South Sudan - new constitution infuriates

2011-04-26 19:23

Juba - South Sudan's new draft constitution, to be adopted when the region becomes independent on July 9, grants President Salva Kiir another four years in power, a draft version showed, infuriating political opposition.

The draft charter also lays claim to Abyei, a fiercely contested oil-producing area straddling north and south Sudan, the disputed ownership of which is seen by analysts as having the potential to lead the country back to civil war.

North and south Sudan fought each other for all but a few years since 1955 over differences in ethnicity, ideology, religion and oil. The conflict claimed at least 2 million lives and destabilised much of the region.

Southern Sudanese voted in January to separate from the north and form a new nation, a referendum promised to them as part of a 2005 peace deal which ended decades of civil war.

Seen by Reuters on Tuesday, the draft, which calls itself the "Transitional Constitution", is set to be ratified by parliament and will form a temporary charter from independence until a permanent constitution is drafted.

But it outlines steps which opposition leaders say amount to a betrayal.

"They were supposed to be making only minor changes to the Interim Constitution but they have written a new constitution... [inserting detail] that was meant to be decided [later] in the constitutional conference," said opposition leader Lam Akol, referring to an inclusive process promised by the south's dominant SPLM party to draft a post-independence constitution.

"They said they would just be removing redundant language that reflects a regional constitution becoming a national one, but they have set the president's term without mentioning limits," Akol added.

Similar fears are shared by more radical opposition.

Seven rebel militia

At least seven rebel militia are fighting to overthrow the semi-autonomous southern government which they say only serves its own interests, ignoring minority tribes and rural communities in the highly underdeveloped region.

"There will be no review process that will change anything, opposition and civil society won't be able to make changes [to the constitution]," said Bol Gatkouth, a spokesperson for one of the rebel groups.

The government says the permanent constitution will be fairly debated at a conference which the draft said must include opposition parties and civil society among others.

The national interim constitution drafted after the 2005 peace deal set the president's term at five years with a two- term limit, and Kiir won a new mandate in elections last April.

The new South Sudan draft grants a four year tenure "commencing from July 9 2011" but specifies no limit to how many terms the president can serve.

An Abyei referendum on whether to join the north or south was meant to run parallel to the January vote, but it did not take place. Talks on Abyei's future have stalled.

Both the north and south have been building up forces in the area and arming them with weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, according to satellite images and the United Nations.

The northern ruling NCP said the claim to Abyei in the constitution was meaningless and the south would not be able to implement it on the ground.

"The Abyei problem is not resolved yet," said senior NCP official Rabie Abdelati. "I think this provision will not be respected or considered by our government."

The Transitional Constitution draft said Juba would remain the capital city and the establishment of a central bank which would oversee the adoption of a new currency.

The Sudanese pound in Juba has steadily weakened on the black market since the January vote, on Tuesday reaching 3.3 to the dollar as many fear it may not be redeemable after July.

Read more on:    salva kiir  |  south sudan  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.