REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN
JIENG COUNCIL OF ELDERS (JCE)
2016 NEW YEARS MESSAGE
DECEMBER 28th, 2015;
The Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), on behalf of the entire Jieng People wishes the people of the Republic of South Sudan a Happy and Prosperous New Year -2016. 2015 has been a year full of trials and should be remembered as a remarkable year because the people of South Sudan witnessed the following milestones:
1. Signing of Arusha SPLM Re-unification Agreement;
2. Signing of IGAD-PLUS led Peace agreement (ACRISS);
3. Presidential Order 36/2015 for establishment of twenty-eight (28) states;
4. Return to Juba of the SPLM-IO members and SPLM Former Detainees; and,
5. Appointment of the twenty-eight (28) state governors.
Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) applauds the President of the Republic, H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardiit, for his tireless efforts and wisdom to achieve Peace and desire to deliver on the wishes of the people of the beloved nation.
On this occasion JCE would like to welcome to South Sudan H.E. President Festus Mogae – Chairman of the Joint Monitoring & Evaluation Commission (JMEC) as he embarks on his assignment; welcome the return to Juba of SPLM-IO under the leadership of Riek Machar Teny and the SPLM-Former Detainees under the leadership of Pagan Amum Okiech.
We applaud their efforts to work towards peaceful implementation of the agreement with our government and people.
The Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), on behalf of the entire Jieng People, wholeheartedly congratulates the President of the Republic H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayayrdit, for the courageous decision to establish twenty-eight (28) states and appointment of 28 state governors.
This is the second historic and most popular decision and action ever made. The first event was when H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardiit united and led the people of South Sudan into the referendum – to vote for our independent new African nation.
The establishment of 28 states which was subsequently followed by the appointment of well selected governors is received with joy nationwide as it is a poplar fulfillment of a long awaited and aspired promise of the glorious liberation movement to gradually devolve powers to the people through deployment of educated, qualified and experienced manpower in the communities to develop the abundant natural resources, to provide modern infrastructure and to connect people countrywide.
This is the sure way of taking services and development to the people in rural areas. This action is worth praising as it is a response to public call for further meaningful decentralization.
JCE strongly supports this decision and calls upon the people of this nation to stand firm in its implementation.
The colonial administration divided the country into districts more or less categorized on tribal/ ethnic lines. If we may recall, the people of South Sudan expressed their approval of decentralization when re-division (Kokora) resulted into three (3) autonomous Southern regions in 1982- directly subjected to Khartoum authority.
Again, the call for ethnic based system of the “House of Nationalities” similar to the Switzerland’s system based on ethnic representation was advocated for by Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba and his ideologues from Equatoria region [see minutes of Juba Conference under three Governors of Equatoria States in 2014].
Moreover, Equatoria has demanded a federal arrangement while other Equatoria people still demand twenty-three (23) more states for Equatoria region alone.
Similarly SPLM-IO of Riek Machar tried to divide the country into twenty-one (21) states and appointed governors for their states.
Country-men and women, since colonial times, tribal administrative units prevailed as the mode of governance all over South Sudan. Organic unity in South Sudan ended with the High Executive Council in 1983 when late Eng. Joseph Tambura handed over the South to President Jaafer Nimeri to divide it up into 3 administrative regions.
Later on, President Omar al Bashir expanded the administrative units to 10 states. Therefore, there’s nothing new nor surprising about the establishment of 18 additional states out of 10 former states as there was no objection to other decentralization proposals by colonial masters.
If not mistaken, this twenty-eight states’ decision is also a solution to faulty charge of Jieng domination by other tribes at the centre.
It will allow comparative and competitive development of resources in each state after which it will be easy to develop the central governments’ institutions from resources contributed by the states. Hence, unity of purpose will be highly valued without grudges or prejudice.
As we begin a New Year, JCE would like to remind the International Community, the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) and all parties to the IGAD-PLUS peace agreement to cautiously tread the path to implementation of “ACRISS” due to the fact that certain clauses in the agreement undermine the sovereignty of our beloved Republic.
Finally, as we enter the New Year “2016”, JCE calls upon all feuding parties, sections, clans or tribes of Jieng in the Republic of South Sudan to choose civility and wisdom in their daily lives and insist on peaceful co-existence among ourselves and with other communities in South Sudan as one people, one nation.
Let us encourage ourselves to tow the footsteps of our forefathers who wisely taught us – generation after generation, Jieng cultures and traditional laws which guide us on how to amicably resolve disputes and differences through dialogue!
Our survival and existence as Jieng nation depends on upholding Jieng guiding principles of respecting ourselves, our neighbors, our cultures, traditions and God the creator!
May God bless our Country!
God bless the People of South Sudan!
Signed on behalf of Jieng Council of Elders (JCE):
Justice Ambrose Riny Thiik
Hon. Joshua Dau Diu
Hon. Aldo Ajou Deng
Hon. Maker Thiong Maal
Hon. Parmena Aluong