Kiir says permanent constitution should reflect citizens’ aspirations 

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Kiir says permanent constitution should reflect citizens’ aspirations

President Salva Kiir on Tuesday said that the permanent constitution of South Sudan should reflect the aspirations of the people of freedom, equality, justice and prosperity for all.

The president was speaking while opening the permanent constitution-making process workshop convened by the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) in Juba and attended by Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok.

The permanent constitution-making process is part of the revitalized peace deal signed in September 2018.

South Sudan has been governed by transitional constitutions during the years of civil war that followed independence in July 2011.

“Throughout the long struggle of our people for freedom and independence, we fought as South Sudanese, not as tribes, regions, Muslims or Christians. South Sudan nationalism must be supreme and cardinal in the permanent constitution of South Sudan,” President Kiir said. “Since this workshop is to develop a road map for the first permanent constitution of the independent constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, it is absolutely critical that it reflects the aspirations of our people for freedom, equality, justice and prosperity for all.”

He said those who have been chosen to represent the people must focus and shape the permanent constitution-making process because they know the history of the people of South Sudan, their struggle and the kind of country they aspire to have.

“The resolutions and recommendations of the national dialogue, the current transitional constitution (2011 as amended) and the revitalized peace agreement should provide a basis for the drafting of the permanent constitution of the Republic of South Sudan,” According to Kiir. “The information in those documents can only be of help to our people if this workshop selects the correct form of active participation through the right institution to conduct the process and determine appropriate faces for public participation in the constitutional making process. We want this to be a people-driven process.”

The South Sudanese leader also vowed never to take the country back to war.

For his part, Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, advised that the South Sudan constitutional making process be a people-driven and consultative process.

“Allow me to share with you five major remarks on the issue of constitutional building. First, I think in today’s world you can go to the internet and download all the best constitutions in the world. The question remains, best for who and why and why?” Prime Minister Hamdok advised. “Second, the context in the sense that the constitution needs to address issues of history, culture, ownership. And third and most important, it has to address the aspirations of the people of South Sudan. Addressing issues of unity, development and building a modern state that all the people will be proud of.”

He counselled, “Forth, the process itself matters. You need to embark on a wide range of consultation all over the country taking on board the views of everybody. Finally, the constitution, the legal structure and framework that will form a link to the constitution should help in addressing issues of diversity. Issues like election law and how it will be representative.”

The Sudanese leader said the commitment of never going back to war is “what we would like to hear and see”.

Kornelio Kon Ngu, the leader of the national alliance of political parties, told Radio Tamazuj earlier this afternoon that the permanent constitution should be pro-people and not enshrine a lot of power into one individual or party.

“The amendment they want to make to the constitution should be for the people and not to benefit one person. The constitution should be for the people of South Sudan and not for one party,” Kon said. “We need a leadership of the people and not that of decrees. The leadership, in the new constitution, should be democratic and representative of the voices of the people.”

He said, as opposition, they hope to participate in the framing of the permanent constitution.

“We hope to participate in the making of the permanent constitution this time and we want it to be pro people and not to give absolute powers to the president. The permanent constitution should be reflective of the will of the people and include all human rights,” Kon said.

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