By Dr. James Okuk
January 25, 2011 (SSNA) — I don’t think both Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba and Mr. Gordon Buay got it right when it comes to reference to the law. In my humble understanding, quoting the numbering of the final communique of "All Southern Sudanese Political Parties Conference", October 13 – 17, 2010 in Juba does not amount to law. They would have better quoted an article of law, instead (be it constitution or statutes or acts or etc) to justify your offence and defense of GoSS President Kiir Decree of Formation of 24-Person Constitutional Review Committee under leadership of Minister John Luk Jok. An article of communique is not the same as an article of law, right?
Thus, it would have look pretty better if both of them argued on the basis that Pres. Salva Kiir violated one of the resolutions (not law) of the above-mentioned conference summarized in the final communique under the sub-title of Issues Raised by the Decision of the South in the Referendum, which says: a). In the event that separation is the choice of the people of Southern Sudan in the referendum: i). GOSS shall establish a National Constitutional Review Commission to review the current Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan for adoption by the SSLA as a transitional constitution; ii). GOSS to convene an all party constitutional conference to deliberate and adopt a constitutional system for the new independent and sovereign state in Southern Sudan; iii). The constitutional conference shall discuss and agree on the formation of an interim broad-based transitional government, under the current President of the GoSS, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, after the end of the interim period; iv). The transitional government shall be charged, inter alia,with the duty to conduct population census and general elections for a constituent assembly that shall promulgate the permanent constitution; and v). The constitutional conference shall decide on the length of the interim period necessary to carry out general elections for the constituent assembly.
According to these articles of the communique (not law), GoSS has been given the mandate to "establish a National Constitutional Review Commission" and other mentioned etcs. Who is GoSS? It is the public institution that is now headed by H.E. Salva Kiir in Juba. Now, the decree that was issued by H.E. Kiir was not about formation of the mentioned "Constitutional Review Commission" in the communique but only a "Constitutional Review Committee." May be the formation of the Commission will come later to fit the agreement reflected in the above-mentioned Conference’s final communique.
To be pragmatic, the best way to go about this issue is for every political party or a coalition/alliance of political parties of South Sudan to form their own "Constitutional Review Committees" as well to start drafting the Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan like what the SPLM is trying to do so that those drafts could be presented competatively to the Review Commission that shall be formed soon as part of the agreed post-referendum road-map that has been revealed by H.E. GoSS Vice President Dr. Riek Machar recently. Complaining fold-handedly without coming up with a solution does not help much. If there is no trust of working together, let every political party/parties try to work for South Sudan on their own until the significance of developing and maintaining that unified trust becomes sensibly pressing for all.
Dr. James Okuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org