The Stages through which the Constitution-making Process has to pass through it becomes the Permanent Constitution in South Sudan

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The Stages through which the Constitution-making Process has to pass through it becomes the Permanent Constitution in South Sudan

 

By Moulana Daniel Juol

 

Since the opening of the Official workshop on May 25, 2021, several members of the Public have expressed doubts over the credibility of the process. Their doubts are over whether the Permanent Constitution-making Process, which is being reported to have begun can reflect the views of the citizens. Whether it can be people centred.

This article is therefore intended to explain to the general public stages through which the Permanent Constitution-making Process must pass through before it is adopted by the Constituent Assembly and then becomes a Permanent Constitution of South Sudan. The Stages are as explained below:

1. The Nomination by the Parties to the Revitalized Government of National Unity (R-TGONU) under the Revitalized Agreement (R-ARCSS).

At this Stage, the Parties to the R-ARCSS and other Stakeholders Nominated their representatives to discuss about the enactment of the Legislation Governing the Constitution-making Process during the workshop.

The Workshop shall provide the basis of the Legislation Governing the Constitution-making Process (Articles 6.7, 6.8 and 6.9 of the R-ARCSS).

The resolutions from the workshop shall be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice . The Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs will draft the Bill to be passed into the Permanent Constitution-making Process Act.

At this stage, there is no public participation as the nominees from the Parties to the R-TGONU and Stakesholders plus the observers from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs would have attended the workshop. This takes me to the Second stage.

2. The second stage is the enactment of the Legislation/Act of Parliament Governing the Constitution-making Process by the Parliament (R-TNLA). Through the Legislation, the bodies to conduct the Constitution-making Process will be provided and defined.

Their duties and stages at which each body will undertake, the responsibility will be discussed. In summary, the Revitalized Agreement provides three bodies namely: (1) The Reconstituted National Constitution Review Commission (R-NCRC) and Preparatory Sub-committee; (2) the National Constitutional Conference (NCC); and the Constituent Assembly (CA) (Articles 6.,6 and 6.11 of the R-ARCSS).

After the enactment of the Legislation Governing the Constitution-making Process as provided for in the Revitalized Agreement, the next stage is the R-NCRC.

3. Reconstruction of the National Constitutional Review Commission R-NCRC. This body is a small body. It is made up of at least 50 members mostly are experts.

The roles of the R-NCRC are many including soliciting views from the general public and after they have conducted wide public consultations covering all areas of the country and almost all citizens of different categories based on regional balance, gender equality and National diversity, then the experts will analyze the answers and views from the general public and then turn them into the Draft of the Permanent Constitution.

The body to work draft the Constitutional Text was agreed during the workshop. Such a body embodies the Constitutional drafting experts and the Customary law experts from South Sudan who will be assisted by the regional and international experts.

The role of international experts will be limited to only giving expertise views without greater involvement. This is because the Revitalized Agreement requires the process to be owned by Citizens of South Sudan. (Article 6.13 ox the R-ARCSS).

After this stage when the Public Consultations are comprehensively and adequately done and the Draft of the Permanent Constitution is ready. The next stage will be the NCC Stage.

4. The stage of National Constitution Conference (NCC). At this Stage a conference will be held. The conference will be attended by over thousand of the citizens invited from different parts of the Country.

The Conference has to be representative of different views and needs in the country. During the conference, the Draft of the Permanent Constitution will be discussed in details. The amendment either substraction or addition of the views left our will be made here.

The conference will be made up of different categories of people will varying Interests and needs. All isssues of concerns affecting us today will be discussed during the National Constitutional Conference. After that they adopt the Draft of the Permanent Constitutional text, which will be ready to be presented to the R-TNLA at stage 6.

5. At stage five, the adopted text of draft Constitution shall be presented to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to carry it to the Parliament or R-TNLA. Thus, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs is only required to carry the Draft of the Permanent Constitution as it was adopted at the Stage of the NCC without interfering with it and present it to the R-TNLA.

6. At this stage six, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs presents the Draft of the Permanent Constitution to the R-TNLA for further deliberation and adoption.

Upon the presentation of the Draft Text of the Permanent Constitution, the R-TNLA will immediately transform itself into the Constituent Assembly (CA).

The debate is on here whether the Constituent Assembly ( CA) can again debate and make some changes to the text of the Draft of the Permanent Constitution adopted by the NCC or not.

In my opinion, they should not interfere with the Draft Text of Permanent Constitution adopted by the NCC but they should only adopt the same just for legally formality.

After the Constituent Assembly ( CA) adopted the Draft of Permanent Constitution then at that point it becomes the Permanent Constitution which will wait for the day to enter into force. The President will not have the powers to reject any of its provisions like any other ordinary law.

The Process is to take 24 months according to the Revitalized Agreement.

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One thought on “The Stages through which the Constitution-making Process has to pass through it becomes the Permanent Constitution in South Sudan

  1. I am more delighted to have a read. The constitution making process should be a people driven process. The participatory nature of the constitution must be reflected in each stage.

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