‘Patriotic East African’ blasts IGAD over “illegal proposed constitutional amendments”

IGAD’s logo.

Addis Ababa, February 16, 2019 (SSNA) — The National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) is increasingly becoming ineffective as some elements within the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) collude with the government in the constitutional reform process, a self-proclaimed ‘Patriotic East African’ told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) on Saturday.

The accusation comes nearly three weeks after IGAD sent its own proposed constitutional amendments to South Sudan justice ministry.

The self-declared leaker with full knowledge of inside work of the national constitutional committee exposes “serious disagreements” between the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO), accusing IGAD of colluding with the government. The source asserts that the East African regional bloc secretly proposed changes to the constitution without consulting the SPLM-IO and that the bloc even submitted its proposed amendments to South Sudan’s Ministry of justice in late January.

“I am informing you as a private East African citizen who is very concerned about how IGAD handles the issue of South Sudan constitutional amendments. These changes supposed to be handled by committee members of the government, SPLM, and other opposition parties. IGAD is just a mediator, it has no mandate to amend the constitution,” the source writes.

The source deliberately identifies itself simply as “Patriotic East African” who cares about the people of South Sudan.

“I am a Patriotic East African and an IGAD team member with full inner work of the NCAC and the roles IGAD is granted under the agreement. But some elements within IGAD Secretariat are conspiring with the government against the constitutional reforms,” charged the source, adding, “We now have serious disagreements between the SPLM-IO and the government and these issues are created by IGAD’s illegal proposed constitutional amendments it submitted to justice minister in January.”

Early this month, SPLM-IO’s senior official, Oyet Nathaniel Penono, who is also a member of the NCAC, has in the past raised concerns over IGAD’s proposed amendments. Oyet accused the regional bloc of trying to manipulate the process.

The South Sudan News Agency understands that the September 2018 peace deal stipulates that NCAC should submit its proposed constitutional amendments to the ministry of justice of the transitional government, not the current justice ministry.

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