By: Deng Riek Khoryoam, South Sudan
September 13, 2011 (SSNA) — The recent appointment of national youth union’s president, known as South Sudan national youth union by the former minister of Youth, sports and recreations in the government of Southern Sudan Hon. Makuach Teny, has caused a lot of resentment and unending or heated debates among the youth about whether or not it was within his area of jurisdiction to do so. Some quarters of the youth society argued that the caretaker minister didn’t have much power to make major decisions such as forming South Sudan national youth union and appointing its president since he had only minimal or limited powers. They also argued that he couldn’t have done that without consulting with the youth whether it was the right choice or the kind of person they would want to see representing their interests in different government institutions and or other for a regionally and internationally or not. Others jumped to the conclusion that he appointed the guy based on tribal line or interest.
Well, whatever the case is, I think some of those voices also argued from a tribal viewpoint—–given the fact that the minister didn’t appoint a Dinka to that position, and that didn’t augur well with some Dinka youth who thought/ felt that they are capable to occupy every key position at the expense of others. That was a cause of major concern for some as well! I think if the one appointed by the minister was a Dinka, there wouldn’t have been such an upheaval or uproar from some quarters of the youth. All would have served its very purpose, since in their view/opinion, effective or capable leaders must always emerge from amongst them; thus, the in-born kinds of leaders. They condemned the former minister for having made such a decision.
But the fundamental question remains: was the former minister wrong by trying to organize a central youth body? Was he also wrong or condemned when he formed four other committees, like football, volleyball, athletic, basketball etc? The answers to two questions amongst others could be in the silence. I don’t think he was wrong in his efforts to organize the youths in South Sudan by forming a central body so that they can be able to defend and protect their collective interests and fight for their rights together with one unified voice. I am also of the opinion that it was his prerogative to organize the youth and appoint its president if the youth themselves have failed to do it on their own. I could be wrong but I am afraid I am justly right!! Firstly, the youth have never made any attempts in the past to try to organize themselves in order to have a ‘South Sudan National Youth Union’ (SSNYU). It’s for their own benefits and interests, not Makuach’s!
Secondly, if the ex-minister appointed people tothe above mentioned national committees through a ministerial order, why not acentral youth body? We believe he consulted with the president of the republic firstbefore making it public. But did anyone ever complain as to why certain personalities were made the heads or chairpersons of the said committees? The answer to this question is a resounding BIG NO! But what’s the crown about the appointment of Mr. Stephen Puoch Riek? Is he being pre-judged on the basis of his abilities and capability or on the basis of his ethnicity? And for those questioning the legitimacy of this decision, could it have been legitimate if only Mr. Akol Paul or any other person was to be made a president of this national youth body? I think it’s high time we stop prejudging others before assuming duties and seeing them as incapable to provide sound and good leadership.
South Sudan is for all the people of South Sudan and not for Dinka or Nuer alone. Therefore, every South Sudanese who is capable to do a national duty should not be discriminated on the basis of his/her ethnicity. The Honourable ex-minister was not wrong to have organized a central youth body to defend and protect the interests of youth in South Sudan. At least, it’s better than always running after our uncles to give us everything instead of being independent. We line up behind them and pat their backs even when they are wrong. I think we need to start challenging them to retire from certain duties which require youth with energies and innovative ideas; they need to give room for the youth to takeover. We need them around us to give us some good advices and to guide us. We also need them to share with us from their experiences of the past and how we might be able to pick the best lessons. Above all, we needed a non-partisan youth body to work for all, and we’ve got it now. Please, hide your political colours and put the interest of youths above any party’s or individual interest.
I urge all the youth to refrain from negative or tribalistic thinking. I also appeal to all the youth to rally behind the recently appointed leadership in order to move forward as one. Those who said that the ministerial order appointing the current national youth leadership should be reversed or nullified by the newly appointed national minister of Youth and sports were not right and justified. It cannot be reversed or nullified because it was a government’s decision through Hon. Makuach Teny, and not his own decision. It doesn’t work that way. Let us also acknowledge and appreciate the great work done by the former minister Makuach Teny in the ministry. He did countless and numerous good things in the interest of youth! He knew what he was doing and whose interest he was representing. He was very active and always with the youth. I don’t think the reason that made him not come back to the new cabinet was a question of performance; it wasn’t about poor performance, for could that be the case, there were those who performed poorly and corruptly in the previous cabinet but still made it back to this recent one. Let’s give credit where or when it’s highly due or deserved!!
The author lives in South Sudan and could be reached for comments at [email protected]