, 05 July, 2020 / 10:08 PM
Days after South Sudan’s President appointed State Governors and Chief Administrators, a Prelate in the East-Central African nation has weighed in on the gender imbalance in the appointments and urged the Presidency to reach out to the appointed South Sudanese leaders and give a chance to women leadership.
“The President and the First Vice President should encourage the Governors to appoint more women than men in ministerial posts. They are to convince governors from their parties to appoint more women in the State Governments,” the Archbishop of South Sudan’s Juba Archdiocese, Stephen Ameyu told ACI Africa in an interview.
Women in South Sudan “would be the better element to bring the country together, to bring our parties together,” Archbishop Ameyu added during the Friday, July 3 interview.
“If women are allowed more chances, I think our societies will be more stable than now because women represent a family, which is the basic institution of the society,” he explained.
Archbishop Ameyu’s reaction follows the June 29 Presidential Decree that saw South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir appoint Governors for eight of the ten States and Chief Administrators for three other areas of Pibor, Ruweng and Abyei.
Only one woman was among the newly appointed Governors and Administrators, which goes against the provisions of the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement that stipulated a 35 percent female representation in the unity government.
It was against this backdrop that women Coalition for Peace in the world’s newest nation convened a Press Conference Thursday, July 2 during which their representatives recommended that President Kiir’s administration reconsiders “these current appointments and have women occupy their rightful positions under the 35 percent quota” as stipulated in the Revitalized Agreement, the Transitional Constitution and other legal instruments.
Speaking to ACI Africa during the July 3 interview, Archbishop Ameyu urged the parties in South Sudan’s unity Government to “be sensitive to the women's representation. When women are appointed in the government for national posts, they represent everybody.”
“If we still hold that traditional element that men are the only important people in the society, we will get it wrong,” the 56-year-old South Sudanese Prelate cautioned.
He encouraged newly appointed Governors to pay attention to urgent issues affecting the country during their three-year mandate.
The Archbishop regarded the fight against the coronavirus as a priority for the new heads of South Sudanese States and the other regions.
“The first task now is to save lives. The first thing for the government is to control this COVID-19,” Archbishop Ameyu said, and added, “We know that COVID-19 is a silent killer and it has killed many of our people including government officials.”
He continued, “The second thing would be to alleviate hunger because COVID-19 has caused hunger also among our people. The third thing is to bring security to our people because of inter-communal violence.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa