2 February 2011 – Although they would not be invited to join a technical committee to review the southern constitution, civil society and the media were urged today by the ruling southern party to play a role in the process.
Speaking at a Juba press briefing, the secretary of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) Secretariat for Popular and Syndicated Organizations (SPSOs), Acuil Maluth Banggol, said review committee membership was based on a presidential decree laid down on 21 January.
According to the decree, the committee would be composed of government members and not include representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) and political parties.
Some CSO participants commented that civil society would face challenges informing the public about the review process and assisting the committee to incorporate their interests without having firsthand access to its activities.
They also noted that political parties should be members of the technical committee in accordance with the All Political Parties' forum held in October 2010.
SPSOs Secretary Banggol said the technical committee would be too bulky if it were to include representatives of civil society organizations and political parties, but they could still contribute by closely following its work. "The process will be open to all political parties and civil society organizations."
He also urged civil society to popularize changes that should be made in the constitution through lobbying and advocacy. "Civil society organizations should remain independent and should not be part of the technical committee."
According to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan shall remain in force for a sovereign Southern Sudan if the outcome of the recently conducted self-determination referendum is secession.