The Fates Of South Sudan Behind Federalism – The Case of Greater Equatoria Governors
June 10, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — The three governors of Greater Equatoria – Central, Western and Eastern Equatoria -are uniting behind the call for federalism in the world’s young nation. The powerful politicians have boldly convened conferences within Juba to mobilize the people of Equatoria to support federation in the country.
In a meeting held by the Equatoria intellectuals and leaders at Nyakuron center on May 25, Clement Wani, the governor of Central Equatoria told the gathering that federalism, an idea pioneered by the SPLM in Opposition, is what the people of Equatoria deserve.
“the people of Equatoria have come open that this [federalism] is what should be included in the constitution.” said governor Wani.
Despite challenged by Wanni Igga, the vice president, who supported the idea in the past, governor Wani was backed by the people of Equatoria and also by the other two governors.
The gathering at Nyakuron calls on the media not to publish the vice president’s words because they believe his words do not represent the people’s voice. Igga was blaming Dr. Machar for “stealing” the idea from the people of Greater Equatoria and now throws it back to steer what president Salva Kiir refers as an “internal front”.
The vice president is also being silenced by the Greater Equatoria Youth Leadership (GEYL) who stands behind the governors and other “ideologists” that campaign for federalism in Dr. Machar’s camp. The youth wants vice president to remain silence or resign if he opposes what GEYL refers as the people’s choice.
During the recent state parliamentary session, on Monday, the governor of Western Equatoria, Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro, precisely told the lawmakers that “Western Equatoria State is for federal system of Government”, adding that the system will control tribal-related conflicts.
The leaders and intellectuals of Greater Equatoria, however, are mindful that they might be misquoted since their support for federalism could be mistaken for switching allegiance to the armed opposition. Despite, some lawmakers and senior politicians have resigned last week and joined Dr. Machar’s camp while denouncing Salva Kiir as a dictator who does not tolerate freedom of speech.
The governors have continue to advocate for federalism within the country while calling for peace. Governor Bakosoro told the parliamentarians that people should not pick up arms to fight one another over federalism and other minor issues, reiterating that people should have the freedom to discuss and solve issues..
“There is no reason to start fighting ourselves after attaining the independence we wanted. When we fought, we did not fight as tribes or regions; we fought as South Sudanese and if there are issues we want to discuss now, because they are important to our people like the system of governance,”: said Bakosoro.
“We must raise and discus them without necessarily misinterpreting the views expressed by others”, he added while calling for open discussions among citizens.
Although president Salva Kiir opposes the idea, claiming that it is an attempt by Riek Machar to divide his loyalists, governor Bakosoro maintains that no one can obstruct the people’s call for federalism, affirming that it is their democratic right. The powerful governor calls on the people to loudly express their support for federalism without any fear.
“Federalism has been one of the longest calls of the people of Equatoria and this is now the time for our people to say it louder without any fear because it is not a crime if people express their democratic rights in a peaceful manner”, said the governor.
“No individuals or group of people can obstruct these calls because it is a democratic right to express your feelings about the system of governance”, he stressed.
Many leaders and intellectuals from the neighboring regions of Upper Nile and Equatoria, both in the government and as well as in the opposition, are rallying to implement the federal system in the country. The Bahr el Ghazal region, however, is hesitating to support the federal system.
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