Focus on transitional constitution of South Sudan

Speakers at the Constitution-Building in Africa conference will also look at one of the youngest country in Africa, South Sudan. The conference which will take place this Friday is expected to attract people from across the continent. There will be over thirty presentation delivered at this conference centred around four themes; limiting the power of the state; designing state institutions that serve the country; how to achieve a democratic and inclusive process of constitution making; and making a constitution work.

Paleki M. Obur who is South Sudan Women's Empowerment Network’s executive director. Her paper will be focused around the transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan and the transitional constitution from a gender perspective.

 Obur says Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (TCRSS) is largely gender-sensitive and gender conscious. She points out that the preamble TCRSS recognises the struggle to Southern Sudan's independence was borne by both men and women.

“It contains strong provisions that promise to empower women and bring about gender equality in the new state of South Sudan.” But a few areas, such as the extension of affirmative action policy to all government bodies, need to be addressed in order to make the TCRSS a formidable draft constitution.

The other speaker who will be look at South Sudan’s constitution is Etienne Mutabazi, who is the senior counsel at Awatkeer Law Chambers in Juba in South Sudan. He will explore the requirements for a stable constitution in South Sudan. He says during the period South Sudan was still part of Sudan, the country has never had a stable constitution. South Sudan got its independence in 2011 following decades of conflict with the north.

According to Mutabazi, the interim constitution of Southern Sudan dictated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between the South Sudan in January 2005 was drafted in a political context by a few individuals appointed by the political wing of the Sudanese People Liberation movement without any public consultation made. The commission has a challenging task of drafting a constitution that reflects the aspirations of all the people of Sudan. In his talk he will be exploring these issues deeply.

Africa is experiencing an unprecedented wave of constitution making. Many countries have recently completed or are undergoing constitutional reforms. Examples are Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Tunesia and Egypt. Constitution building is more than just drafting and adopting legal provisions. Recent developments in Zimbabwe and Egypt show that drafting and adopting a constitution is complicated and by no means a guarantee for peace and stability.

This insightful session will be broadcast live HERE on the day of the conference at 1330hrs-UTC (1230hrs-GMT). Please visit our website, follow @UWC_CLC and like our Facebook Page: Community Law Centre. The participants are encouraged to use the #ConstitutionAfrica on both Facebook and Twitter to be part of this interesting conversation.