The Debate: Understanding Federalism;

South Sudanese: Debate about Federalism and Not federalism.

By Maluona Deng
Opinion,

Source: Afro-IP

Source: Afro-IP

July 07, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Many South Sudanese are debating whether to have federalism or not. The point shouldn’t  be we should have federalism, we need to define what kind of federalism are we trying to bring  and  what is federalism even, what are the  Cons and pros of the  federalism that we trying to bring ?  what are the Functions of  this  Federalism?

Where does confusion comes from in this argument of federalism. Isn’t South Sudan already a federalist country? If not why  do we have governor and state representative?  Many South Sudanese do not actually  know that South Sudan is already a federalist country the same to  federalist system that is being practice in the USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, India, and Switzerland.

Federalism is define as Political system that allows states united under a central government to maintain a measure of independence whose functions are: to provide a court system to resolve conflicts, to provide diplomats who maintain relationships with other countries and regulate trade and travel with those countries; to provide a public health service that prevents disease and researches cancer, HIV, and other health issues; to provide printed currency, regulate the economy, regulate banks, mint coins, and prevent counterfeit money; to maintain national parks, historic monuments, civil war battlefields, and unique wildlife areas; to manage the forest land to balance the needs of the timber industry with our need for natural areas and recreation; to help Veterans who return from service with medical care, jobs, and other needs; to regulate and promote education at all levels to improve our people; to fight crime by creating organizations like the FBI and DEA to investigate, prevent, and capture criminals. Finally, to provide for the defense of our country in war by maintaining a navy, air force, army, marines, and coast guard services.

The above mentioned, I believe are the functions of Federalism and this is also where South Sudan Federalist system have big question  how its functions and to whom is the government working for?  This are the question because above function of the federalism are not being carried out  in the country.

Pros and Cons of federalism
Federalism makes people to close ties to their home state, and its giving power to the states.  In federalist states, powers are given to local officials. Likewise, state and local officials are closer to the problems of their areas, so it makes sense for them to choose policies to solve those problems.  State governments can experiment with policies, and other states (and the federal government) can learn from their successes and failures. Federalism leads to political stability by removing the national government from some contentious issue areas, federalism allow the government to achieve and maintain stability.

Its also  federalism encourages pluralism: Federal systems expand government on national, state, and local levels, giving people more access to leaders and opportunities to get involved in their government. Finally the best side of federalism is that it ensures the separation of power and prevents tyranny which a big question in South Sudan politics now.  This is because in federalist system even if one people or groups took control of the three branches of the government, legislative; Executive, and judicial. Branch, federalism ensures the state government would still function independently.

Federalism also has its disadvantages like any other system of the government around the word. Federalism prevents the creation of national policy, and its leads to lack of accountability this is because of the overlap of the boundaries among national and state government it tricky to assign blame for failed policies.

Importance of Citizens voice in a federalist system
In a federalist  state,  citizens voices is very important because they can questions an elected office  if he or she is  corrupted, practicing nepotism, not fulfilling  their duties. And I believe this is where our leaders are  afraid. If  we have a well-function federal government  then they will be subjected to the law, rules and functions of the state in a federalism system.  The question about federalism is bad or we do not have federalism in our country is baseless and  we shouldn’t  even have this debate because we already the system the  country but not well-functioned system.

Our leaders are afraid of  and  they don’t want this  because if we have a well-functioned federalist system then  they will be to be questions, and to be held accountable to their misdeeds.  Our leaders are afraid of check and balance, I believe the question is not whether federalism is bad or not.

The questions  the  have in their mind is how will we be judge in a well-functioned federalist government?  I believe this  is the question because  in federalist state citizen have power to  vote out the elected office  but it South Sudan  the president appoint  and fired  government.  This is does not  work in federalist  state except South Sudan.

I believe we already have federalist government  but its functions are  in questions. Federalism  cannot and will  be achieved  by bullet  but  ballot. People dreaming  that they  will bring federalism  by the use of bullet are waiting their time and resources. Especially  human resources, which is very vital in federalist state. why are debating in what you already have?

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The author, Maulana Deng, can be reached at  deng.32@hotmail.com

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