By Ariik Atekdit, Juba, South Sudan
January 9, 2017 (SSB) — The crisis in South Sudan is not a question based on ideological conflict. Every faction whether being rebels of Dr Riek Machar or Dr Lam Akol wants the country to be ruled the way it is portrayed in the SPLM Manifestation. Kiir Mayardit in Juba and Pagan Amum in exile equally believe that there is nothing new to be added to the Garang’s proposed system of the SPLM government.
No single man among the rivals has come out with any different ideology to pull rope with against the standing one. And if there is no any different ideology that is conflicting in Juba administration, then what is the problem? We just need to sit down and set a constitution that will guide the principle and ideology of the 21 years of struggle.
To my simple understanding, the political agitation of South Sudan demands a constitutional solution. The ruling elements might be hesitating that if any permanent constitution with any national concrete principles is put in place then the constitution will definitely not forgive their wrongdoings and set them for political eviction but that is the only solution to our national conflicts and South Sudanese must demand it now and not later.
When we fought against the previous regimes of the Old Sudan, we were fighting against the wrong national principles, the imposed law-books and procedures of administration and governance. In short we were fighting Arabs not because they were Arabs in top positions but the war was projected in creating a constitution that can suit the interest and desire of all Sudanese people, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity or status; more specifically it was intended to map up a New Sudan of secular system of government.
The current war is being conducted because of tribal opposition or individual opposition but not ideological. However, this is not the South Sudan we wanted to create when we voted for separation 6 years ago. Creating a nation that allows the fragmentations of nationalities to recruit their fellow men and women against their fellow countrymen/women because they belong to different ethnicities is truly sickening and it must immediately cease.
In fact South Sudanese fought against Arabs to establish an ideology of togetherness and the realization of every nationality that make the total population of the Sudan. All those principles were meant to be addressed in the constitution of either one Sudan or in the breakaway South Sudan.
“An ideology is a system of values and beliefs regarding the various institutions and processes of society that is accepted as fact or truth by a group of people. An ideology provides the believer with a picture of the world both as it is and as it should be, and, in doing so, it organizes the tremendous complexity of the world into something fairly simple and understandable,” LYMAN TOWER SARGENT wrote in his book of political ideologies. Ideologies are organized or patterned beliefs.
It is not true that these so many fighting factions and those oppositions within the government have ideologies that they are pursuing. So many people take up arms and fight against each other because they know that there is no any available constitution that can question their wrongdoings and crimes they continue to commit in the country.
The common citizens were kindly asked to vote for the country of their own in 2011 but the elites thought it was enough the effort. Elements thought that the rest of the country’s management could be the elites’ own business without the involvement of common South Sudanese. That was the first mistake they made. They thought that it was enough for South Sudanese to have voted for them a nation they can govern the way they desire.
To get ready of rebellion and mismanagement, insecurity and impunity in South Sudan, the ruling regime must commit itself to the rule of law in South Sudan. It is impossible to govern a country of so many ethnicities like South Sudan without investing in the constitutional settings and understandings.
While we appreciate the recent move made by the President to set up an environment for National Dialogue we would like the elites, the participants to push for the formulation of the country’s permanent constitutional principles. We have lost more than enough in this country because nobody knows the laws of South Sudan and nobody wants to accept the “copy & paste” method of former Khartoum administrations’ legal documents.
The constitution of South Sudan should not be a compromised constitution. It must define our entities, our social ties and our cultures. It is not necessary to be of the Arab type but must be consultative. I mean, it must be drawn from people’s consultations of how they want to be governed by the government administration. It is not enough to hire some few lawyers in the capital Juba only to participate in constitution writing and claim that the nation has done enough.
We must try to make what cannot confuse us when it is due for implementation. Most of the articles in the current constitution are inserted to suit the interest of some individuals but that is not the law-book we want. The law-book we want is that which faces all South Sudanese equally regardless of the government positions they hold & economic statuses of individuals involved in various cases and situations.
If there is a law to rule against an SPLA soldier who has looted for example, there must be also a law to rule against his commander who might have instructed his junior. We must have laws and principles that if set to operate then they should be applied on common citizens and also on ministers, governors and maybe the national top official if caught red-handed. It is not always enough to declare open-ended general amnesty to individuals that have violated major rules and national principles only to hurt the spirit of those being wronged.
There must be changes given to the constitution to operate on law violators without forgiving. The laws must be strongly protected because the violators always take laws into their hands and destroy the national image, yet they always want to be forgiven at the cost of others. Those with impunities must be trained to the gates and doors of law abiding or they risk being convicted based the wrongdoings they have committed against the national constitution.
If the country refuses to create a concrete constitution then it is always the weak ones that will have the double-suffering in South Sudan. They will have the double suffering because the strong violators will play their impunity yet the weak justice system in the country will shy down to declare guilty the culprits. Weak justice is always injustice because it can crash down those weak and set free the strong ones maybe because of briberies or because of fear of threats.
The Permanent constitution will correctly define our rights and duties. In our today’s system and because of no any appropriate constitution our citizen cannot know the different between the president and the government, the country and the people. We are not yet free; it is the new constitution that will set us free!
We must get rid of the constitution that condones criminals and only appeases them with heavy government positions or high military ranks. Something must be done to make these people understand that they can be sentenced to certain rulings if they temper with the law of the land.
The author is a long experienced journalist, a freelancer, and analyst; holds a bachelor of education in bio/chemistry. He can be reached @ Atekdit Mawien: email@example.com
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