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SPLM, SPLM/IO parliamentary caucuses urged to cooperate
Edmund Yakani, Executive Director for the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO)

Activist calls for open civic space for constitution drafting

South Sudan`s renown award winning activist has called on the political parties to put their political differences aside and open civic space ahead of consultation for the constitution review process.

Speaking to Juba Echo during an induction workshop for the members of the reconstituted National Constitution Review Commission in Juba, Edmund Yakani, Executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said he expects the commission to develop a proper action plan for making the constitution.

Yakani called on political parties to put the interest of the country first to their political affiliation.

“We hope that the political parties build up the membership of the constitutional review should not interfere with the work of the commission because if they start bringing their party politics into the functions of the commission that will paralyze the constitution making process and the constitution making process is for the interest of the nation not for the interest of the political parties” Yakani said.

For his part, Riang Yer Zuor Chairperson of the National Constitutional Review Commission said the commission will review, revise and adapt internal instruments of the commission so that the commission becomes operational in a workshop currently ongoing in Juba.  

He said they are preparing action plans that will determine the timeline and work of the commission in reviewing the constitution. 

“The preparation that we have done is regards as beginning and competing the constitutional making process and that comes in a number of stages, there is a first stage that will involve the general public, we will conduct civic education, we will conduct public consultations on certain constitutional issues and this is when the first draft of the constitution will be made and then we go to the second stage where the National Constitutional Conference will deliberate on draft constitutional text before it goes to the third stage so it comes” he said

Yer said they have not taken the main steps in the stages for drafting the new and said the main stumble block is the issue of the budget that is yet to be approved

“As soon as the budget is approved we will begin to go out and do a nationwide civic education campaign, educating the citizens on a number of constitutional issues then once we finish we will go to  now consulting them to give us their views” he said

“The main stumbling block is the issue of budget because the budget has not yet been approved so once it is approved I think everything else will be in place but without that there are not a lot that we can do” he stressed.

He assured that the constitution being developed by the commission will be a people led process.

“The process for drafting has begun and that the process has to be led on by the people of South Sudan and this is going to be through civic education and public consultations and then the deliberation on the first draft by people representing all sectors of the society of South Sudanese” he assured

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