Was Hon. Michael Makwei right to claim that there are no ‘youth leaders’ in South Sudan?

Posted: March 28, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan, Philip Thon Aleu

A youth leader, Justine Woje:  “If you people are not able to run the government, hand the government to the youth, the youth are ready to run this government tomorrow.”

Information Minister Michael Makwei: “There is no way you take away without learning from us first you must acquire the experience from us first. The fact that you are educated does not mean that you are experienced, so please don’t hurry little by little you take over because it is also a process, it is not an event.”

By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

Information Minister Michael Makwei Lueth in full old SPLM/A military uniform

Information Minister Michael Makwei Lueth in old SPLM/A military uniform

March 28, 2018 (SSB) — Information Minister Makuei Lueth is quoted to have told reporters that youth have to learn before taking leadership from elders, triggering fierce criticism.

But looking at the basic requirements that may boost ‘youth’ as an alternative to elders, I don’t see anything. For starters, South Sudanese youth only meet in tribal, clans and regional associations. There’s no national, nongovernmental association control, run and own by youth without the support of elders.

The South Sudan Union was a creation of the ministry of culture, youth, and sport. Other bodies such as the Red Army (most of the members there are racing towards 45) and SPLM youth league are thriving, albeit with the minimal influence amongst the youth, on elders’ handouts etc.

And tribal associations where ‘youth’ are the leaders are not democratic, transparent and institutional. To be honest, most South Sudanese youth are very sensitive to criticism compared to the elders.

So swallow your pride of better education in shame without accepting the truth.

On the other hands, elders’ union like the SPLM, despite it institutional dysfunction and lack of internal democracy from inception 35 years ago, are far better than the tribal unions where youth practice leadership.

Go back to drawing board, do the basic maths on organizational issues before asking for national leadership. It’s a daunting task.

Minister Michael, if given a chance to debate with him, will be challenged but there is nothing at hand right now to represent as better leadership from the youth.

In nutshell, there is no single South Sudan youth leader who represents the youth. Just try to invite South Sudanese youth from different ethnic backgrounds and you will be shocked because no one will come.

If they come, it will be a few days before it breaks down due to lack of organization and greed for power.


Philip Thon Aleu has Bachelor Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Ndejje University, Uganda.  As a journalist, Philip started his career as a reporter for Sudan Tribune website in Jonglei State (2007) and moved to work for UN’s Radio Miraya (2010), Voice of America (VOA) and BBC Focus on Africa.  He is currently working with a diplomatic mission in Juba as a political analyst but the views expressed in this article are not from that embassy. Contact: pthonaleu@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël website (SSB) do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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