A Constitution for all people: SSND and R-ACRSS implementation
By Merio Jimmy, Juba
Observing social media trends following the recent publicising of police brutality in Bortown, one can see the complex underlying challenges facing South Sudan’s youth. If the SPLM’s Youth Agenda were different to that of ordinary party members, contradictory to the SPLM’s Guiding Values and Principles, it cannot be described as a sign of strength. For reference, these values and principles explicitly mandated under articles 5 and 6 of the 2008 SPLM Constitution, amended in 2016. These supposedly coincide with the rights and duty of members set out in articles 8 and 9.
An SPLM cadre, or group of cadres, forming a league or a caucus would steer the values, attitude and behaviour within the SPLM more widely. In turn, this would shift values across the sociopolitical and socioeconomic spheres to create a form of unity in diversity, centred around a priority agenda.
As South Sudanese citizens, we are faced with a nation born out of physical liberation and struggle in the 2010 elections and 2011 referendum. Youth leadership must now explore the opportunities presented by the SSND resolutions and R-ACRSS chapters. In particular, the general Public Policy Making Process (PPMP) is important to consider. This would see the SSND’s resolutions and R-ACRSS’s chapters translated into legal, institutional and organisation policies. Through such a coherent national state framework could be established in the context of South Sudan.
Historically, ideas of a Federation have been popular. Article 33 of the TCRSS and some provisions of chapter 6 of R-ACRSS explicitly mandates an ethnofederal system of governance.
The foundation of R-ACRSS is effectively power sharing, ensuring wide ownership and interactive social participation. In practice, it is important this power sharing is not limited to elites and political and military oligarchs. All communities must be incorporated into governance and brought into R-ACRSS implementation. This must manifest itself at national, state, local and community levels. Articles 36(4), 166 and (6)(c) of the TCRSS explicitly mandate dialogue to ensure each and all institutional levels are reflective of South Sudan’s sociocultural diversities. Hence, we need additional affirmative action for the sake of cultural inclusivity. This is supported by articles 167 &168(1)&(2), which guide the roles and duties of our traditional authority leaders and community systems of governance.
It is undoubtedly complex. The electoral system must be devised to accommodate this cultural affirmative action and that mandated at the Council of Traditional Authority Leaders (COTAL). In turn, such can come to form the third and second chambers as tricameral and bicameral legislature in national and states legislature, respectively.
Hence, it is advisable that the SPLM youth agenda is orientated to focus on SSND and R-ACRSS implementation as a priority.
I must confess that I respect whatever is presented by my resourceful comrades. Whilst I wish to include myself, I humbly appeal to both the youth and political organisations to translate SSND and R-ACRSS into policies of freedom, peace and justice for South Sudan. The youth must organise themselves around civic movements, categorised according to the resolutions and chapters of SSND and R-ACRSS in policy creation.
It is futile to lead this process with no space for civic movements and leadership. So far it is only the R-ACRSS chapter on job allocation that seems to gaining momentum. Neglecting other chapters and resolutions will likely lead us— God forbid —to no satisfactory implementation by 2023. If this occurs, we should not be surprised if unrest and instabilities erupt again. This would be a severe point of no return for South Sudan. However, if luck and wisdom prevail, we may bounce back to have another R to have R-R-ACRSS.
The youth must not allow this pessimism to become a reality. The SPLM youth must rise to a level of responsibility.
I am available through ongoing presentations on Saturdays and Sundays, but would be available during week days to help any or all SPLM-led civic movements engaging in PPMP.