Allow me to appreciate and thank the parties to the conflict for signing an agreement on the outstanding issues on governance and security. This is indeed a commendable effort to end the current conflict in the country and return the situation into total normalcy.
However, as the saying goes, the devil still remains in the details of the whole Revitalized Agreement, especially, the need for sincere political will to implement it. I believe in this adage tgat ‘’there is no bad peace and a good war’’.
I would, therefore, like to draw your attention to a specific article signed by the parties in Khartoum that talked about the inclusion of youth in governance and decision making process at all levels of government. Article 6.5 demands the parties to implement two fundamental provisions:
1. The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport shall be someone below the age of 40 years old. Although this achievement is commendable, we still would like to challenge the appointing authority to refer such age limit to our very own definition of youth.
Firstly, our South Sudan Youth Development Policy passed by the cabinet chaired by the President in its regular council of ministers sitting in 2013, tabled on the floor of parliament and passed by the august house to the committee, defines a YOUTH in South Sudan as someone between the age of 18-35 years old.
The main party running the government, SPLM, defines, in its constitution, a Youth from the age of 18-35 years old.
Therefore, there is no justification for anyone to call for any increase in youth age bracket, even the African Youth Charter limits itself to 35 years old. There are no legal jurisprudence that limits the youth age to 45 years old, as being put up as an argument by some South Sudanese to accommodate their middle age bracket in the real youth slot.
2. Based on the above justifications, it is evidential that the appointing authority consider our very own definition based on the available governing documents despite the fact that the constitution is silent about the youth age bracket.
We therefore expect the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport to be able to remain within the threshold of 40 years for the entire Transitional Period as the Article exclusively prescribes it.
3. Thirdly, there is an illusion created that this particular article only directs parties to appoint a youth as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, a ministry that is likely to be split given the cabinet size of 35 as per the Khartoum arrangement. They have deliberately decided to ignore the most fundamental point of individual ‘’parties striving to achieving their party’s youth quota system’.
I would like to thank the drafters of this agreement because this particular article will put the parties’ leaderships to task and into test of whether they really value their own party’s constitutions or charter versus rewarding their loyalists.
4. For the ruling party Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, SPLM, their constitution Article 13 (4) calls for 20% youth representation and participation at all levels of government. This means all percentages or numbers allocated to the SPLM ruling party that includes even the former SPLM-IO group led by the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai, should be duly implemented as an SPLM constitutional mandate of youth quota system.
In fulfillment of the above-mentioned Article, we expect more three (03) Youth national Cabinet Ministers representing the TGoNU in the next revitalized government.
5. In the revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly, we expect the reconstitution of it may make some of the MPs lose their seats. The appointing authority should then take into their party’s constitutional mandate by ensuring Youth MPs are not removed and no replacement is made for them by their youth.
6. This demand of 20% should also apply to even the State governments and local government level.
In conclusion, we appeal to the appointing authority to consider young people as partners in peace and development, just as they have been in war and suffering.
Change the narrative of leaders of tomorrow to leaders of today that need to be nurtured and mentored while working with you.
Consider Young people part of your leadership by seeing themselves represented and participating, this means a lot to them and for the future of this great nations.
Allow them to sit with you while making those critical decisions and you’ll surely notice the constructive and meaningful contributions of the young people when you provide them with the space.