Archive for: June 2014

Not Yet Federalism for South Sudan

BY: Deng Lueth Yuang, B.A. (Econs), M.A. (Bnkg/Fin), CALGARY, CANADA, JUN/13/2013, SSN;

The Fallacy of South Sudan’s Quest for ‘good’ Governance Structure:
1. Encouragement and promotion of tribal hatred
2. Rise in intertribal and interregional conflicts
3. Secessionist tendencies
4. Entrenchment of big government and bureaucracy, Decentralization: States – counties- payams – bomas
5. Rise of high level poverty; further marginalization of the minorities
6. Sugar-coating and applying ‘cosmetic surgery’ to internal real causes of Sudan problems
7. ‘Ulterior motives’ to fight alleged Dinka domination and obsession with leadership ‘Born-to-rule’ mentality
8. South Sudan still facing so many problems that need collective leadership
9. South Sudan is already a federal state though the name ‘Federal Republic’ is not initialized – need to clip presidential powers and define the way state and other local governments should deliver to the common people
10. Confederation-like federation is a disaster for ALL South Sudanese interests

Yes, we are all South Sudanese. But we have different mothers and fathers, and above all we come from different tribes. 64 to be exact for now. We have lived in the southern region of the Sudan under the regime of Anglo-Egyptian and Khartoum Arab’s elites for centuries as one people with one origin – our Africanness.

We have seen it all during the day, during the night and time of happiness and time of sadness. But today we are separate human beings, just because we have realized we are different people with different tribes, aspirations, loyalties, understanding of power and sharing of resources.

Let me come to this beast – Federalism. If it is the ONLY solution we are striving to, then we are not seriously addressing the issues affecting us. We are just treating the symptoms of the ‘disease’ ailing South Sudan. We are sugar-coating the real menace devouring our people in our country.

The real enemy is not the governance structure to correct our deep seated problems.

Federalism is a short cut way for a don’t-care-tired of perennial situation to solve our many problems.

Before South Sudan waged the war for secession and independence, we lived under the northern regime, and we were governed by people who were not related to us. We also lived in our villages under our traditional rulers be they chiefs, kings or elders.

Did any one of us complain of misrule or domination by other tribes? Absolutely, no. We accepted to serve the master.

Let’s not imagine ‘the federalism we want’ is a good thing from the meaning of the word “go” just by looking at the countries which have adopted it. Federalism is different like the way different countries interpret ‘democracy’ in their respective countries.

It is based on the immediate and long term needs and circumstances of the given population. However, my observation tells me that the proponents of federalism are looking for ‘federalism in its pure form – strong constitutional mandates to the states, and other lower levels of government.’

I do concur it is a good form of government better than none as many south Sudanese opinators have alluded to. They have indicated the benefits outweigh the costs. Yes, it is true every form of governance structure has pros and cons.

Let’s not be deluded that “federalism is democracy per se” while decentralization is a mockery to the will of the people. The fact still remains that decentralization constitutes federalism while federalism is not ONLY decentralization. That is why many other South Sudanese argue that we already practise federalism.

Again, let’s not imagine that once we get federal governance, we are more likely to be peaceful, prosperous, development conscious, and tribally insensitive to make South Sudan a successful state.

Please, let’s think over these questions below and have logical answers before I dissect the fallacy of South Sudan quest for federalism:

1. Which form of federalism does South Sudan need – centralized vs decentralized; pure vs mixed/hybrid; Western or African?
2. If federalism is causing jitters among certain people and communities, why don’t we improve the existing decentralised unitary structure?
3. Why not, one state with more resources and powers devolved to the lower level units?
4. The most important: Why are we not introducing proportional representation democracy within federalism at all levels of government?
5. Why not, we amend the constitution to claw back the powers of the imperial president, if he is the problem?
6. Why are we not getting rid of these old recycled leaders who every time put us at loggerhead with one another?
7. Why are we rushing for something untested on our land, South Sudan?
8. Is it justifiable, because of power and resources control?
9. Why are we so obsessed with short term solutions to our chronic problems?
10. Can it be a vicious cycle that the states demanded federalism; counties, payams, bomas and individuals will, in the future, also demand federalism?

Let me relive you through present day role models of federal governance. I will pick two at least from each continent to show how federalism in its pure form we S. Sudanese crave is a fallacy.

In North America, Canada and US are the two biggest federal democracies. If you look at the history of their coming into being, you will understand that ‘pure’ federalism comes with costs.

In Canada, Quebec province has been an agitating kid looking for secession. There has also been numerous regionalism issues especially the Prairie Provinces or the western region where I currently live.

The US also have had the same problems in the past where the southern states had tendencies to secede from the United States and form their own country. There have also been jurisdictional issues.

In Africa, we have seen Nigeria and South Africa exhibiting some of the symptoms of hurried federations. Nigeria is facing an internal strife between the two regions – the north and the south. Call it ‘clash of the civilizations’ between the forces of Boko Haram Islamic fundamentalists and the pro-western southern government.

South Africa is a hell for its own people. A wide gap has been created by them ‘somehow federation’ they instituted. The country is nursing social stratification between the rich who are mainly the elite blacks, Asians and whites, and the poor majority who are black Africans.

Our neighbour hosting our peace, Ethiopia claims to be a federation but it is undemocratic and the regions have no powers or privileges whatsoever to challenge the national government.

In Europe, federalism has given some regions more powers than the others. UK, for example, favours England and Wales as the most powerful entities in the UK federation. Secessional tendencies are seen in Scotland which will vote for self-independence this September.

Northern Ireland is another dangling kid kicking for survival in the English Union. Spain Basque, Catalan and are few examples.

In the Middle East or Arab world, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is autocratic, militaristic, undemocratic and monarchic. If you go to UAE, they are undemocratic, monarchic and autocratic.

In the South America, Argentina and Venezuela are two countries facing political and economic upheavals because of federalism. Argentina has become too big to manage. A lot of bureaucracy going on and hence very costly to manage. Venezuela is a federal state with no freedom for her own people.

In Asia, India is a big democracy on paper but the fruits of its federal structure has not helped more than 1.6 billion people where more than four-fifth live on less than dollar a day. It has not removed the caste system, bourgeoisie or few capital owners, and the kleptocratic leadership from running the affairs of the nation.

Pakistan, another federacy, is in a state of quagmire. Al-Qaida, Taliban and Islamism are actively engaging the Pakistan government and recruiting home ground jihadists.

Those are a few highlights to shed light into the issues awaiting us ahead if we rush to force federalism as a better alternative to our current issues.

Our current issues:
—are not tribes but individuals;
—are not regions but leaders;
—are not power and resources but services and accountability;
—is not Dinkocracy but tribal mindsets or myths about tribe called Dinka;
—are not the presidential decrees but the noxious constitution;
—is not the SPLA we know, but the bunches and scraps of warlords and militias;
—is not the rebellious murderer but presidential amnesty;
—are not the youths but the senile;
—are not the innocent citizens but the money/power hungry men rebelling day in, day out, and the list goes on.

The real long-lasting solution is finding solutions to all of these problems.

In Conclusion, we all need federalism but the timing is not right. It starts within our own families that we have rights, powers and privileges to ‘have and own things, do those things your own way and do them by your own.’

That is the essence of federacy. But if we rush it, it will be an exercise in futility, a ticking time bomb and a harsh lesson to learn, that America or Europe is not Africa. We have to be ‘federal’ in our own locality.

The contributor is Deng Lueth Yuang, B.A. (Econs), M.A. (Bnkg/Fin).
Founder & CEO, CEFA, a public think tank on economics and financial issues. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Why Power-sharing between Kiir & Machar isn’t a solution to S. Sudanese’ Crisis

By: John Bith Aliap, Adelaide, AUSTRALIA, JUN/12/2014, SSN;

The Rep. of S. Sudan – which is the youngest nation on earth – has been gripped by unimaginable crisis, a situation that sends think tanks, regional and international leaders, academics and experts to shop for various solutions.

Riek Machar – a controversial figure in S. Sudanese’ politics – has in the last few months made a series of demands. Among them is a power-sharing government in an attempt to end his seven-month old rebellion, but finding a workable solution appears to be a mind-blowing exercise for concerned leaders.

This article seeks to explain why power-sharing deal which now hangs on IGAD’s lips is not an ideal solution to solve S. Sudanese’ crisis.

As the crisis reaches a tipping point as we speak, the regional leaders under the banner of IGAD are now considering the power-sharing government between Kiir and Machar’s rival groups, but does this deal hold weight to end the crisis?

The answer depends on which side of equation you’re in, but in my view, it doesn’t. The two men – Kiir and Machar – have recently put on the latest fashion of power-sharing deal. They have agreed on Tuesday this week to forge a transitional government within a 60-day deadline as well as completing the dialogue process within the same period on what, how, when and who would participate in the up-coming power-sharing/transitional government …. whichever way you can call it.

While IGAD’s leaders are considering to give a portion of power to Riek Machar and his loyalists so they can quench their leadership’s thirst in a well-intentioned agreement, “power-sharing”, this move contradicts the principles of democracy and it adds salt into a fresh wounds.

IGAD’s leaders seem to be unaware that power-sharing is not something new in S. Sudan. It’s been tried many times and it produced no results.

For example, most of current rebels’ commanders including rebel chief Riek Machar who now marshals the rebellion have in the past been integrated into the government under the power-sharing deal, but has anything changed in S. Sudan as a result of their integration into the government? No!

Their integration has in turn pushed the country into the abyss.

Power-sharing has been widely used in Africa over the past two decades as a formula to managing political conflicts and crises. It has been rolled out in many African countries such as Angola, Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Comoros Islands, Congo, Coute d’Ivore, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

It has been accorded with special status to the extent that discussions of potential power-sharing are carried out even before the elections that are expected to be controversial are conducted, but despite its popularity as a conflict resolution instrument, its effectiveness is questionable.

Most countries that have used power-sharing to resolve their conflicts have not achieved any long-lasting stability nor have they been able to establish a credible system of multiparty politics.

Power-sharing shouldn’t be on IGAD’s list of solutions. IGAD leaders need to be crystally told that they should find a better solution than power-sharing.

Riek Machar’s political thuggery and slaughter of innocent people should not be rewarded with power-sharing of any type. Doing so equates to creating a blue print for thugs/murders ascension to power.

IGAD doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that S. Sudan is a baby nation and it needs a strong democratic foundation which shouldn’t be done on a basis of power-sharing – and rewarding coup staging power hungry individuals like Riek Machar with “power sharing” is a gross mistake.

What if other leaders put on Machar’s shoes and threaten a civil war unless they’re given some power… then what? That’s a dangerous path.

IGAD is setting a dangerous precedence in Africa when it decides to go for the power-sharing route…why should Kiir – who’s a democratically elected leader share power with Riek Machar who cannot contain his greed for power?

Since IGAD’s historic adoption of a co-presidency to end the post–election violence in most of African countries, there have been calls in other parts of Africa for the same.

My contention is that this is not only the easy way out of a political problem but also the wrong solution.

Riek Machar staged a coup against a democratically elected government and he brands a coup’s accusation as a fake and then insists on a coalition presidency.

A mutiny has taken place. Riek Machar has more or less claimed partial responsibility by calling on soldiers to bring down Kiir-led democratically elected government.

Riek Machar has a history of mutual tribal hatred and mistrust and expecting him to share the presidency with Kirr – who ranks top on his death list, consigns S. Sudan into a perpetual political limbo.

If Machar has some specific issues, he should bring them to the table or else he must be told, in no uncertain terms, that he has to wait for the next elections. Machar should not get any “inch of power” when he doesn’t deserve even a crumb.

For now, what IGAD should be pursuing is how to convince Kiir to pardon Riek Machar or allow him safe passage into exile.

It’s wrong for individuals who feel aggrieved to cause chaos in the hope of getting power. It’s wrong to seek power using selfish means at the expense of ordinary and innocent civilians.

It will never be right for the so-called African leaders to kill people en-mass to satiate their greed for power.

In conclusion, power-sharing deal is not encouraging news to democracy in S. Sudan and in other African countries. IGAD has set a wrong precedent by encouraging power-sharing deal in S. Sudan.

IGAD needs to make a U-turn and support people’s government of S. Sudan since cohabitation between Kiir and Machar under the proposed power-sharing government is a recipe for more troubles.

Power-sharing is killing democracy in S. Sudan and to encourage democracy, IGAD’s leaders should discourage this trouble-prone deal and back the government and this is the only way democracy can take hold in S. Sudan as a new country.

IGAD should abandon its current push for power-sharing and instead use a dual approach “using both negotiations and military intervention” in the form of peacekeeping mission to end the crisis.

John Bith Aliap can be reached at

Bravo Equatorians for support of Federalism

Quote “Those who opposed to the idea of Federalism will and cannot not be allowed to deny Equatorians their call for Federalism” Clement Wani Konga, Governor, CES.

By: Bol Khan Rom, SOUTH SUDAN, JUN/12/2014, SSN;

The people of Greater Equatoria Region deserve thousands congratulations for having openly in broad daylight declared their embracing of a Federal system of governance. Many people took Equatorians for granted that they are just the kind of human beings in South Sudan who would never ever say NO for any tabled idea even the one which isn’t in their interest.

Particularly, in a sensitive or threatening atmosphere like this. Unpredictably, here they are, openly saying NO at the watch of the destroying machine.

Ironically, it is not a light burden as I said, nowadays in Juba for one to express his/her dire needs bravely in front of sitting individuals.

Squarely, the three states’ Governors of Greater Equatoria region together with their governments’ officials and all grassroots have unanimously declared to go for federalism.

By summing this up, Greater Upper Nile region is also for federalism. Approximately, 50% of Greater Bhar el Ghazal region has also decided to go for federalism.

Then South Sudan is here for Federal system of governance. There should not be a question about that.

Clearly, a need for federalism is not necessarily an expulsion of other citizens from Equatoria or ways for certain regions to control their own resources. It is for these reasons that federal system of governance had been a grave demand by all South Sudanese for years of struggle.

So, Equatorians cannot be categorized as rebels just because they demand Federalism. It is not even the first time for Equatorians to favor or call for Federalism.

Vividly, after Independence Equatorians held regional conferences in late 2011, 2012 & 2013 consecutively and called for federalism.

Alas, their calls had always been turned down by the government of South Sudan. Because, some people within the bureaucracy call it a new-kokora (division) or regionalism.

However, during the closure of the last Equatoria conference in 2013 it was accepted by the government for the first time. Dr. Riek Machar, the then Vice President accepted the call but implementation was not made.

Afterwards, the bureaucracy had to oppose itself on how South Sudan can be governed peacefully. And it has embroiled itself alone into present abyss, promptly led to peace negotiations in Addis Ababa.

This is also a golden and last chance for other South Sudanese and Equatorians to forward their demands that had been turned down by the self embattled bureaucracy.

Greater Equatoria, Greater Upper Nile and fifty percent of Greater Bhar El Ghazal region are for federal system. This was an accessed fact.

More so, Federalism isn’t a means of dividing the people of South Sudan as it has been misinterpreted.

Rather, a means of dividing the powers, functions of government between a central government and a specified number of geographically defined regional jurisdictions.

A federal system falls somewhere between the unitary and confederate forms in the method whereby it divides powers among levels of government.

It has a minimum of two governmental levels, each of which derives its powers directly from the people (not from person or clique) and each of which can act directly on the people within its jurisdiction without permission from any other authority.

Each level of Government is supreme in the powers assigned to it, and each is protected by a constitution from being destroyed by the other.

Thus federalism is a means of dividing the powers and functions of government between a central government and a specified number of geographically defined regional (state) jurisdictions.

So it is not a call that divides the South Sudan according to tribes or regions. Instead it is a way of drawing a clear separation of powers or protecting constitutions of different levels of government from being destroyed by other.

Even in one region, Greater Bhar el Ghazal, for instance; the powers of NBG State will be divided with that of WBG state. Each of these states government is supreme in the powers assigned to it.

Mr. X or Y cannot interfere within the jurisdiction of one of these two states for the simple reason that they share Greater Bhar el Gazal Region. No!

Again, if the people of NBG state have elected Gen. Paul Malong as their governor in elections, Paul Malong must not be removed by Dr. Dhieu Mathok the President of central Government, for example, who would be seated in Ramciel, the National Capital.

There will be no interference from other levels of government at all. This is how federal system works/separates powers. And that is why it is being demanded by majority of South Sudanese.

Hence, it should not be twisted as Kokora—division or something else. It is the same federal system South Sudanese have been searching for, since 1950s.

Therefore, to the best of my knowledge Equatorians are not demanding it because they want to target or eliminate particular region/tribe based on proposed interim constitution. Nor it is a mechanism to join rebellion.

Australians are not Americans but both nations use or share an ideology of federalism. Likewise, rebels shouldn’t be seen as Equatorians and Equatorians shouldn’t be considered as rebels—Greater Upper Nilians for reason that they both demand Federalism.

After all, Equatorians are human beings in a democratic country, so they cannot swallow their dire need simply because somebody is opposed to it/somebody is demanding it somewhere.

IGAD led peace process in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, must be utilized by all stakeholders of South Sudan to settle and achieve what our bureaucracy failed to implement, right after independence in 2011.

That is, an equitable sharing of national resources; federal system of governance and genuine devolution of powers.

“How many of South Sudanese need federal system of governance to be installed in up coming permanent constitution?” This question was accessed by IGAD—mediators and the result was a populace need to install federal system of governance in South Sudan.

All Greater Equatoria and Greater Upper Nile are the leading regions in favor of federalism. Additionally, Greater Bhar El Gahzal favors the idea with about 50%.

Moreover, with this statistic in mind, South Sudanese people by majority have declared support for federalism. Paved by Equatorians, for if Equatorians had decided to side with the opposite party, ideologically; federalism would have failed legally/democratically.

Because, Greater Upper Nile alone plus 50% of Greater Bhar el Gahazal could only give us less than 50+1 of the (majority) whole country population needed. BRAVO EQUATORIANS FOR YOUR BOLD DECISION!!

The author is on

Twi Leaders, History Distortion & its Implication for South Sudan (Part I)

BY: Kuir ë Garang, CALGARY, CANADA, JUN/10/2014, SSN;

What would you do to leaders who want to benefit politically by sacrificing the truth about their own ethnic history? How would you call leaders who advise young people to forget about their history because it’s inconveniencing the falsehood and the political cocoon they’ve built for their selfish interests?

How would you trust leaders who can’t unite their own counties but dream of being national leaders in South Sudan? Where in the world does an adult tell young, enthusiastic, truth-seeking people to never, ever talk about their own history?

Would you trust a leader who tells his own kids to not be proud of their authentic history and embrace a vilifying, demeaning reality? Too many questions, I know!

Unfortunately, this is exactly what Twi leaders of Jonglei state tell their young people and the less informed populace.

Writers read to authenticate or defend what they write! As I continue to grow, read and discover realities about myself and where I come from, I continue to get appalled at how distorted my own history has become and how leaders from my own county (Twi) are sleeping on the truth in order to protect their interests.

If these leaders are decided on destroying our history for their interests, then I’ll expose them to South Sudanese in order to protect my daughter from an impending future in which people pride in falsehood because it’s beneficial. She’ll grow up knowing the value of truth and respect for others.

Destroy our history and we’ll destroy you! Mess with our history and you’re messing with my daughter’s authentic pride and sense of self. And that, my people, is what Europeans and Arabs did to us! Who can allow that AGAIN?!

Some Arabs and the Europeans distorted our sense of pride and historical truth. Why would I want my own leaders to do the same?

Historically, we’ve always been the Twi Dinka, Nyarweng Dinka, Bor Dinka, Hol Dinka, Rek Dinka, Aliap Dinka, Thoi Dinka, Rut Dinka, Twic Dinka, Agar Dinka, Malwal Dinka, Ciec Dinka…etc. That was beautiful not divisive!

Administrative realities have distorted everything so many people refer collectively to Twi, Nyarweng, Hol and Bor as Dinka Bor. How can Bor be a subset of itself?

So Moulana (Mr.) Abel Alier and Dr. John Garang De Mabior are considered to both be Dinka Bor; or Kuol Manyang and Majak D’Agoot are all considered to be Dinka Bor. Dr. Majak and Dr. John are Twi Dinka while Honourable Kuol Manyang and Moulana Abel Alier are Bor Dinka.

This was true in the past and is now true; however, politics and personal interests have distorted it. It’s therefore high time someone who has nothing to lose but to point out the truth speaks up.

As a writer who does research, there’s no way in hell I can disregard documented history that correlate the words of our ancestors. I owe it to my daughter and the future generation. (See the attached list of readings for more information!)

The Twi people
The Twi Section of the Jieeng of Jonglei State is currently housed by ‘Twic East County.’ Regrettably, these people have been shuttled between different administrative districts from the colonial period to the present to the point that their ethnic reality has been distorted by their own leaders and the outsiders that are feeding on what these leaders present.

Of notable districts that the Twi people have been part of are the former ‘Bor District’ since the early 20th century and the former ‘Kongor District’ from the 1970s until the SPLA war.

The Bor District was named after the Bor people, the now inhabitants of the ‘Bor County.’ Kongor District was named after one section of the Twi Dinka. The use of the name of a given section within the larger community has created problems.

Naming the District of Twi, Kongor created many problems as other Twi sections didn’t want their district named after one of their fellow sections of Twi. However, Kongor was also a government post named after the section of Kongor so the administrators were naming the district after the town; which unfortunately was the name of one section of the Twi.

It’s good to remember that the Kongor section never referred to the whole of the Twi people as ‘Dinka Kongor.’

Unfortunately, the same problem came up with the Bor District in a slightly different manner. The district was named after the Bor people, however; other Jieeng sections who are not Bor were included in the Bor District. Twi, Nyarweng and Hol were included in the District.

While they were all called the Dinka of Bor District (previously Southern or South Eastern Dinka) it has now become a general knowledge to some people that they are all Bor people. Bor people are the ones who now inhabit ‘Bor County.’

The name Bor applied to Twi, Nyarweng and Hol because of their inclusion in the ‘Bor District’ not because they are the same section of Dinka.

The four sub-tribes speak different dialects (verify that for yourself). This inclusion in Bor District of Twi, Nyarweng and Hol has caused a lot of confusion among them with some people arguing that they are all Bor and some arguing otherwise.

Since we no longer have Bor District as a reference point, it would be ridiculous to call Twi, Dinka of Bor. It would have made sense to call Twi Dinka of Bor District if we had a District called Bor that includes them administratively.

The rightful Bor people (dialectally or ethnolinguistically) are the current inhabitants of Bor County.

So the next time you call Kuir ë Garang, Madam Rebecca Nyandeeng, Dr. Majak D’Agoot or Dr. Lual A. Achuek ‘Dinka Bor’, then know that you are not only falling into a falsified reality; you are also showing that you don’t know much about the people of the late Dr. John Garang De Mabior.

Dr. John was from Awulian section of Twi in the now Nyuak Payam. Dr. John spoke a totally different Jieeng dialect as opposed to what Honorable Kuol Manyang speaks.

Dialectally or ethno-linguistically, Dr. John would ask: “ŋic kiir bï wo lɔ kuaŋ thïn?” and Moulana Abel Alier would say “Nyic ciir bïï wɔ lɔ kuaŋ thin?” And this means in English: “Do you know the river in which we are going to swim in?” Verify that for yourself!

‘Greater Bor’
Since the former inhabitants of the Bor District (Bor, Twi, Nyarweng and Hol) have their separate counties, (Bor County, Twic East County & Duk County) the leaders in these communities decided that a common name was required for reasons known to them.

And against all logic, they settled for a name of just one section among them: Bor. ‘Greater Bor’ was therefore chosen as supposedly a unifying name.

Since there’s no longer a District that includes the four communities, one wonders what area is being qualified as ‘greater’? We only have Bor County which carries the name Bor and also the State Capital.

If it’s Bor County that’s being qualified as ‘greater’ then I fail to understand how it includes the other two counties. If the reference is to the former Bor District then why not ‘Greater Kongor?’

And why would they invoke an old, defunct administrative district that was left by Twi, Nyarweng and Hol over forty years ago?

The leaders in these counties know very well the ethnic and linguistic realities of the four communities. It’s known internally and there’s a load of historical records to prove it. However, Twi leaders believe that it’s better to be nice for political reasons than to be truthful.

They know that Twi is a separate ethnic identity; however, these leaders want to sacrifice Twi’s history because they believe telling the world the authentic Twi history and reality would anger the Bor people. It’s therefore better for the Twi history to be sacrificed. Too bad for them! History is documented!

The mere inclusion of the Twi people in the Bor District is being used to change Twi’s ethnic identity. Does inclusion in a given administrative district change people’s ethnic identity?

Some of these leaders think that because outsiders have used the name ‘Dinka Bor’ to collectively refer to the four sections of Jieeng of Jonglei then we have to just let it go that way.

Is that how history is supposed to be? And the main motivation for such a state of mind is that correcting such a mistake is going to cause division and misunderstanding so ‘just let it go!’

Just imagine this scenario. Galuak, Lado, Ojullu and Sam decide to live in a two bedroom apartment that was previously rented by Galuak alone. Galuak has been renting the apartment for two years. The four friends now live together in that same apartment.

After a year together, Ojullu suggests that they start a business and so a good name was required. Lado suggested that the business would be called ‘Galuak Enterprise.’ Sam and Ojullu were surprised. Galuak didn’t mind the name because it’s his name after all. Lado’s logic was that the house they’ve been living in has always been called ‘Galuak’s apartment’ and it would cause problems as Galuak would feel his name is being rejected should they create an inclusive name. Sam and Ojullu suggested the business be given a name that reflects and respects all the four friends. They also didn’t understand why their collective business should only carry Galuak’s name.

This is the same case with Bor, Twi, Hol and Nyarweng: ‘Greater Bor’ for all of them! While it was bad enough that they were all included in a district (by the Brits) that carried a name of only one of them (Bor) in the past, the leaders are doing the same now: using the name Bor to unify the four sub-tribes. This has no logical sense and has no historical basis.

‘Greater Bor’ not only distorts the history of the four peoples, it also portrays the problem of opportunism in South Sudan. If there’s such a thing as ‘Greater Bor’ then what’s its dialect and what’s its headquarters in Jonglei State? And why not ‘Greater Kongor’, ‘Greater Mongalla’ or ‘Greater Duk’ since some of us were part of these administrative centres in the past?

Historical Distortions and Opportunism
The good question is why would South Sudanese be interested in the history of these people? Should we not be concerned about national issues not these local matters?

First, there’s nothing trivial about a people’s history. It’s Twi people now but it could be you tomorrow. Would you allow your history to be distorted when you’ve learned beyond any reasonable doubt that it was and continues to be distorted for political interests?

Besides, this small sub-tribe, the Twi, of Jieeng of Jonglei has produced exceptional and national leaders since the first Anyanya war to the present. In the past, we had Mading de Garang, Akuot Atem de Mayen, Arok Thon Arok, Dr. John Garang de Mabior among others. These were not just leaders; they were leaders of national significance.

Now, we have among the Twi leaders, Dr. Lual A. Deng (former minister of petroleum in Sudan’s government of national unity), Dr. Majak D’Agoot (former Sudan’s deputy for national security and later, South Sudan’s deputy minister for defence), Madam Rebecca Nyandeeng (former minister of Roads and Transportation), Elijah Malok Aleng (former governor of South Sudan Central Bank), Atem Garang Dekuek (former deputy Speaker in the Sudan’s national assembly and government Chief Whip in South Sudan National Assembly), Deng Dau Malek… etc.

These latter leaders know that the history of their people was distorted and continue to be distorted; however, they are helping in its distortion.

In a mind-boggling problem, they avoid inquisitive Twi youth who have come to extensively study the history of the Twi people and relate it to what they know and how it differs from what these leaders maintain.

These Twi leaders are afraid to come out and correct the distortion because it would compromise their standing in the eyes of the Bor people or what?… I don’t know.

How can you trust leaders who mislead the uninformed and avoid the informed youth in their own community? What good would these leaders do to South Sudan?

How would such leaders have the interest of South Sudan in heart if they don’t care about their own counties? Not only have they let down their own counties in terms of development, they are helping in the complete destruction of their own history.

We’ve implored them to correct the mistakes but they are either dismissive or escapists. “Just let it go! We can’t do anything now!” they say! Just imagine someone from your own community telling you to stop reading or toss your history in favor of someone else’s truth!

Unity and Division
These leaders believe that talking about the real history of Twi and correcting it would cause disunity. Would you sacrifice your history for the sake of unity? Everyone in the world knows the value of history. No one would hate you or believe you’re being divisive when you correct your own history.

Unity under falsehood is dangerous for the younger generation and a bad precedent in South Sudan. Falsehood or Truth can be covered up but it doesn’t last!

Slave traders in Europe tried it; Europeans colonialists tried it; American segregationists tried it; South African Racist regime tried it… No one can prosper on a concocted falsehood.

Bor, Twi, Nyarweng and Hol, as I’ve always said, have created a bond that’ll always be there. They are brothers and sisters and will always be! We don’t have to distort some histories or appease some people to maintain unity though. There’s no way their unity would be compromised if Bor people understand precisely that what is being corrected are historical mistakes.

However, many Bor people know what I’m saying is the truth; however, like Galuak above, it’s their name being promoted after all.

However, Bor people and leaders are not the problem. They can’t correct Twi’s history if Twi people themselves don‘t want to do it. Twi leaders and elders are the problem. And they are the problem because political benefits have become more important than their people’s authentic histories.
Would you allow such leaders in your own community or see them handling national affairs? If they don’t care about their own why would one think they’d care about South Sudanese?

If they treat their youth like idiots, how do you think they’d treat South Sudanese youth?

Implication for South Sudan
The current crisis was brought about by cooking up events and distortion of information for political interest. We don’t want leaders like these in South Sudan. It’s up to you in your own county to see if your leaders have the interest of the people at heart or they think for themselves.

If we had leaders who care about the interest of the people, we would not have the current crisis and thousands of civilians would have not died.

Let’s hold leaders accountable! Let no one destroy our histories…AGAIN!

Sample readings on the history of Twi people

1- Johnson, Douglas H., The Roots Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars: Peace or Truce, Kampala,: Fountain Publishers, 2011, pp.65 & 92
2- Will, C. A, The Upper Nile Province Hand Book: a report on peoples and government in the Southern Sudan, 1931, New York: Oxford University, Press, 1995
3- Collins, Robert O, Land Beyond the Rivers : The Southern Sudan 1898-1918, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971
4- Daly, M. W. Empire on the Nile The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan 1898-1934, Cambridge: University Press,1986 pp.146-147,149 & 151
5- Kelly, Raymond Case, The Nuer Conquest: The Structure and Development of an Expansionist System, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1985 pp.58 & 161 & 258
6- See Sudan Notes and Records Volume XI (1928) ‘The Cult of Deng’ by C. A. Willis, p.196
7- Sudan Notes and Records, Volume XVII (1934), Part 1 ‘The Religious and Spiritual Beliefs of the Bor Dinka’ by R. T Johnson, pp. 126 &.128.
8- Honea, Kenneth, The Deng Cult and it’s Connections with the Goddess Aciek Among the Dinka, Vienna: Wiener Volkerkundliche Mitteilungen 2, no. 1, 1954, p.17
9- Howell, P, Lock, M & Cobb, S, The Jonglei Canal: Impact and Opportunity, Cambridge: UP, 1988, p.206

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet living in Canada. For contact visit

Pres. Kiir violates the May 2014 Addis Ababa agreement


Dr Riek Machar, the leader of SPLM-in-Opposition narrowly escaped death on 15th December 2013 at the hands of President Kiir’s private militia popularly known as Dootku Beny (Koch Beny). Since then Riek in my assessment, give or take, seems to have become more understanding of the flaws of Juba politics.

Unlike the Riek of pre-December 2013, the new Riek appears to live up to his word. Riek has offered the people of South Sudan democracy and federalism in opposition to Dinkocracy and the phony decentralisation in Juba. So far his offer appears to hold.

It is highly possible that Riek’s unpleasant experience in the hands of President Salvatore Kiir has jolted him and turned him into a pragmatist. Riek now seems to display a mature understanding and care towards others. We do not have to go far to look for evidence.

Riek on fleeing Juba on 15th December 2013 to save his life and set up resistance with others against the tyrannical regime of President Kiir, he prioritised and rightly so, the safety and lives of his colleagues who remained in Juba.

In the first talks under the mediators (IGAD) in January 2014, Riek honourably made the release of his colleagues (dubbed SPLM G11) detained in Juba a condition in the talks. Riek faithfully stuck to this condition which saved the SPLM G11 from the gallows of President Kiir.

Shamelessly, the SPLM G11 once freed and out, shunned RieK without acknowledging the great effort he exerted to save them. This in itself is a topic for another day.

No one in this ungrateful group of SPLM G11 should ever dream of leading the country as they seem to fantasise with the idea now. Their reputation is tainted. Their behaviour unsurprisingly symbolises the rot in Juba of which they have always been a part and parcel of.

The traits of good leadership Riek appears to have exhibited so far have unarguably shown that he is fast developing his capacity in this area. This is something he was deficient in pre December 2013. The President himself up to now is devoid of such traits.

However one of Riek’s main reasons for demanding the release of his colleagues was to enable them gain their personal freedom and also to join him in the talks in Addis Ababa.

Certainly as his negotiators but since the SPLM G11 distanced themselves from him, Riek happily accepted for them to join the talks as an independent group with a varied opinion. This again shows that Riek may be taking his newly adopted democratic values seriously this time. A credit to him.

Unlike Riek, President Kiir on the other hand is entrenching his dictatorship. He is muzzling the media in the country and violently preventing legitimate delegates from attending the Addis Ababa talks.

The agreement of 9th May 2014 signed between President Kiir and Riek obliges participation of all stakeholders to find solutions for the chaos in the country. In line with the agreement, IGAD extended invitations to opposition political parties and civil society organisations.

Most unfortunately, in direct violation of the agreement, the security operatives of President Kiir prevented the UDF team from boarding the flight to attend the talks in Addis Ababa.

Why is Kiir’s government violating the agreement? Why specifically is Kiir’s government singling out the only vocal opposition party in the country? Is it because the leader of this party is not a Jieng? Or, is it because the leader of this particular party was in detention for two years on unfounded charges?

If the leader of UDF and his colleagues are being denied the right to free movement because he was in detention, what about the SPLM G11? Why did President Kiir not violate the right of free movement of the SPLM G11?

Why has he singled out Justice Peter Sule’s party and his group? Would it be wrong to assume that Justice Peter Sule’s right of free movement is being violated because he is an Equatorian?

The oppressive treatment meted on Justice Peter Sule is a clear evidence to the world that President Kiir and his government are not only in violation of Justice Sule’s right of free movement but they are also in serious breach of the 9th May 2014 agreement which President Kiir signed.

What President Kiir has not worked out is that this refusal to let Justice Sule fly to Addis Ababa as invited by IGAD proves the regime’s undemocratic and violent nature.

This obviously is going further to tarnish the image of the regime to its sympathisers and the international community beyond repair.

If President Kiir wants to regain credibility, the government needs to publicly apologise and immediately facilitate Justice Sule’s travel to Ethiopia for the talks. Anything less than this is not going to help them, especially after Michael Makuei, the regime’s voice has been caught red handed in peddling lies on the issue.

Now Riek has an opportunity to polish himself up as one of the few democratic leaders of South Sudan in waiting. If Riek can seize the opportunity and repeat what he did with the SPLM G7 and SPLM G4 to protect the rights of United Democratic Front (UDF) team to Addis Ababa, such action will in my view cement his democratic credentials.

Riek has on numerous occasions stated that he wants all the stakeholders to take part in the talks. The opportunity has now arisen for him to demonstrate his seriousness over the issue.

It is worth noting that Riek endorsed the agreement and to a large extent he has honoured it, save in situations of self defence. Riek should now as the leader who is calling for democracy come out forcefully to defend the principles of democracy being violated by President Kiir in relation to the agreement.

Riek needs to ask for the participation of UDF party team as invited to the talks in Addis Ababa. This is to first show conclusively to the world that he is honouring the agreement and would not collude with the tyrannical regime of President Kiir in excluding any stakeholder(s) from the talks.

Secondly, to bolster his image as a statesman who wants to see a genuine solution emerge from the talks whereby nobody is excluded through abuse of state power.

Thirdly, to win more support from the doubting South Sudanese and members of the international community.

Fourthly, because the talks in Addis Ababa is the beginning of the healing process itself through dialogue which should be promoted for the greater good of South Sudan.

Fifthly, because he needs to be seen to show leadership in protecting the liberties and rights of the stakeholders and through it the same to the entire people of South Sudan.

If Riek does the above, no doubt he will score a huge victory against the oppressive regime in Juba. This will raise his stature as argued by Margaret Akulia in her article titled, ‘To Dr. Machar: Adopt Nuer egalitarianism as your manifesto & watch your popularity skyrocket!’

In fighting to create a democratic South Sudan, Riek’s actions in defence of democratic principles greatly matters.

Noam Chomsky, the renowned American philosopher illustrates the importance of action elsewhere by arguing, “that a new society arises out of the actions that are taken to form it, and the institution and the ideology it develops are not independent of those action; in fact they are heavily coloured by them, they are shaped by them in many way.

And one can expect that actions that are cynical and vicious, whatever their intent, will inevitably condition and deface the quality of the ends that are achieved.” There it is, words without action means nothing, absolutely nothing. It is the action that concretises the words and ideology.

President Kiir’s government is his own worst enemy. Instead of honouring the agreement of 9th May 2014, crudely it tries to shut up voices of the stakeholders through oppression. The stakeholders now as in the case of Riek have a chance to confront the Juba regime and force it to behave.

All the stakeholders now in Addis Ababa need to complain about the violent exclusion of their colleagues from these important talks. They need to show clearly that the government in Juba is in violation of 9th May 2014 agreement.

This is the golden opportunity for them to rediscover themselves and find their voices as the leader of the Youth Union has done. Please see, ‘National Youth Union Leader: Intimidation Tactics by Kiir regime will not break the resilience of the people of South Sudan’
Right from the beginning of this crisis, IGAD failed to demonstrate impartiality and leadership in mediating the conflict.

Uganda, a member country of IGAD took sides in the conflict. It threw its weight behind the regime in Juba. President Yoweri Museveni took liberties to make damaging statements in support of President Kiir murderous regime in the name of IGAD.

For example, Museveni referred to the meeting of the heads of states of IGAD countries in Nairobi as his source of authority.

Museveni’s open unconditional support (militarily, politically and morally) for Kiir’s discredited murderous regime undermined the role of IGAD as an impartial mediator.

What was expected from the chairman of IGAD at the time was a clear statement to distance itself from Museveni’s unethical adventures to shore up a criminal regime conducting ethnic cleansing against a section of its society.

That is one aspect of IGAD’s failure. This was then followed by its poor strategy to revive the SPLM in order for it to lord over the people of South Sudan.

Here IGAD unknowingly sided with the very organisation responsible for all sorts of human rights abuses in South Sudan. This clearly showed that IGAD was and is still not well versed about South Sudan political realities. Again here, its own conduct exposed its shortcomings in handling the peace talks.

With all the above, there is still hope for IGAD to salvage its reputation. It should now take its duty seriously and confront the regime in Juba about the oppressive nature of its dealing with the stakeholders.

For the sake of its credibility, IGAD should ensure that all the stakeholders invited to the talks are allowed free and unhindered passage to Addis Ababa.

As with regards to the international community, the time for more stinging sanctions against the regime has come. Juba should not be let off here for its brazen oppression of the stakeholders and violation of the agreement. There must be penalties for this uncouth behaviour.

In ending this piece, the humiliation of the UDF team (as reported in the media) at Juba airport is wrong. It symbolises the rampant misuse of power by the regime. This should not be accepted because it undermines the agreement of 9th May 2014.

It also denies the forum in Addis Ababa the invaluable contribution from all the stakeholders. For this particular reason, believers in democracy need to fight to protect the democratic rights of those abused.

IGAD and the international community need to put their foot down firmly and hold Juba to account for their breach of the agreement.

If they let Juba get away with this abuse, then they must be prepared for further obstructive behaviour from President Kiir which ultimately could destroy the peace talks leaving South Sudanese with no option but an ugly armed resistance and further loss of life.
[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul

Condemning Kiir’s facist regime: PR from MPs & SPLA Officers

Nairobi- Kenya
7th June 2014



We take this opportunity to humbly inform the press and the Public in general that we have decided to condemn Salva Kiir’s dictatorial regime in Juba and join the forces of opposition for many reasons among which are the following:

1. The Parliament in Juba is a rubber stamp institution of Dictator Salva Kiir Mayardid. It is totally controlled and dominated by the President. He appoints the leadership of the Parliament (The Speakers, the deputy Speakers, Chairpersons of specialized standing committees etc). He also appointed 60% of the members of Council of states and 48% of the National Legislative Assembly. Important motions such as those against massive corruption are killed and the proposers are threatened with death e.g.

• The stealing of 4.2 billion dollars by 75 government Ministers and other important government officials; the dura (sorghum) saga whereby 6 billion pounds of the government were shared by corrupt tribesmen etc.

• The President dictates on parliament when it comes to the vetting of his appointees for Ministerial positions, the cases in point are Telar Deng (Presidential Advisor) and James Wani Igga (the current Vice President). When parliament for good reasons rejected the appointment of Telar Deng as Minister of Justice, the President got angry and decided to impose Telar as his Legal Advisor. He threatened to dissolve parliament if it had rejected the appointment of James wani Igga as vice President in September 2013. He threatened to send them to look for food in the streets by dissolving Parliament. So Parliament passed Wani’s appointment without debate.

• Since 2005 the executive has not been transparent and it has not been held accountable to parliament because the President would not allow that to happen.

2. Tribal domination of the government institutions
From 2005 to date all government institutions have been dominated by one tribe Salva Kiir’s tribe, the Dinka).

Examples are:
• Minister of Defense
• Minister of Interior
• Army chief of staff
• Director of Security
• Director of Military intelligence
• Inspector General of Police
• Director of Passports and immigration
• Governor of the Central bank
• Chief Justice and Senior judges etc.

3. Poor government performance
In the last nine years of Salva Kiir’s rule government (2005-2014) government performance has been dismal indeed.

Government employees are unqualified and inexperienced tribesmen and women. The Public service in efficient and in effective. There have been no development projects and services have never reached the people. There are no roads, no schools, no hospitals etc. 88 % of national revenue has been kept in Juba to be stolen and squandered by Salva’s tribesmen and women. Only 12% of the national revenue has been transferred annually to 10 states and 78 local government councils which is very inadequate to serve their basic needs. This is one of the main reasons why we are calling for federalism, so as to be able to take badly needed services to the people.

4. Bad foreign relations and poor diplomatic image.
80% of the Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs including Ambassadors is also from one tribe (the Dink). Consequently we have poor diplomatic relations, with china and Uganda being the “only friends”.

5. Serious insecurity and Gross violation of Human Rights.
Worst of all there has been no security for individuals, groups and tribes in South Sudan since 2005 and especially in the national capital –Juba. Juba city has experienced daily killings at night by unknown people suspected to be the Presidents’ security agents. The death toll went to the maximum as from 15th December 2014 when thousands of ethnic Nuers were killed and murdered en mass in cold blood and that continues up this date.

We are aware that most of the tribal clashes are being encouraged by the President himself and some of his trusted agents. For example the tribal clashes in Western Bahr El Ghazal State (Wau) and in Jongolei state.

Way forward.
We are calling for a proper federal system (not quasi–federalism) in the country whereby:
• There will be ensured constitutional guarantee of sufficient devolution of powers to the states and counties with adequate financial resources.

• The president will not be able to interfere in the affairs of the states and counties as happened in Lakes State, Unity State, Jongolei State and Northern Baher El Ghazal State. He dismissed the elected Governors of Lakes and Unity States and appointed care Taker ones; he also promoted and appointed the Governors of Jongolei and Northern Baher El Ghazal States to Minister of Defence and Army Chief of Staff respectively.

• Towns will be taken to the people and not people to the towns
• The capital will be transferred from Juba to any other suitable location.
• There will be an end to land grabbing
• Security will be improved
• Corruption will be curbed
• Tribalism will be minimized
• Unity of the people will be restored
• Peoples participation in governance will be promoted
• Human rights will be respected etc.

We the honourable MPS from Greater Upper Nile and Greater Equatoria hereby append our names and constituencies as indicated below:

Names: Constituency
1. Hon. Gatluak Riek Jack Maiwut
2. Hon. Dr. Kuong Dak Ler
3. Hon. Ramadan Hassan Lako Terkeka
4. Hon. Charlaman Char Shawasa Ulang
5. Hon. Jok Jack Ulang
6. Hon. Wiew Kun Kiyang Ulang
7. Hon. Rev. Michael Mot Diew Payinjiar
8. Hon. Bol Gatwech Kuong Nina
9. Hon. Sophia Pal Gach Nasir
10. Hon. Robert Ruoch Kuot Rabkona
11. Hon. Banguot Amum Okiech Pibor
12. Hon. Gabriel Gone Dok Uror
13. Hon. Rien Galiar Lar
14. Hon. Reath Muocch Tang Nasir
15. Hon. Agnes Nyoka Lainya
16. Hon. Nyalolok Tiang Gatluak Mayiendit
17. Hon. Dr. Richard K. Mulla Mundri


I graduated Yesterday from Kenya Staff College but as of today I have decided to resign from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and join the forces of opposition.
The reasons for my resignation are as follows:

1. The SPLA Army is no longer a national Army. The President undermined the SPLA by recruiting private tribal army from his own tribesmen. The private Army has massacred thousands of ethnic Nuers Since 15th December 2013 and those people hail from the same tribe with me.

2. The President has killed Nuer Officers including those who are even loyal to the system. For example over 200 Nuer officers, NCOS and men were killed in cold blood in Mapel in Baher El Ghazal in April 2014. Another 40 officers were killed in Pachalla in May the same year.

3. The government could not even witness my graduation yesterday in spite of the fact that we have an embassy in Kenya.

Major Tah Galjiek (PSC)

Open Letter to the Troika: From South Sudanese in UK

Published by SSN, JUN/09/2014

29th May 2014
Mr. Barack Obama
President of the United States of America,
The Rt. Hon David Cameron MP
The Prime Minister of United Kingdom,
Mrs. Erna Solberg
The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway;

Your Excellences:
It is with heavily saddened hearts that we, the Concerned South Sudanese in the United
Kingdom, reach to you for assistance in stopping the ongoing carnage in South Sudan.

We remain appreciative of the roles played by your countries in the realization of South
Sudan the Right to Self-Determination, an achievement if not for your continuous endeavours
would have not been easy to accomplish.

It is unfortunate that the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which brought an end
to the previous two decades of war and enabled the people of South Sudan to vote for the
country of their own in the 2011 referendum, did not do much in the way of a democratic

Today South Sudan is once again caught up in a war that pits its two largest ethnic
communities against one another.

Although the crisis in the country might have begun as a political disagreement within the ruling SPLM/A, the reality on the ground today significantly portrays an indiscriminate killings between the Dinka and the Nuer.

In some instances other tribal groups like the Chollo (Shilluk) were too caught up in the midst of these killings and suffered some worse losses of lives to target killings, displacements and loss of property.

Thousands of innocent lives have already perished and over a million people are
forced out of their homes as a direct consequence of this war.

We are aware and appreciative of all the efforts being put together by the Troika and the
other members of the international community as represented in the United Nations Security
Council, the European Union and the African Union and the regional body of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in an attempt to stop the current war to save South Sudan the risk of going the Rwanda way of 1994 genocide.

However, given the pace by which the peace talks between the government of President Salva Kiir and the rebels of the SPLM/A, in Opposition, there is much to be concerned about.

The Cessation of Hostilities signed on May 9th by the president Mr. Salva Kiir and former vice president Dr Riek Machar and that mediated by the IGAD signed on the 23rd January 2014, both have never been observed by the warring sides.

We believe that much needs to be done from the side of the International Community
including your respective governments in a way of bringing pressure to bear on the two sides.

The declared targeted sanctions by the Obama administration are welcomed. However, we
understand that most of these individuals orchestrating the crazy killings have their assets
outside the USA.

Unless the other countries like Australia, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, Britain and some European Countries join in executing these sanctions, the intended purpose of the sanctions may not bring about the expected outcome.

While everything is being done to bring an end to the war, we would like to draw the
attention of those involved in the process to realize a couple of issues:

§ We ask that the peace talks in Addis Ababa should deal with national issues
comprehensively, prioritizing discussion on arrangements for cessation of hostilities and
permanent ceasefire, civilian protection and opening of safe humanitarian corridors.

§ It is important that any solution to this crisis takes into full consideration the feelings of the victims, who are very much traumatized by the actions of mainly the two leaders of SPLM/A President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar, including their notorious commanders, should not be rewarded by a way of power sharing.

§ The people of South Sudan can only put behind them the ongoing trauma caused by the
onslaughts if they see the main perpetrators brought to justice and not rewarded by political positions or any form of incentives.

§ The Government and the rebels to immediately cease fire and fully abide by the conditions
of the IGAD peace agreements signed in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. They should have quickly
recognized the impact of the war right from the beginning and since both have not taken
responsibility, we urge that they should be forced to accept unconditional cease fire and end the killing of innocent civilians, followed by accountability towards their roles in this war.

§ The people of South Sudan can only feel that justice has been served when the current
government is replaced by a Credible Interim Government of National Unity excluding
President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the former Vice president Dr Riek Machar. We support a national dialogue where all political parties, civil societies, women organizations and various faith groups to come together to discuss; the future form of governance for the country, immediate reform in all government institutions for the common good, the permanent constitution and the guidelines for the Interim Government of technocrats and it’s mandates, and to effect preparation for the first True Democratic General Election post-independence.

The SPLM/A leadership of President Salva Kiir and former president Dr Riek Machar should accept that a fair and just society and democratic political governing system in South Sudan cannot be engineered and constructed only by SPLM/A dominated by the two ethnic communities, it is not going to achieve the purpose of total democratic principles because South Sudan is a multi-ethnic nation with different political parties and diverse regional, cultural and social variations.

We believe that if every point raised in this letter is given due consideration and
implemented, peace and stability can return to South Sudan quicker than ever expected.
With the backing of the international community and specially the Troika, an interim
administration to be run by technocrats from within the South Sudanese communities, will for
sure prepare the country for its first ever general elections under a fair democratic

Thanks in anticipation for your most needed support and looking forward for your response.
Yours sincerely
Benjamin Taban (Chairman)
Scopas Gonyi
Karlo Kwol Akol
Representatives of Coordinating Committee
On behalf of the Concerned South Sudanese in the United Kingdom

CC: Hailemariam Dessalegn
Prime Minister of the FDRE and Chairman of IGAD Assembly
CC: Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit
President, the Republic of South Sudan
CC: Dr Riek Machar Teny
Chairman, SPLM/A (In Opposition) and former Vice President OF Republic of South
Benjamin Taban
Mobile: (+44)7405126984;

Proposed Federal system for future South Sudan: Let us serialize it , Part 1

BY: Dr. Sindani Sebit, South Sudan, JUN/09/2014, SSN;

Since the events of 15-16 December 2013 in Juba and subsequent outbreak of fighting in South Sudan, South Sudanese have been grappling with whether these sad events could be the blessing in disguise for envisioning the future of South Sudan in which all people live in peace and harmony, enjoying the fruits of a prosperous nation.

The gruesome killings in Juba and the fierce fighting that has claimed thousands of lives, has alarmed the world and particularly IGAD and Troika countries that had worked tirelessly to bring about the independence of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011.

Now there are staggering peace talks going on in Addis Ababa aimed at peacefully resolving the needless conflict in South Sudan.

While the negotiators are fixed on cobbling an interim government, which could bring both sides of the conflict to share power, the opposition has proposed to first discuss the fundamental root causes of the problem in South Sudan and agree on how to deal with them and also agree on the future governance system for the country.

The governance system that has been proposed by the opposition is a federal system as opposed to the current perverse quasi-decentralized system in Juba.

Although the call for federalism in South Sudan is being opposed by Kiir and his immediate supporters, the call is rapidly gaining support from many sectors of South Sudanese society including the governments of Central and Western Equatoria and people of Greater Upper Nile.

Most South Sudanese in the Diaspora have already lined up behind the call for federalism in South Sudan.

As the call for federalism in South Sudan is becoming louder, wider and irresistible, there is urgent need to bring South Sudanese with speed to quickly and completely understand the federal system that is being advocated for.

While Some South Sudanese have confused the current so-called decentralization system in South Sudan to Federalism, it must be stated on the onset that this comparison is either an attempt to lure South Sudanese to believing wrongly that they have a federal system or lack of understanding what really a federal system entails.

This is simply because the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan has not only failed to name the system as federal system but actually concentrated the governance, economic and security function in the centre with the ten states being relegated to be subservient to the central government.

At the central level, the central institutions such as the Parliament, Judiciary and security apparatus are subjugated under the presidency, making the president the sole dictator in the country. South Sudanese are all aware of the countless decrees issued by the president, including those used to dismiss elected governors and other constitutional post holders.

This is not federalism but centralized system in disguise.

In addition, while the states are supposed to be service delivery organs that should bring power and resources nearer or closer to the people, the central government continues to retain 80% of the resources for the lavish life styles of an emerging elite or embezzled by individuals, creating a small clique of “haves”, in Juba while majority of the people of South Sudan wallow in abject poverty.

This is not the federalism that South Sudan needs. The Transitional Constitution of South Sudan has created a dictatorial monster who is wielding his constitutional powers to disregard the bill of rights in the constitution; thus committing grave human rights atrocities at will.

These powers have made South Sudanese judiciary impotent, the parliament marooned and civil society powerless. The president has overstepped the constitution and went ahead to create his own parallel military force and security apparatus that has terrorized the citizenry in the country at will.

Therefore, the proposed federal system that is being advocated for by the majority of South Sudanese is the intended real federal system of governance that is implemented in many of the federated countries such as UK, USA, Canada, Germany, India, South Africa, etc.

In this vein, the objective of serialization of the proposed federal system in South Sudan is to create awareness among South Sudanese and educate them on the basic principles of federalism and the implementation strategies so that South Sudanese can deliberate on the system on the same page and clearly understand whether such as system can solve the chronic problems which have bedeviled South Sudan.

The fear of “doubting Thomas” and those who fear change must be allayed so that they can embrace this change without reservation.

South Sudan is a diverse country that is multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious. The country has varied geographical conditions and awash with various natural and human resources spread all over the states. The political landscape is darted with various beliefs and conceptions.

Therefore, such a country needs a system that can recognize and accommodate all these level of diversities with the aim of uniting the people, while harnessing these diversities for their effective self governance and rapid development.

The current system in South Sudan has completely failed to respond to the diversity in South Sudan; instead it tried to subjugate the people into a system dictated by the powers that be. This is what was and still continues to happen in Sudan.

The deliberate refusal by the then ‘united’ Sudan to demands of South Sudanese for federalism in the 1947 Juba Conference, in 1955 Torit Conference and in the 1965 Khartoum Conference, created all the wars in Sudan that led to the disintegration of Sudan.

There is also possibility that the remaining Sudan may further disintegrate if the government in Khartoum continues with its militaristic attitude against the rebels in Sudan.

Realizing the fact that centralization is not the answer to political and socioeconomic problems in diverse societies such as South Sudan, and indeed has created conducive atmosphere for a failed South Sudan state, a system that recognizes diversity as strength, while utilizing the values of diversity for national cohesion and socio-economic development, is crucial.

As a result, the current disagreements in South Sudan serve as the best catalyst for South Sudanese to look back and admit that they should start now from different perspective, by accepting their unique differences and perceptions for building a strong future South Sudan. No governance system can do this other than federalism.

Therefore, this document intends to outline the following in regards to federal system proposed for South Sudan. The proposals illustrated here may not be exhaustive because, the authors do not claim to have the monopoly of all facts and strategies about federalism; after all, the system proposed must be adaptable, adopted to South Sudan context and attempts to solve all or nearly all the pricking problems in the country to the satisfaction of the majority of its people.

The main points to look at here are:
1. Definition of Federalism
2. Advantages of a federal system
3. Federal Government
• Declaration of the country
• Form of governance including the sovereignty of the country
• Functions of the Federal Government
• Federal Legislature, including its independence
• Federal Executive, including the Attorney General’s Office
• Judiciary, including the Federal and State Courts
• Federal Law Enforcement Agencies. These include Federal Intelligence Service, Immigration and Custom Services (or Revenue Authority), drug enforcement and illegal trafficking services and special security service
4. Federal states
• Objectives, principles
• Governing structures
• Powers and functions of the state
5. Commissions and independent offices
A) Commissions
• Federal Human Right and Equality Commission
• Independent Elections/Electoral Commission
• Public Service Commission
• Parliamentary Service Commission
• Judiciary Service Commission
• Revenue allocation and distribution commission
• Salary review and allocation commission
B) Independent offices
• Auditor General’s office
• Controller of accounts office

The reform of the army will be tackle separately while the police, wildlife and other security agents will be mentioned in the roles assigned to the states. Therefore, this introduction will limit itself to the definition of federalism and its potential advantage to South Sudan.

Definition of Federalism

From the Concise Encyclopedia, federalism is defined as, “political system that binds a group of states into a larger, non-centralized, superior state while allowing them to maintain their own political identities.”

Does South Sudan have states to fit in this definition? Indeed South Sudan has states. A state is defined as “a territory considered as an organized political community under one government”.

Since 1955 South Sudan has always been organized into Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazel and Equatoria. These three territories are now further divided and reorganized into 10 states. These ten states or more can be bound into a larger, non-centralized superior state, while allowing them to maintain their political identities.

The essence of the states maintaining their political identity is crucial in the case of South Sudan, so that they can be able to forge their developmental agenda according to their priorities and resources available to each. Secondly, the ten states in South Sudan currently have their own political beliefs and perceptions that can be nurtured and propagated within the boundaries of the state, while the Federal Government concentrates on crucial matters that face the larger union.

However, successful federal systems must have common characteristics and principles. These include constitution or the basic law stipulating the distribution of powers; diffusion of power among the constituent elements, which should be substantially self-sustaining; and territorial divisions to ensure neutrality and equality in the representation of various groups and interests.

Successful federal systems should also have a sense of common nationality and direct lines of communication between the citizens and all governments that serve them.

As it stands now, South Sudan has no common characteristics and principles. What exists now in South Sudan is degraded into Dinka, Nuer and the common “tribe” in Equatoria called Equatorians. These are tribal characteristics that are not bound by common principles, but by tribal interests to rule and plunder the resources of the country.

Lack of common principles has precipitated corruption, land grabbing, and lack of respect for individual property, as some of these actions are not considered as crimes by some of the communities in South Sudan.

Constitution that devolves powers to the people empowers the people and enables them to share in the governance of the country. This brings sense of belonging and ownership, equal participation and satisfaction. These contribute to the building and development of the country.

In addition, the states must be empowered to raise their own financial resources from the resources in the states. This makes them independent and self sustaining.

On the other hand, the federal government should also ensure that more resources go to the states instead of the current practice where the central government retains 80% of the resources making the states non-viable in terms of service delivery.

A successful nation should always instill to its citizens a sense of common nationality based on equality but not on perceived principles that other communities are more national than others or based on contribution to liberation as has been in the practice in South Sudan that some people arrogate themselves as liberators while others are liberated.

Communication among citizens cannot be effective unless the government is taken close to them in form of devolved government. This is important because it accelerates rapid development and advancement.

This will also ensure that any change made or proposed has been accepted or sanctioned by the people. These are, therefore, the ills that federal system has to address so that the independent states agree to federate with common principles and sense of common nationality.

Advantage federalism to the people of South Sudan

The federalism will contribute positively to the following:
1. Recognizes all the national diversities while it strives for strengthening national unity based on common principles and equality.

2. Devolves powers to the people thus making them to participate and share in the planning and development of states. This creates a sense of common understanding, equal participation and ownership and makes the citizens responsible to their own affairs. The dispersal of power to the states and communities is generally a protection against tyranny. This leads to large extent thriving of pluralism.

3. Helps to manage conflicts by permitting states and communities to pursue their own policies. This reduces the pressure that would have built up in the center like currently happening in South Sudan.

4. Improves efficiency as governing of the nation from the center creates inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

5. Enables citizens to decide on how they can be governed by ensuring that the citizens always have to sanction or be consulted on the decisions being taken by their leaders. This also removes from the leaders the dictatorial tendencies that they may have, as the people have the rights to remove or reprimand them.

6. Enables states to become independent and self-sustaining. They will determine and plan their development agenda according to their objectives, priorities and available resources.

7. Ensure that federal resources are effectively shared between the federal government and states according to the functions of the two levels of government, as stipulated in the constitution with 80% of the resources going to the states. This principle of resource sharing is intended to spur quick development of the states.

8. End the culture of categorization or profiling citizens according to tribe or contribution in the society.

9. By making the states self sustaining and ensuring that more resources are channeled to the state, creates conducive atmosphere for equal development instead of wasting resources in the federal capital.

10. Enables states not only to control their resources but also to use them for betterment or development of the state.

11. Ensure that the relationship between the citizenry is mutual based on equality and respect for one another.

12. By empowering the states to have their own security enforcement agencies and courts up to court of appeal will ensure that justice to be carried out in an atmosphere of complete understanding of cultural diversities and institution of justice and not favouritism, or merely on tribal inclination as the case is now in many parts of South Sudan. This will create understanding and harmony among the citizens and law enforcement agencies and the Judiciary.

13. By ensuring equal development in states, it will reduce internal migration, dispute over land grabbing, internal displacement and overconcentration in few urban or rural areas that have services.

Disadvantages of federalism

As system federalism has its own drawback, though these may however not outweigh the significance and numerous benefits the system renders to the people. Some of the challenges associated with federalism include:

1. It may allow special interest groups to protect their privileges. Some states may use state rights and laws to avoid federal regulations that guarantee civil rights such as free movement and settlement of people in the country. However, in such situations the federal law should supersede the state laws.

2. It may frustrate national policy because of differences in priority setting. However, this has been taken care of by the revenue allocation commission which ensures that resources are effectively distributed and utilized according to the overall priority in the country.

3. It increases the cost of governance generally and can also cause uneven distribution of these costs. Some states may spend more than twice as much per capita as other states on certain priorities. This can also be dealt with by the salary review commission which ensures that the cost of government is within the overall income of the country.

4. It creates disadvantages in the poorer states and communities. However, the task of Revenue Allocation Commission is to ensure that this should not happened by ensuring that national resources are distributed according population and level of development between the states and within the states.

In conclusion, South Sudan has never had the chance except now to look back and overhaul its autocratic constitution so as to introduce governance system that will not only accelerate development, but that will create united democratic South Sudan based on mutual agreement, citizen participation, state resource control and self-sustenance and respect for one another and for national resources and private property.

Part 2 of this series will focus on the proposed federal structures that include the Legislature, Executive and Federal Judiciary. Keep reading and also send in your suggestions. All are welcome but please we need positive criticisms not reactions arising from frustrations.

Sindani Sebit

The issue of federalism in South Sudan: Are we really on the same page?

BY: Agok Takpiny, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA, JUN/09/2014, SSN;

“You make better progress with a task if you don’t try to do it too quickly”

I have no firsthand source of information from the peace talks that is currently underway in the Ethiopian capital between the rebels and the government of South Sudan. However, my “friend” Facebook/social media has been hastily updating me with everything that is going on there. Nevertheless, one area which my friend Facebook has let me down on is the clarity of the agendas for the peace talks, sometimes the agenda is power sharing, other time the agenda is an interim government and/or caretaker government.

Optimistically still, despite the lack of clarity of the agendas in the current peace talks in Ethiopia, I hope that as per Makuei Lueth on SSTV the other day, a “deal is just around the corner”.

On the other hand, as sanguinely as I may be about the prospects of a potential peace deal between the government and the rebels, the recent inclusion of federalism as one of the top agenda by the rebels raised my curiosity whether our people are just interested in stopping the current carnage by merely pushing it forward for another time, or do we really need a lasting peace and stability in our country?

Ladies and gentlemen, get me right, federalism as we will look at it in more details in just a moment is one of the best governing system today in the world. On the contrary, imposing it or adopting it too quickly without proper procedures can be as catastrophic as our current tribal politics.

As someone who is far away from the peace talks, the two questions that came to mind are:

(1) Do the rebels want federalism to be negotiated, agreed upon and ready to be implemented immediately as soon as the final peace deal is signed? or

(2) Do the rebels want to simply highlight the issue of federalism (that is to let the South Sudanese know that after peace deal is finally reached, and after necessary processes, South Sudan will eventually be governed through federal system)?

As I do not know the answers to these two questions, I will assume that the latter is not the intention. If this is the case, then we are going to have a major problem down the track in South Sudan.

In 2004, as the newly found slogan of taking towns to the people and not the people to towns took shape, the SPLM decided to create more counties so that it would be able to implement that very vision.

The intention was to create more government’s agencies close to the people so that service delivery can be efficiently and timely done. My home town of Yirol was divided into three (3) counties: Yirol West County, Yirol East County and Aweirial County.

After the announcement of the formation of new counties, the youth and vast majority of locals misunderstood the reasons behind the idea, the people who happened to be from the old Yirol town centre which under new formation is now known as Yirol West began to tell the people who happened to be now from Yirol East and Aweirial that they should move to their respective counties.

In retaliation, the youth of Yirol East and Aweirial who happened to have the best grazing fields along the river Nile told the now Yirol West to move back to Yirol West with their cattle.

What ensued from that confusion was a bloody four years conflict that cost the people of greater Yirol hundreds of lives. The lack of community education about the idea of creating many counties was the source of misunderstanding that cost lives, people where not on the same page to why all of a sudden they no-longer belong to Yirol centre.

If there was proper consultation and awareness done, people would have understood that, although the old town is divided into three, the people are still the same and there should have been no telling people to move to their respective counties or move away from the grazing fields that belong to the other counties.

To their credit, the people (cattle keepers and their chiefs) of greater Yirol, when they realised that the government was not interested in explaining to them the reasons behind the division of Yirol into three counties and isn’t doing anything to stop the killing among these great people, they decided to convene and carry out their reconciliation.

They decided to drop claimant of blood compensations and revenge attacks. In South Sudanese standards, greater Yirol is now one of the peaceful place in the country.

I am not saying that if federalism is immediately adopted and implemented, people across the country will behave the same way the people of greater Yirol did back in 2004 which would be a disaster. However, we cannot rule it out, prevention is better than cure.

Thus, as the discussion of federalism gains momentum just like the slogan of taking towns to the people did in 2004, in my view, we South Sudanese must not repeat the same mistake of making no effort to educate the people of South Sudan about the meaning of federalism.

Developing federal system in South Sudan

Firstly, we should view federal constitution as a conceptual framework that will serve as a guide for all levels of governments in our country. My fellow South Sudanese, many of you would agree with me that the lack of proper consultations during the development of the current interim constitution has in part a hand in current mayhem in our country.

In other words, if proper consultations were made during the drafting of current interim constitution, someone somewhere who has no vested interest in giving the president almost absolute powers would have pointed out that there is a provision which allows the president to remove elected governor on the pretext of “national security threat” which was in itself duly or not defined at all.

We now have experience, a real bad experience in making too little or no consultation when it comes to the development of the constitution. Consequently, the development of the constitution of the proposed federalism should start with drafting a DISCUSSION PAPER.

This initial draft paper would be made available in both hard and soft copies for all South Sudanese (not just those in the peace talks) to make preliminary comments.

The committee or whichever body in charge for this project of drafting the federal constitution would then collect and review all the comments and recommendations made by individuals or groups and then produce a second phase draft.

The second phase draft document would specifically be seeking a unifying definition of federalism, its aims and the notion of ONE country under the federal government. This process would take one year to complete, and after which the people of South Sudan would carry out a referendum to vote and accept the constitution with 80% approval or reject it.

The question that we must ask ourselves now is, if we want a system that we will all love, respect and abide by, shouldn’t we all (South Sudanese) take part in developing it in a fair and transparent manner?

If the answer to this question is yes, then the next question would be, should the current peace talk be tied to the acceptance or rejection of federal system knowing that it would take a minimum of 12 months to complete the process of writing the federal constitution?

I will leave this to you (South Sudanese).

What is federalism?
(1) Federalism is a principle of government that seeks to reconcile unity and diversity through the exercise of political power along multiple autonomous levels.
(2) Another definition: federalism is a system of government in which powers are divided between two or more constituent entities (states, territories and counties) by a written constitution.

Note that although the wording in the above two definitions are not the same; the underlying objective is the decentralisation of power into multiple levels of government.

Nevertheless, the differences in the wordings in both definitions can cause huge confusion. Let’s assume that we choose the first definition, which defines Federalism as a principle of government that seeks to reconcile unity and diversity through the exercise of political power along multiple autonomous levels.

This definition implies that federalism is the best system of government in countries which have different religions, languages and cultures. In other words, federalism works best in states which are multicultural or multinational.

The reason why federalism works well in the mix of the above mentioned categories is that it provides protection against domination by the majority, and provide opportunity for self-fulfillment and self-development for the minority through institutions that it controls while maintaining the ability of both groups to pursue common goals.

Each level of government is protected by the constitution. The objective of federalism according to this definition is a division of powers between federal government and the states and territories.

Yes, states will have substantial powers to make laws and many other things (less domination by the national government). However, in some states domination of minorities by the majority will still likely cause problems unless we pay attention to it while attempting to define federalism.

Take Unity state for example, the Ruweng Ngok Dinka are only 25% while the Nuer are 75%. The recent peace deal between the government and Yau Yau which gave Murle, Anuak, and other two tribes which share 90% of cultural traits a territory of greater Pibor would fit well with the above definition.

And therefore we may as well do the same thing with Ruweng Ngok Dinka as they have distinct cultural traits with Nuer who are majority in the state.

I am not suggesting Ethnicity base federalism, however, it is something we should also be looking at as we try to find a way forward. Think about it.

Power distribution between Federal and states governments

Usually, the constitution outlines which level of government should be responsible for what. Comparably, in all federations, the national or federal government has powers to regulate interstate commerce, declaring war, building an army/navy, making laws to enforce the Constitution, making treaties, regulates immigration and border protection, manage national resources (e.g. river Nile) and printing money.

The state governments on the other hand are responsible for issuing licenses, providing public health and welfare, regulates voting, and regulates education.

The concurrent powers, or shared powers of the federal and state government are making laws, making courts, building highways, and collecting taxes. The states and federal laws must not conflict each other, in other word, they must be consistent.

However if there is inconsistency between the states and federal laws, the federal law will override the state law. With this in mind, it is not hard to see that federal government will still be a ‘big brother’.

Reason for the referendum
Let us assume that the above mentioned objectives are the aims of federalism that we would have in South Sudan should we adopt it.

Hence if particular individuals or parties disagree with objectives identified above, they would most likely disagree with various prescriptions provided within federalism.

Therefore if the permanent federal constitution is to be developed logically and consistently, there first needs to be some consensus on important issues such as what the meaning of federalism is and what its objectives are.

Unless there is agreement on fundamental issues, such as those just mentioned, the proposed federalism will be developed in a rather ad hoc or piecemeal manner with limited consistency between states, federal government and among South Sudanese in general.

Furthermore, there are times where each level of government has an advantage of power. This is where we South Sudanese need a proper consultations and awareness to choose the system of federalism that is best for us.

Highly decentralized federalism

Basically, there are two types of federal system, in Australia and Canada for example, federalism is used in a more DECENTRALIZED manner. This means that in Australia each individual state and territory carries more power than the federal government does.

In Australia and Canada, most of the money which each state receives from the federal government is unconditional. This means that each state or territory is able to allocate the resources as they see fit.

This highly DECENTRALISED federal system is not without shortcomings. In Canada for example, the province of Quebec has been seeking sovereignty for many years. They wished to preserve their faith, their language, their laws and their culture.

Likewise, in Australia for example, the Western Australia state has also been seeking to secede and become a sovereign country. If Quebec ever does achieve to be separate from the rest of Canada then it will reduce the sense of equality among the rest of the provinces and territories. This could cause other provinces and territories to wish to leave Canada and take control over their own province, the same is the case with Australia.

Centralised federalism

The United States on the other hand uses federalism in a more CENTRALIZED approach. Here, the national government gives the state government money, but the state government must use the money according to how the national government wants the money spent.

The national government has an increase of power here because they can get the state to do whatever they want them to do. This is also known as a conditional transfer because the state has to follow certain conditions the federal government gives them.

Federal mandate is an order from the national government given to the state government that the state government must comply with and if they don’t, there will be consequences (federal funding can be revoked). It is used when the federal government wants the state government to implement a certain policy.

This also gives the federal government more power because if the state decides not to do it, the state can get punished by failing to comply with the national government.

Unlike Australia and Canada where federalism is more decentralized (giving states more powers), this problem of wanting to secede is not seen in the United States because of their centralized approach to federalism. This approach allows each state to be equal and no one state to feel the need to overpower another state.

Notion of ONE country under federal government

Finally, if comments on Facebook and on other media outlets can be used as indicative of what South Sudanese think federalism will bring, the summation would be that many South Sudanese think that if federalism is adopted, people of Lakes state must not go to Central Equatoria state, people of unity state must not go to Upper Nile state and vice versa.

However, integral to any federalism is the choice and freedom of movement. Citizens and businesses in a federation have the freedom to move to another state if they are unhappy with the government or the conditions where they currently reside.

This provides an incentive for states to improve their services so that they can compete with other jurisdictions.

People of South Sudan especially those who don’t read or write in rural areas should be made to understand this idea before the federal system is adopted. To be sure that they have understand it and that we are all on the same page, they must cast their votes in the referendum for the federal constitution.

Disclaimer: views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author. Agok Takpiny is concerned South Sudanese in Melbourne Australia. He can be reached on

False rejection of federal system of government in South Sudan

By: Jacob K. Lupai, JUN/09/2014, SSN;

The debate on federalism will never go away so easily. This is because the proponents and opponents of federalism seem to believe strongly that they have convincing points to make but that the case of either side is misunderstood. The proponents believe that federalism is a solution to the root causes of conflicts in South Sudan. In contrast the opponents have other ideas that federalism will lead to disunity and ultimate disintegration.

It is clear from the debate that opponents based their rejection of federalism on their paranoia of kokora. On the other hand the proponents of federalism based their case on objective realities of the diversities in South Sudan which is considered as “a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-racial entity — Article 1(4) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011”. Federalism is therefore seen as addressing the core problem arising from poor management of diversities in the effort to promote national cohesion and unity.


It may be boring to some to read about kokora time and again. However, it may be of interest to others to know the link between kokora and the rejection of federalism. It is worth educating people about kokora which is a word native to Central Equatoria State. Kokora is division of something which could be the sharing of power or resources equitably. The implication is that kokora it is the sharing of something for the equitable benefit of beneficiaries.

Kokora can be traced back to the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972 that granted the people of the then Southern Region an autonomous status. Mr. Abel Alier, a Dinka, was to head the High Executive Council of the autonomous Southern Region. During his reign Mr. Alier entrenched himself by placing his tribesmen in strategic and powerful positions.

For example, they controlled finance, judiciary, education, administration, prison, police and wildlife service, legal affairs and so forth. The non-Dinka especially Equatorians found themselves deprived and so called for kokora (division) of the Southern Region into Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile Region. The people of Equatoria perceived kokora as the equitable sharing of power and resources.

In the middle of 1983 the Central Government, after having heard loudly the voices for kokora, issued a decree dividing the Southern Region into three regions of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile.

It was obvious that the Dinka were the most bitter and vocal against kokora for the loss of their strategic and powerful positions in the Southern Region Government. This may explain why some of the most critical of a federal system of government in South Sudan are the Dinka. This is because they equate kokora with federalism which is their imagined eviction from Equatoria.

However, the vast majority of non Dinka and some progressive forward looking Dinka may have no problem at all with the adoption of a federal system of government in South Sudan.

The present centralized system dubbed decentralization mostly favours none other than the Dinka. For example, according to the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) website (May 14, 2011) the SPLM Political Bureau Members, excluding those from Northern Sudan and the dead one, were 52 per cent and the GOSS Presidential Advisors were about 43 per cent Dinka respectively.

Of the GOSS Ministers about 36 per cent and the GOSS Independent Commissions and Chambers were 57 per cent Dinka also respectively. The GOSS Undersecretaries were 45 per cent Dinka. For the SPLA, Internal security and other security organs about 82 per cent were also Dinka.

From the above statistics it is self-explanatory why the Dinka will fight tooth and nail to retain their dominant positions of hegemony over the other 63 ethnic groups in a centralized system of government where they are in absolute strategic and powerful positions.

Is this really the South Sudan we all aspire to identify with when there is no equitable sharing of power and resources? People may need to think hard to come up with an appropriate solution to the problem of one ethnic group dominating in all aspects of the affairs of the country.

How can one ethnic group dominating be at the same time promoting national cohesion and unity?


The federal type of government can be found in many countries like the USA, Germany, Switzerland, India, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Mexico to mention but some. In a federation the consequent delegation of competencies to the lower level such as the state creates a sense of responsibility and self-reliance among the population.

It is arguable that local solutions tailored to the needs of the population are more cost-effective and fit better than standardized solutions from a far away central government.

After independence the governors of the ten states of South Sudan called on the national government for a more federal system of government. The governors spelt out the need for further decentralization of the system not only politically but also administratively. The governors also ranked decentralized governance high on their list of recommendations.

This goes to show that a strong decentralization which can be likened to federalism was popular among the governors of the ten states of South Sudan. This suggests that the opponents of federalism may be living in a world too remote from the objective realities in the states as expressed by the governors.

Federations naturally differ from each other in a variety of ways. Most relevant for our purpose are differences in some of the essentials of institutional design. For example, some federations have presidential systems while others have parliamentary systems of various kinds. Switzerland has a mixed form of government incorporating elements of presidential and parliamentary system.

It can therefore be seen that a federal system of government cannot be adopted wholesale from one country to the other. A federal system has to be designed in such a way so as to correspond to the peculiarities of a particular country.

When there is a consensus on the adoption of a federal system of government in South Sudan then it is the responsibility of the people to design the one suitable in addressing their needs.

Open agenda

We have seen how the opponents of a federal system will go to any length to stop the adoption of such a system. The opponents claim that the proponents of a federal system have a hidden agenda to evict non Equatorians from Equatoria. This is, of course, baseless and false rejection of a federal system of government in South Sudan.

The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 is very clear. Article 27(1) stipulates that, “Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of movement and the liberty to choose his or her residence except for reasons of public health and Safety as shall be regulated by law”.

How could the hidden agenda of the proponent of a federal system come in here when the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 is very clear about the right to freedom of movement and the liberty to choose residence? This renders the claim that the proponents of a federal system have a hidden agenda null and void.

The proponent has a clear agenda and it is the equitable sharing of power and resources to reflect the diversities in the Republic of South Sudan in the effort to forge national unity.

Hidden agenda

From the expressions of the opponents of a federal system it is clear that they have a hidden agenda. The agenda is to dominate with the erroneous belief that numerical superiority is all that counts. The unfounded claim that a federal system will disunite people is intended for the naïve.

The governors of the ten states were not naive to call for a federal system. The highly educated intellectuals of Equatoria are not naïve either. The call for a federal system is grounded on objective realities of South Sudan as an entity of diversities. Only the naïve can put up with gross misbehavior and crude domination of the last century.


I have been attacked by opponents of federalism as somebody who is tribalistic. I have also been described as somebody spreading hate speech against fellow citizens. I wonder whether people really understand what a debate is. In a debate there shouldn’t be anything personal.

What is most important in a debate is to put up a convincing argument with supporting evidence be it in a form of statistics or data. On the personal level many non Equatorians including the Dinka are friendly to me and I am also friendly to them.

I had worked among non Equatorians, specifically among the Dinka, first as an agricultural officer in Aweil rice scheme and then as the principal of Rumbek agricultural training centre. I had never encountered hostility or aggression. The Dinka we worked with were readily protective of their non Dinka workmates in their midst.

For sure we are of different ethnic backgrounds but the challenge will always be how to build a strong united South Sudan that is full of opportunities for all. Neither rejection nor adoption of federalism can be imposed through aggression. A consensus needs to be reached in the interest of national unity but this can only be done through dialogue.

The rejection of a federal system in South Sudan is only to serve the interest of a section of the population and the section is not more than 25 per cent of the population. It has nothing to do with the imagined disintegration of South Sudan. However, it is most likely that out of the 25 per cent there are proponents of federalism.

In the final analysis not all the Dinka will reject federalism although they may be openly reserved. Nonetheless, those who gain the most in a centralized system will be critical of those advocating for federalism.

In conclusion, as a state benefits from a federal system of government so do the people in the state including those who might have been vocal against federalism.