We expect nothing but our positions -Women

By Sheila Ponnie

The South Sudan women leaders are not giving up on their demand for the 35 percent affirmative action to be fully implemented.

The women say the recent cabinet appointment did not fully conform to the 35 percent that was articulated in the peace agreement.

“We are expecting nothing but our positions just back, we have to take this as part of the peace negotiation,” said Mary Kiden Kimbo Member of Parliament.

The women said they were alarmed that the appointment has fallen short of observing the provisions in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

Article 1.12.2 states that in accordance with the agreed 35% participation of women in the executive, the parties to the (RTGoNU) shall nominate not fewer than twelve (12) women to the Council of Ministers in line with 1.12.5 of the R-ARCSS which legitimizes the nomination of not fewer than 12 women to the Council of Ministers and not fewer than 3 women deputy ministers.

In the recent appointment the Ministry of Defense, Foreign Affairs, Health, General Education and Instruction, Culture and National Heritage, Agricultural; Gender Child and Social Welfare, the women said there was fair representation in the cabinet however they wanted the Finance Ministry to be given to the women.

 “We need to get that Ministry of Finance so that we can look after that money and produce food in the country,” kimbo explained. 

Aluel Atem a member of South Sudan Coalition stated that the cabinet has only been fulfilled by 26.1% of the minimum 35% provided by the R-ARCSS.

“This is a flagrant violation of the agreement and should be corrected immediately in accordance with the article 1.13.1,”Aluel said.

According to the R-ARCSS, article 1.13.1 stipulates that each party may remove its representative in the Council of Ministers and nominate a replacement by notifying the President with at least fourteen (14) days’ notice.

“We want to remind all parties to the agreement that violation of any provision of the agreement is a violation of the entire agreement,” she said.

The women urged the Vice President in charge of the Gender and Youth Cluster to take this violation seriously and see to it that it has to be rectified within 14 days.

They also called upon the chairperson of RJMEC to hold the parties accountable for non-compliance to the provision of the agreement regarding the minimum of 35% women representation.

“We urge the parties to immediately return the women’s positions which are currently occupied by men as stipulated on the agreement,”Aluel said.

The women stated that they would continue to monitor the complete formation of RTGoNU and also continue to demand for a minimum of 35% women’s representation.

According to the statement issued by the women, they demanded for 193 women members of parliament, 3 women Governors, one head of Administrative Area, 3 Deputy Governors, one deputy head of Administrative Area, 28 female Commissioners, State Speakers, Advisors and all constitutional posts holders at all levels of Government.

“We remain seized of the matter and committed to continually engage in the implementation of the peace agreement,” she stated.

Women’s participation in nation building is an important ingredient in achieving an equitable peace.

Professor Pauline Riak, Vice Chancellor Rumbek University thinks that women can make difference in the country.

“Women in general tend to be less corrupted than men, women feel the pain when they lose a child despite the fact that the child isn’t theirs, women tend to be less selfish, tend to look after families and the nation and look after the environment we as women the protectors of the nation,” the Professor explained.

It is not that we are better than men but women are the ones who give birth and take care of the nation and we will give it pride, she said.

“The men have certain pride and ego among themselves that women can overcome, they can say sorry to each other, as women when they have offended each other, this is very difficult for men to do,” she said.

The Professor also urged women and men to work together even though women have been disproportionately relegated to positions of not being able to participate in nation building.

“It is wrong and in this case it is illegal; it is not proper for men or women and this is why we encourage girls to go to school and boys, even men who are in worse situation than women.”

“So we are talking about the nation of South Sudan, we are talking about human beings, we are talking about men and women working together to develop the country,” she said.

“Not about women taking over or women talking over and we are saying men in general have done very poor job. They have taken us for war, they have killed us and we have also helped them to do what they have done,”

“But we have said enough is enough we have signed the agreement that, let there be peace, we have had enough of the fighting and for men we are saying it is for the interest of all of us men and women to work together to bring the country to where it is needed to be.”

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