Some youths have accused the Chairman of the National Youth Union of failing to vacate the office, saying his term and that of his team has ended, a claim the Executive of the Union has rejected.
According to a petition seen by Eye Radio, the tenure of Albino Bol – who was elected in 2015 – came to an end last Friday.
The 5 points formal letter submitted to the Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Sports accused Akol of abuse of power, and also charged him for making “most of the union organs dysfunctional.”
“The council has never met, the executive does not meet, it means there is no one running the national youth union,” said John Sebit Madit, on behalf of his colleagues.
But the current leadership of the union has blamed the Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Sports for failing to provide the necessary funds to conduct a Convention that would enable new elections to replace them.
The petition further claimed that there are only 3 people surrounding Albino Akol in the running of the affairs of the union.
“The national youth union leader is intimidating the youth anytime youths call for their right,” the petition said.
The Youth Union was established through a Ministerial Order in 2011, by the then Caretaker Minister of Youth, Makuac Teny, who appointed Stephen Puoch Riek as President for a period of one year -pending the convening of a convention to elect leadership for the union.
The convention did not take place, until Lam Tungwar, current Minister of Information in Bieh State, became an Interim Chairperson, consequently organizing the first democratic youth elections involving delegates from the 10 States, Greater Pibor and Abyei.
The elections organized in 2015 at Freedom Hall in Juba, Albino Akol emerged as the winner. Mr. Albino was then tasked with the establishment of an official office for the union
In light of the accusations, the Executive body of the union issued a statement via its Facebook page admitted that -indeed their tenure came to an end on the 25th March 2019. But denied suggestions that their continued stay in office is deliberate.
“The current body came to existence through National Convention in which delegates from all states of South Sudan were invited, and the same procedure is to be employed to bring in a new body,” said Omot Odiel Chamchalla, SSNYU Secretary of Information.
Mr. Omot said they prepared a budget for a new convention and submitted it to the Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Sports -3 months ago -to enable the union to organize a forum for electing new officials.
“Following the budget submission… the ministry failed to provide the necessary fund for the conduct of the planned Convention because of the economic crisis in the country,” he said in the statement.
He added that the Executive members are ready to relinquish power “today if Convention gets funding,” adding that without funds, the constitution mandates the “Union Council to decide on the fate of the National Youth Union.”
“Nobody will ever hesitate to leave office. It is never in our intention -in any way -to remain in power. We also have bigger ambitions to achieve in life than the National youth union,” the statement concluded.
The Minister of Youth, Culture, and Sports, Nadia Arop, who received the petition said her office is still studying it.
“We are still studying the petition and then we compare it with what [laws] we have, and if [we] discover that they are the same, then we will tell them that decision is ours, not your decision,” said Nadia Arop.
She said that the Ministry will use the existing laws governing youth union rather the articles of “impeachment” being raised by the petitioners.
” They [can’t] say we are going with Article so and so…No. Now we have a petition in front of us, we want to compare that petition, because they know that all these concerns [will] end with the Ministry,” Hon. Nadia concluded.
The South Sudan National Youth Union was established in 2011 to among other things;recommend to the Ministry the participation of individuals and associations in youth activities outside South Sudan as well as coordinate with the ministry to organize regional and international youth meetings and activities.
The union also represent South Sudan in regional, continental and international assemblies upon approval of the ministry; entrench the foreign relations with friendly states and strengthen ties of cooperation between the international organizations.
Last year, the current administration of the Youth Union in collaboration with UNESCO, UNFPA, UNMISS and other partners organized a National Youth Conference bringing together over 200 youth from across the country, where a ‘Youth Declaration’ was adopted at the end of the conference.
The declaration calls on all relevant stakeholders, including but not limited to the government, the UN and development partners, to continue to support youth civic engagement and meaningful participation of youth in decision-making; strengthen vocational skills training for employment; and promote sports, arts and culture as mechanisms for building peace in the country among others.
During his inauguration in 2015, Albino Akol told the youths that he would dedicate his efforts to uniting a divided youth. This was at the height of the South Sudan internal conflict that erupted in 2013.
“Our unity is shaken by this conflict…“We need to reunite ourselves and come up with one common national agenda as the guiding objective to achieve the dream of a peaceful, inclusive, just, equitable, transparent, accountable and democratic country we want to build,” Akol said.
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