BY: Peter Gai Manyuon, JUBA, NOV/17/2013, SSN;
The application of the Republic of South Sudan in joining the East African Community had been a debatable issue among the citizens of South Sudan since the negotiations had been moving on beginning after the declaration of the South Sudan as an Independent nation on the 9th July 2011.
Most of the people of South Sudan are having different thinking and views about whether the new nation should join the bloc or not, and therefore, in the inside article, you will see my observations and recommendations why am saying a Country like a South Sudan should go for a peaceful and transparent referendum to determine the fate of this country to join or not to be part of the bloc.
However, South Sudan’s application to join the East African economic bloc is running into headwinds as divisions among senior government officials, and the entire nation at large in Juba and apparent hesitancy on the part of one of the partner states takes Centre stage.
Moreover, in July this year, the East African Community (EAC) sent a team to the country to verify its readiness for membership. The team’s report was submitted to the council of ministers late last month during a meeting in Burundi.
While Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda found the team’s findings comprehensive enough to make deliberations on the admissibility of South Sudan into the community fold, Tanzania wants more time to review the report.
“The United Republic of Tanzania informed the council that it had received the report on Friday, August, 23 2012 and therefore, had not exhaustively consulted with all key stakeholders on the matter,” reads a report on the council of ministers’ meeting.
The verification committee report revealed that there were different views among South Sudan’s government officials on the country’s planned EAC membership even the entire citizens are having different projections and views over the issue.
Others are saying South Sudan should join the bloc after some years because nothing is good yet in the Country as there is no respect for the rule of law, no human rights in place, and even freedom of expression is another critical agenda identified by most of the inhabitants of South Sudanese at the movement.
Hence, others are of the view that South Sudan as a Country should address the issue of social services like Roads, hospitals and schools and after wards, South Sudan will reach at the level of a good standard and therefore, might be the time for this country to join.
On the other hand also, in South Sudan, the issue of insecurity, lack of good education background and good approaches for the democratization process should be observed first before rushing to join the east African bloc.
Hence, that is why am calling for the government of South Sudan to organize for a referendum whether this country will join or not.
Well, there might be benefits when South Sudan joins East African Community like the free market, free transit and visas, security issue and good international relations which can benefit people of this Country from one point to another but the question is, is the Government of Salva Kiir ready?
While some officials favor immediate entry, others feel that the country should be granted observer status first.
Further, some policy makers would rather have bilateral agreements with EAC member states separately.
It also noted that although South Sudan had put in place legal and institutional frameworks that would enable it to meet membership requirements as outlined in the EAC treaty, these institutions were still in their infancy or not yet operational.
Analysis about South Sudan joining EAC block:
Viewing at South Sudan as a Country compared to the other Countries like Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania, you find that the Country is still lacking.
Citizens of the South Sudan were not informed and aware about the idea of the new Republic to join East African Community, it had been the Government agenda that isolated the entire population that is supposed to determine the issue whether South Sudan can join or not.
Government of the President salva Kiir Mayardit had been moving forward strongly for the new nation to be accepted and the citizens that make up this Country are disagreeing up to this moment.
Most of the citizens term the negotiation as interest-driven from a small group of people in the government of the Republic of South Sudan.
Interestingly, the whole Country is at the stage of disintegration over the idea of joining the block or not.
President of the Republic of South Sudan should really respect the voices of the entire citizens of this Country because this is a serious issue that needs good discussion and approach at this particular period of time.
There is need to involve the civil society Organizations, faith base, the entire citizens of South Sudan with the inclusion of different political parties in the process, because it will be the responsibility of different stakeholders to enlighten the people of this nation about the shortcomings and the advantages of South Sudan joining East African community.
In summary, for the Country of South Sudan to be free from Tribalism, corruption, nepotism and sectarianism there is need to work together as the team with one principle that is accompanied by democratization, respect for other people opinions and adherence to the dignity of the people of this great nation.
The author is Independent Journalist and a writer who wrote articles extensively on the issue of Democratization, Human Rights in South Sudan, you can contact him through ;email@example.com