Political society

Civil society groups call for an inclusive constitution-making process in South Sudan

8th July, 2022 (WAU) – Honest, transparent and inclusive debate is essential for a lasting permanent constitution in South Sudan, stakeholders have resolved.

The resolution was part of a training on the inclusive process of developing a permanent constitution for civil society organizations held in Wau on Wednesday.

The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan provides for the drafting of a permanent constitution to usher in a new political order for the country. This process began in 2012 with the appointment of a National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) as the drafting body.

Opening the workshop, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Anthony Ngberende said the constitution is the highest law in the land.

“A people-centred constitution-making process is one in which people are allowed to speak, but also a process in which an enabling environment is created for everyone to voice their opinions and aspirations regarding the kind of constitution we want,” Ngberende said, speaking on behalf of the governor.

He added, “It means that every citizen of South Sudan has the right to express their opinion without any segregation because the constitution is for the people.”

The minister commended the organizers of the inclusive training of trainers workshop, urging participants to exercise their right to freedom of expression.

Moses Gizam, executive director of Humanity and Community Empowerment Organization (HCEO), said public awareness campaigns are key to driving an inclusive process of developing a permanent constitution.

“The most profound component of the Peace Agreement for All South Sudanese is Chapter VI which provides for an ongoing inclusive constitution-making process. It is high time we sensitized our people to actively participate once the reconstituted National Constitutional Review Commission (R-NCRC) begins the consultation process,” Gizam said.

“Local civil society organizations are powerful tools for public mobilization and civic education. The HCEO felt compelled to empower them to educate people to actively participate in all stages of the constitution-making process,” he stressed.

Stephen Robo, Coordinator of the Community Empowerment Organization for Progress (CEPO), acknowledged the role of civil society actors in ensuring that the country’s constitution-making process is people-centred.

“The constitution-making process provides an opportunity to shape the kind of South Sudan we want and the kind of governance we want to have,” he said.

For his part, Paulino Aguer, a representative of civil society organizations, said a permanent constitution would act as the supreme law of the land.

The dialogue also urged the citizens of South Sudan to leave their differences behind, to rally globally for full implementation, full participation and inclusion in a transparent constitution-making process. and to return the country to the people through free and fair democratic elections.

The multi-stakeholder dialogue, organized by HCEO on the theme “Advancing the people-centered constitution-making process in South Sudan”, attracted chiefs, women, youth and religious leaders, among others.

A decade after gaining independence in July 2011, South Sudan has implemented a ceasefire and peace agreement and is now beginning the journey towards a new constitution that will ultimately pave the way for free and fair elections.

The stakes are high for the political parties and people of South Sudan as they embark on the process of crafting a new constitution that will offer Africa’s youngest nation the opportunity to finally determine its own future.

(ST)