Contributor's Opinion



By Jesus Panther Deng,


Photo: President Kiir and his deputies after the swearing in ceremony at the State House.
Photo: President Kiir and his deputies after the swearing in ceremony at the State House.

Feb 2020, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — First, I would like to congratulate you (parties to R-ARCISS) for burying your unaddressed grievances and coming together and committing yourselves to end this perennial, cyclical and interlocking conflict that has devastated the nation for almost a decade now. It’s through your efforts and love for the nation that is diametrically changing the equation which is now ushering an era of cooperation and camaraderie and which is pushing our beloved nation currently toward calm end. There is now expected positive paradigm shift in our politics.  As the First Vice President Designate Dr. Riek Machar will be sworn in tomorrow, I hope the sunnier days will slowly be coming back when SPLM leaders (Sudan People Liberation Movement) used to walk in a peace path together and making important decisions for the country with publicity stunts together and with warm smiles on everyone face.

As you are enjoying your cordial political relationship and keep countdown to meet 12th November 2019 extended 100 days’ deadline which is just less than 48hours away now to form the R-TGoNU (Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity) I allow me to remind you of SPLM party “unwritten law” against the youth which has denied and dashed their rights, hopes and dreams for nation building and national cake now for decades. The “unwritten law” is “youth exclusion” from political domain, economic, governance and in any important decision making process of their own country.

I would call it as “socio-political and socio-economic stigmatization” against young people in South Sudan.

This culture “socio-political and socio-economic stigmatization against young people” originated from our former various dictatorial Khartoum base regimes which was solely intended to destroy southerners but in recent years the SPLM leadership who fought against the same practice, surprisingly picked it and spearheaded it practically. It is a betrayal. It’s now being instigated and exacerbated by politics’ concocted definition in SOUTH/SUDAN that put it as an avenue for ‘’advanced age experienced men’’ in the SPLM system. This is not only mythical, traditional but also evil in its intent which is to totally destroy the young generation politically, economically, socially and in governance of their own country in the 21st century.

According to 2008 Sudan housing and population census youth is someone between the ages of 18 to 35 years. In 2008 Sudan housing and population census the youth constituted over 70% of the south Sudanese population. Over the years, youth’s population has significantly increased which is currently estimated to be over 72% of South Sudan population. This is amazing and absolutely good news for the young nation which is in ICU bed. 

But is that a good news in SPLM dominated society where productivity of young ages is not valued. Is it a good news in the nation where less than 28% minority population has over the years dominantly and overwhelming controlled a politics which is not even benefitting the intended population instead turned angrily against it, poor governance, worst economic situation ever and important decision making process which are not even benefiting us “the greater good” in the country that has taken millions of young people during the struggle for freedom and SPLM self-inflicted war of 15 December 2013.

Traditionally, yes, elderly is the source of knowledge, wisdom and on giving right directions and this is what south Sudanese are being longing for, since 2005 but are we seeing it, no. And this is why change is inevitable.  I do respect our elders/leaders for their unselfish contributions over the years in search for our independence and struggles to maintain peace but is that all and nothing else matters? No, our hard-earned young nation is vanishing in our watch when we are surrounded with young energies for our economic development, infrastructural development and good governance.

Your Excellencies, allow me briefly to remind you on where the first youth’s marginalization took place in South Sudan and their contributions to our nation. In 2005 when the first regional government of the then southern Sudan was established, not a single slot was given to youth in reward for their long outstanding behind the movement in all government’s parastatals or institutions in a clear flagrant violation of their outstanding rights they offered to the movement during the struggle.

Instead, their past contributions and achievements during the struggle, pre- and post-independent period of South Sudan were thrown out of the window by the SPLM leadership as competition for political positions by perceived SPLM advanced experienced men in the system take a Centre stage. This has exposed and will continue expose youth at greatest risks of governance, political and economic exclusions and neglect in their own country they sacrificed a lot for and will continue pushing our country behind in all aspect of developments if it remains unaddressed. 

The then limited resources during the struggle such as goats, cows, food, cloth which youth sacrificed etc. are now things of past. Youth voluntary joined the struggle and sacrificed other contribution such as Showing of directions and transportation of freedom fighters and their luggage which are vividly still fresh in our memories are no longer things of the concerned.

For the case of our independence, I will say that, without young population as majority and actively stood behind the implementation of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and taking part in referendum, we would then have remained under dictatorial regime of President Omar AL Bashir.

Your excellencies, despite all the above roles played by young people, they have been rendered mere watchers of the events unfolding not only in the political domain but in any important decision making process of the country. They are left with nothing other than expressing their concern through silence hopes, fear and with others hoping on the upcoming leadership (R-TGoNU) to change the narratives.

With just another yesterday Youth’s sacrifices when they throw their absolute and uncompromising loyalty to both sides of the conflict after SPLM imposed war of December, 2013, in defense of manifestos, ethos and visions of either side of the conflict.  The ball is now in your hands (parties to agreement) on either there will be change of heart or status quo be maintained.

Your Excellencies, we are all aware of created relevant institution in line with South Sudan transitional constitution 2011 by then one SPLM to cater for the youth affairs such as ministry of youth, culture and sport etc. That was the good news but the bad is that the productivity of such institutions are very low. Programmatically speaking, there are no youth focused programs such as Youth Development Fund or maybe they are riddled with the corruptions. There is no or no active National Youth Council which should act as a policy, research and advocacy unit on all youth issues in the country. On worst part, the youth are nowhere running or part all these institutions running the youth’s affairs and institutions. There are urgent needs for major reform in all these institutions.


Youth Excellences, if we look back before your SPLM party broke into bitterly feuding factions- SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SPLM-FDs, REAL SPLM, you promised young population heaven on earth if elected into office in 2010. You pledged youth Jobs, Educations, diversity in age and gender when forming your government etc. After winning election, none of the promises were actually fulfilled, instead you only herded the youth into the hottest corner of the hell (wars). Youth are demanding for incentives!

Finally, in many occasions in the past, President Salva Kiir Mayardit is reportedly to have promised to increase the youth quota to 20 percent in his government especially the upcoming Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. I think it is now time to walk the talk your Excellency.

If only wisdom and patriotism take a back seat to insularity and ideological monomania by taking example from other nations such as Finland where massive investment in young people is shaping its economic development, then our nation shall be out ICU bed in the next five years. The nation of Finland is rapidly and generally growing because of youth inclusion in national leadership. The Finland’s entire new government is very young and on top led by youngest female prime minister in the entire world. She promoted diversity in Finland not only on regional or collision bases but also in massive investment on gender and age by forming a government with more young faces of less than 45 years of age and more women in the cabinet setting up a record in her government’s history, in Finland and the world. This is why Finland continue to occupy 4th position out of 149 ranked countries in economic world index. Are we expecting such government in the next two days in South Sudan? We are not copy paste what happened in Finland but for the interest of our nation Youth should be somewhere.

In conclusion, your excellencies, beside the past contributions of south Sudanese Youth during the struggle, pre- and post-independent period, beside exclusion, neglects and marginalization for all these years, beside unfulfilled SPLM pledges, I strongly believe that forming R-TGoNU (Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity) with more young faces would also expedite national unity, quick economic rejuvenation, rooting out corruption among others through the following ways;

  1. Through massive investment on young people especially this time where south Sudanese are desperate for peace, Youth can champion for peace through massive mobilization of the traditionally marginalized Youth’s voices from across dividing lines to work together as one force and rally behind the implementation of Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the republic of South Sudan.
  2. The youth’s involvement can midwife the deep-rooted mistrust and animosity among the communities through building strong cross-ethnic national healing and reconciliation as per R-ARCSS.
  3. Youth can actively advocate for fundamental and radical structural and institutional reforms in security sector such as to end the entrenching persistent, vicious cycle of violence and pervasive inter and intra communities conflicts that has devastated communities over the years.
  4. Youth’s institutional capacities, political will, legal power and infrastructural power can provide people’s long awaited basic services, protecting our borders, maintaining internal order, protecting our country against external forces and enforcing people’s policies.
  5. Our economy in ICU bed cannot take a herculean effort to get it out of the woods if young population take charge.
  6. Youth can help the government by setting up the robust principles in rooting out corruption such as guilty verdicts and jail terms, strengthening democratic principles, revive our dead institutions and increasing transparency as well as justice and accountability of public affairs.

With just less than 48 hours left for the parties to meet the extended deadline, parties will now begin preparing to summit their nominees to R-TGoNU (Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity) as per R-ARCSS. I would strongly recommend that the parties outline a robust set of principles that will make sure that the new government is formed with more young faces than ever so that at the end South Sudan achieves peaceful nation, democratic nation, inclusive future, desirable future, sustainable future and participatory future for our diversity and posterity.



CAN BE REACHED VIA EMAIL AT pandeng2005@gmail.com 

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