Long awaited youth representation not fulfilled
By Yiep Joseph Lueth
The 12th September 2018 revitalized agreement on the resolution of conflict in the Republic of South Sudan(R-ARCSS) gave youths 20% participation in the revitalized government in the country. This has given chance to the politicians particularly the elders to be using the above as a tool to encourage youth at any corner to take lead in leadership and that can push the country to success. Something that seems to have been misused and not in place but partially made with interference of various interests.
Speeches from almost all the government officials carry promise as a simple word to be aired out. It sounds interesting and joyous;its lyrics seem to be welcoming like birthday songs that automatically encourage people to burn thousand candles and live a thousand years on earth.
It has been like political anthem sung by the politicians and prominent community members while addressing any gathering that involvesyouth. The song gains more weight day by day to the extent of being sung in funeral prayers as witnessed in several occasions, for example the recent funeral prayers of Deng de Mabior Atem (immediate brother to Dr. John) that took place inhis house.
The promise clearly states that youths are the leaders of today and tomorrow. These sentences with essential promising elements such as“today and tomorrow” bring smiles on most faces of the youths as they hope for bright present and future to be soon.
These words are commonly used by the politicians with main objective to influence youths in various aspects. When the youths are miss-represented in the affairs of the country, they are promised that tomorrow is for them; however when they are represented today becomes theirs.
This tricky slogan was witnessed during the formation of the national government that is the R-TGoNU where youth representation was not as stipulated in the agreement. On seeing national youth complain about small share given to them, the government officials promised tomorrow to be for the youths. Their tomorrow assumes that youths may relax and wait for formation of structures in various states to seal that gap left in national structures.
Since life needs understanding and patience, the youthsjust kept their ears close to the doors of appointment in state structures from the authorities. When the issue of forming state structures arise, the young women and men became excited hoping that their promise is to be fulfilled as written in the revitalized agreement in what they termed to be their second chance to take part in decision making.
The long-awaited day knocked and resulted to formation of structures in Central Equatoria State. Although a few youths were appointed, their qualifications and competences gave them hope before other states. In the process of continuity of presidential decrees of appointing state ministers, deputies, head of commissions, deputies and county commissioners,Jonglei state in particular seems to have experienced wrong representation of youth in the state structures. This is indicated by sensitive ministries and commissions given to youth based on their parties without testing their capabilities, qualifications and competences. This is wrong fulfillment of the promise that youths are the leaders of today and tomorrow based on their competences and qualifications.
A youth is someone between the age of 18 and 45 years, and representation deals with chances given to youth based on qualification and competence.
Therefore, giving youths chances to lead sensitive and major institutes became a step to fulfill the promise and if the people given chances are not or partially qualified then it is wrong fulfillment of a promise.
This week being the week of appointment, the street of Juba has been dominated by a simple question that reads “When can we say that youths are represented.” The youths in government and outside government that is both interests and pressure groupshave different answers to the above question.
In the context of Jonglei state, youths’ representation seems to be based on political parties on who to bring who,based on his or her strength in lobbying or support to his or her political party. And if this is the case weighing qualification and competence in the youthsbefore given chances to exploit their talents in state development became second option hence partial fulfillment of youth promise of being leaders of today and tomorrow based on qualifications and competence without fear or favor.
Inconclusion, the question remains pending as when can we say thatyouths are presented in Jonglei state and South Sudan at large.
The writer is a 4th year student of Mass communicationat Juba University. He can be reached through: 0921717892.