I licenced my bike! After making “friends” with a lot of traffic police. No fines, just lots of awkward chat. Which was almost as bad, sometimes, but many of them were pretty happy just to have a chat to a white woman clearly learning how to work gears with her foot.
Tag Archives: constitution
Doodles of the speakers from the Rift Valley Institute/Centre for Peace and Development Studies Juba Lectures 2013
Paleki Matthew Obur, South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network
The podcasts for all of the Juba Lectures 2013 are available online to download for free – and it’s worthwhile, as the debates this week have been dominated by South Sudanese voices asking questions and making strong points about how they see (or want to see) the basis of Southern political, cultural and social life built in the constitution.
Last night’s debate focused mainly on the basis of laws – and therefore social and political justice – in South Sudan. Much of the conversation revolved around the death penalty, still legal and carried out regularly here; execution – and the ability of which courts, traditional or legislative, to carry it out – served as a focal point for concerns over how conservative Southern society should be; whether “traditional” justice should be changed fast or actually codified and preserved as is; and the inability of youth and other marginalised people to challenge older generations and vested systems.
Thursday night was also well-attended at Juba University for Jacob Akol’s talk on the concept of the House of Nationalities in South Sudan; the panel then led an open debate on issues of language, women’s positions, traditional justice and marriage systems, mother tongues, the rights to move within the South and the invisibility of disabled people in the country.
The podcasts for all the lectures can be found on the RVI website.
Debate was lively, but no progress was made on how it would really work to incorporate and ‘deal with’ ethnicities in South Sudan through the constitution and elsewhere in national life. As one speaker said, “one nation, one culture, one language hasn’t got us anywhere in the last fifty years.”
The Juba Lectures 2013 have started, and I am exhausted: I organised the speakers and panels in the last three weeks as the local Rift Valley Institute hand here, and have spent most of my time running around Juba on the back of a motorbike trying to meet a variety of VIPs and activists of various stripes to speak on the constitutional process in South Sudan.
Professor Akolda Tier, the chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission and a quiet, academic and conservative man, was our keynote speaker last night, on a panel set up to focus on practicalities: is there the political will to actually create a new constitution, and would it involve a consultative process? Why has the commission still not started, despite it overrunning its mandated period? Is the two year extension a political move designed to put off elections in 2015? Etc.
This is really worrying – not the division between Kiir and Machar, which is pretty clear, but the language used to talk about legitimate debate. There is, legitimately, an uproar going on over the proposed interim constitution – including the postponement of elections after independence, the changes to presidential terms, the unequivocal declaration of Abyei as southern, and a host of other issues. And it seems that most people think Kiir won’t make any changes, something he confirms in the Tribune piece.