Five months after the launching of the transitional government, we note continued and persistent delays in the establishment of a transitional national legislative assembly, the continued dispute over the governorship of Upper Nile, and the continued absence of empowered state and county administrations.
The people of South Sudan deserve a budget that is transparent and that everybody can comment upon, that reflects the new and deeply altered economic situation. Instead, the leadership of South Sudan has merely extended the provisions of a previous budget that has no legislative oversight with no information that people can discuss or see, to say where the money is going. Instead the people of South Sudan once again must wait in vain for the leadership of the government to do the right thing.They also mean that the ambitious reform agenda established by the parties in the peace agreement is languishing. We applaud the work being done by many ministries to plan for their role in implementing these reforms; however, we note that time is passing quickly with no movement on a complex array of priorities. The permanent constitutional process, economic governance reforms, and transitional justice institutions are priorities that cannot wait.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 is a very real threat to all of us, and has affected each and every one of us on how we do things every day: we wear masks, we have to watch our social distancing, we have to think more carefully on how to conduct a business with each other and in large groups. It is a time when some meetings can be done remotely, it is a time when some meetings have to be managed more carefully; but it is not a time or an excuse to stop doing what needs to be done to govern a country. The meetings of the collective presidency should not be affected by COVID-19, the council of ministers should be meeting now. The business of accountable governance must and should proceed even in these trying times.