By Equatoria National Executive Council (ENEC).
April 4, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —– On the 1st January 1956 the Sudan got its independence from Great Britain. The Sudan then was divided into nine provinces, six in the north and three in the south. The provinces in the south were known as the three southern provinces of Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile. Immediately after independence the northern dominated government declared the Sudan an Arab nation and progressively adopted Islamic Sharia as the basis of governance. In contrast to the six northern provinces, the three southern provinces were backward in development and above all the people of the three southern provinces resented being identified as Arabs as that was the promoted identity of the Sudan, an Arab Islamic state.
In governance the Sudan followed the unitary system from the colonial era where the nine provinces were answerable individually to the central colonial government. With Arabisation and Islamisation policies in full swing in the Sudan, the people of the three southern provinces were under gross marginalization and evidently occupying the position of second class citizenship in their own land of birth. This was not only unacceptable but excessively intolerable in contrast to the concept of having won independence and freedom from a colonial rule. The alternative was the southern demand for a federal system in the Sudan. However, the southern demand was utterly rejected. There was no alternative but for the people of the three southern provinces to rise up for their dignity, freedom and a respect for their human rights through whatever means.
A protracted armed struggle followed until the legitimate political, economic, social, cultural and religious rights of the people of the three southern provinces were recognized by the Arab Islamic dominated government in the north. The recognition was in granting local autonomy to the three southern provinces with regional guarantees.
Systems of government in South Sudan
A number of systems of government were tried in South Sudan through agreements such as the Addis Baba Agreement and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Between 1955 and 1972 the people of the three southern provinces found themselves united as people of one destiny engaged in an armed struggle for freedom. In 1972 the people won through an agreement known as the Addis Baba Agreement when a local autonomy was granted to the three southern provinces which became known collectively as the southern region.
The Addis Ababa Agreement
The government of the Addis Ababa Agreement in the southern regions adopted a unitary system. However, the unitary system soon started to show signs of failure when ethno-centricism and ethnic hegemony became a silent system of administration. Divisive words such as we are born to rule were commonly and daily pronounced. Gross misbehaviour towards the people of Equatoria was the order of the day. It was understandable that the people of Equatoria, who are peaceful and respectful of others, could not tolerate such arrogance and misbehavior. Naturally they agitated for decentralization of the southern region into its former three provinces of Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile.
Decentralization of the southern region
The southern region was divided into its former three provinces of Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile this time as autonomous regions answerable individually and directly to the central government in northern Sudan. The vision was a peaceful co-existence of the people of South Sudan and acceleration in socio-economic development for as high standard of living for all.
The decentralization of the southern region was the only time the people of Equatoria had a breathing space. Before decentralization the southern region was dominated by ethnic hegemony that was very divisive and a seed of discord among the people was being planted. Equality and respect of others were nonexistent as tribalism was highly promoted by those in privileged positions. However, the ethno-centric found this hard to bear. The only way was to create another rebellion to mislead people to believe that the rebellion would bring paradise to the people of South Sudan. The rebellion ended with a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) where South Sudan is now independent. However, we now know that the rebellion was not to bring paradise to the people of South Sudan but it was to create conditions for ethnic hegemony as during the Addis Ababa Agreement.
The comprehensive peace agreement
The same ethno-centric clique at last realized their dream when the CPA created a unitary system in Southern Sudan. The CPA inherited 10 states that were autonomous and individually answerable to the central government in Northern Sudan. It established a unitary system of government that was above the state governments. The state governments were answerable to the unitary government of Southern Sudan.
The same ethno-centric of the Addis Ababa Agreement era are now repeating what the southern regional government did to the delight of the instinctive architects of tribalism in South Sudan. However, it was abundantly clear that the people of Equatoria tolerated gross abuses for the sake of self-determination and independence to South Sudan through a referendum guaranteed in the CPA.
The people of Southern Sudan went to the polls to decide their destiny in a referendum. As expected the overwhelming majority of people, 98 per cent, voted for independence. On the day of independence Southern Sudan became the Republic of South Sudan. For the people of Equatoria it was dream come true. They were the ardent and principled separatists. It was high time for the people of Equatoria to enjoy the fruit of their tremendous patience for independence of South Sudan in the face of previous ethno-centric gross misbehavior. However, it was not to be as catastrophic failures of the system prevented the people of Equatoria from enjoying the fruit of independence in South Sudan.
Failures of the system
The failures of the system are manifested in ethno-centricism and in violent promotion of ethnic hegemony. A typical colonial mentality and a naked occupation of others ancestral lands is the silent state policy of the dominant group in the system. Please mark the words we liberated you. The people of Equatoria are the worst targeted. There was supposed to be a decentralized system. However, the reality is that it is a unitary and dictatorial system where ethnic hegemony is being promoted with impunity. The people of Equatoria are especially singled out as people who do not belong. The outstanding contribution of Equatoria to the liberation struggle is never recognized and in fact denied. The system is so divisive that it is a matter of time for the total disintegration of South Sudan.
The ethno-centric clique does not care because they either rule or South Sudan can go to the sea or hell. It is now the vision of revolutionaries and their commitment to rescue South Sudan from total collapse. As for being a failed state, South Sudan has lost all the criteria, standards and obligations of a state to its citizens. It can therefore be asserted that South Sudan is a failed state despite the good will of the international community in supporting the country to be a viable state. It is not clear how the creation of ethnically based states can promote the unity of people of South Sudan.
The Vision on confederal system
The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011, says, ‘South Sudan is governed on the basis of a decentralized democratic system and is an all embracing homeland for its people. It is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-racial entity where such diversities peacefully co-exist (Art. 1(4)’. The Constitution also says, ‘South Sudan is founded on justice, equality, respect for human dignity and, advancement of human rights and fundamental freedoms (Art. 1(5)’.
It is crystal clear that South Sudan is recognized as a multi-ethnic entity. It is therefore mind boggling when it is also crystal clear that ethnic hegemony is being nurtured with impunity instead of making South Sudan to reflect its ethnic diversities. The question is why are other ethnicities’ human rights and fundamental freedoms being violated with impunity? This is obviously because of the misuse and abuse of state power by the ethno-centric clique. Where does this lead the country to? This will naturally lead the country to disintegrate and most likely violently.
The alternative is the vision of a confederal system. It is the ardent promotion of peaceful co-existence through absolute respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and equitable socio-economic development for sustainable unity. Unlike what is happening now in the country, in a confederal system the people of South Sudan will learn to live together in harmony with their diversities through respect for one another. The present system which is divisive and strongly protected cannot sustain the unity of people of South Sudan. People must wake up because the ethno-centric are obsessed with power and economic control so that they can both rule and oppress others or there is no South Sudan.
A confederal system of government is the most suitable because the previous three provinces or regions of Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile in South Sudan were administered like separate entities. In the confederal system the regions will be semi-independent with the most minimum of interference from the centre. In the confederal system each region will have the opportunity for rapid development for self-reliance. The present system condemns people to underdevelopment because the obsession is with power and economic control without delivering services.
No one needs to be a rocket scientist to know that the present government is a curse to the people of South Sudan with all its abundant resources. No one expects meaningful development to be realized under such a government obsessed with staying in power at all cost amid glaring failures. The confederal system of government in South Sudan will make unity stronger as diversities are likely to be highly respected.
In the confederal system all energies will be concentrated on development of infrastructures, electrification, delivery of clean drinking water, development of agriculture for achievement of food security, modernization of the security sector and above all promotion of love for the country to mention but a few development initiatives. For now South Sudanese are behaving like people on a transit. The conferderal system will turn things around.
In a desperate attempt to divert people’s attention from the absolute abuse of power and gross mismanagement of the country’s resources, stories are being created that people of Equatoria are working to break away to form the Republic of Equatoria and that people of Equatoria are against the Nuer. The latter story is an insult to the intelligence of the Nuer who know who the people of Equatoria are, very peaceful, very respectful and very accommodating.
In conclusion, it seems there is a deep seated feeling of guilt on the side of the ethno-centric clique, first for their abuse of power and gross mismanagement of the resources of the country and second for their disgraceful mistreatment of the people of Equatoria and others. Therefore, the confederal system of governance is the final solution to the endemic problem of South Sudan for sustainable unity of the country.
For more information you can reach Equatoria National Executive Council (ENEC) at equat.
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