Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Draft constitution of the Republic of South Sudan released

April 24, 2011 (KAMPALA) – The draft South Sudan transitional constitution says the president of the republic will serve for four years starting from 9 July 2011.

South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly to secede from the north in January 2011 referendum provided by 2005’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended two decades of north-south civil war. South independence from the north will be celebrated on 9 July 2011 in according to the CPA.


The term of office for president and vice president is also four years in the US. Following the confirmation of independence early this year, the president of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), Salva Kiir Mayardit, formed a committee to work on a constitutional text. Last week, the minister of legal affairs, John Luk Jok, handed the draft of the proposed Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan to President Kiir.


President Kiir will study the transitional constitution before it is forwarded to Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) for approval.


According to part two of the transitional constitution and article 100, “The tenure of the office of the President of the Republic of South Sudan shall be four years, commencing from July, 2011.”


The transitional constitution also defines the parliament of Juba after inauguration of the Republic of South Sudan in July this year as being composed of the current members of SSLA and members of parliament currently representing southern Sudanese in Khartoum.


Cabinet ministers in Khartoum will be members of South Sudan parliament without a voting power, the proposed constitution noted.

It states that although “All indigenous languages of South Sudan are national languages” English will be the “official working language of the Republic of South Sudan”. For many people in South Sudan Arabic is currently their lingua franca. There is an emphasis in the document upon the “decentralized system of government” which will afford greater power at the state level. It also described the establishment
of independent Relief and Rehabilitation; National Anti-Corruption; Demobilisation, Disarmament and Re-integration; HIV/Aids; and Human Rights inter alia commissions.

The Bank of South Sudan will be responsible for the production of a new currency which will “reflect the historical and cultural diversity of the country” On the controversial subject of Local Justice, subject of a recent report produced by the Rift Valley Institute and the US Institute for Peace, “Legislation of the states shall provide for the role of Traditional Authority as an institution at local government

level on matter affecting local communities.”

The document states that the National Legislature will be made up of the National Legislative Assembly and the Council of State.


Significantly, the constitution defines the territory of the Republic of South Sudan and emphasize that "the territoryof the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms transferred from Bahr el Ghazal Province toKordofan Province in 1905 as defined by the Abyei Arbitration Tribunal Award of July 2009".


Sovereignty of the Abyei is controversial as it in the borderlands between north and South Sudan, it is oil-rich and fertile land and the ethnic origin of its inhabitants is a matter of dispute. Controversy surrounds the inclusion of Misseriya tribal group in a delayed referendum which will decide area’s future. The nomadic Misseriya, who
are associated with north Sudan, spend part of year in Abyei, where the Ngok Dinka resides. Tensions in the area are rising as the military presence increases.