By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Lawyer, Uganda, JAN/15/2017, SSN;
When the CPA was signed, ten states were created but what did we have? Corruption and citizens killing each other were common yet there was no war. Many people complain today that creating more states is not good for development but what do they understand by the term development?
What is important, is it to have few states or is it to have more states to protect citizens so that they live free of fear and develop their own self-reliance mechanisms?
In my understanding, what is important for the development of any country and people are not few states but protection of citizens externally and internally so that they are free from fear and be able to engage in economic activities.
There is a difference between development of a country and the number of states that the country may have. The country may have fewer states but will not develop but some countries may have many states but can develop.
What complicates the matter in South Sudan is the fact that people associate states with money and employment which is a misunderstanding of what South Sudan as a country is. Whereas the purpose of the country is to create employment for every citizen, it is not worthwhile for a country like South Sudan to encourage dependency syndrome.
When we were under few states, we used to get a lot of money and could not think of any problems so everybody just sat under a tree like we still do today, hoping to get free money. Therefore, politics became as it is now, the easiest way of getting into power in order to get money and because of that, politics was extended up to the family levels and families were divided.
In addition, people learned how to lie and honesty was thrown to the dogs because individuals did not want to tell the truth lest they will be quoted.
Corruption as it is now became the order of the day. People even those who were living under the worst roofs instead of building good houses,instead bought cars that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because they just get the money for free.
Today, there is a vacuum as many are sleeping with empty stomachs because money is no longer there. Instead of reflecting over their contributions to the problems of South Sudan, they are now looking at more states creation as the source of their solution and an end to their predicaments.
Moreover, they contradict themselves that more states lead to corruption and at the same time they are saying that no money under more states but if no money under more states, then where do these people they accuse of stealing money get it from? That is a fallacy of their argument!
What I wanted to say about corruption is that all human beings are inherently corrupt because corruption is putting personal interests above other peoples’ interests. Hence, what controls individuals from corrupting the system is the strong system itself. So, corruption is independent of the number of States therefore, I do not accept the argument that more states increase corruption.
It is sad to say some people even go to the extent of saying that under more states money goes into few people pockets but if that is the case, is it any different from what used to happen when we were under few states?
As far as I know fewer than ten states money used to be pocketed by few who were in politics and at the same time could not even protect citizens. Thus, citizens were the losers in term of development and security.
My position is that it is even important to create hundred states so that no free money should come to everyone. This is because it will make us learn how to work hard to get our own money and spend it wisely instead of getting money for free that may throw the country into dependent syndromes.
Furthermore, I must add that t is even better for the country to go bankrupt if the people are able to be protected rather than individuals becoming rich at the expenses of the majority.
For all these reasons, I pity those who say that more states are not needed in South Sudan as they may lead into disunity. This is based on the belief that they create disunity as the proponents of this argument believe that unity comes through putting people together even those who are incompatibly related.
What they need to know is that unity of the people does not come through putting people together like goats or cows but it is an organic process which is achieved through slow natural coming together by the people.
People come naturally together to form one unit not because they are forced to do so but because they benefit from coming together. The unity of the people, therefore, does not depend on a number of states a country may have but on good administration.
The clear example to the effect that the unity of the country does not depend on the number of states is that of Sudan before the breaking away of South Sudan. Sudan before the independence of South Sudan was stated to be the largest country in Africa followed by Democratic Republic of Congo but these two countries had never been at peace within themselves though Sudan had few states as well as DR. Congo, which still has few states today.
In general, the confusion we have today about more states does not come from rural people but from some few individuals who claim that they are educated yet they do not even know what is good for themselves leave alone the people of South Sudan.
If I ask them to explain the difference between the lives of South Sudanese under few states from the period of 2005-2015, they will not tell me any difference except that there used to be a lot of money under few states but went into few pockets of individuals. Hence, the whole thing becomes a fused argument and baseless.
NB//: the author is South Sudanese Lawyer residing in Uganda and can be reached through: email@example.com