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Capital city relocation an escape from federalism, says Yakani

Juba, South Sudan,

July 09, 2021 – The proposed relocation of the South Sudan capital city from Juba to Ramciel is a move to escape from the federal system of government by the incumbent regime, civil society activist Edmund Yakani has said.

Capital city relocation an escape from federalism, says activist
Edmund Yakani, Executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (photo credit: file)

Speaking to an international media outlet Vice News, Yakani, who is the Executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, said there is no logical motive to move the capital city from its current geographical location to Ramciel except the desire to consolidate power.

“The motivation is about moving away from a federal system to a centralized one,” Yakani was quoted to have said.

“Juba, the current capital, and Equatoria are places where they believe strongly in federalism. Federalism gives people in low-level, local governments a voice. That is what our country needs,” Yakani added.

Yakani said the idea is also flawed as the proposal seeks a reposition of the capital from a densely populated region to a sparsely populated one where social amenity services are far less needed.

“The idea is to escape the federal system. But most of the population is so far from Juba where everything gets done, everyone lives in the countryside,” Yakani said.

Yakani warned that moving the capital city to Ramciel reminisces a return to Khartoum.

“It’s become like the old relationship between the south and Khartoum. We risk repeating the culture of Khartoum by moving our capital and centralizing,” he said.

“Ethnicity becomes a kind of strength in accessing the political center,” he warned. It becomes a dominant factor in terms of politics and administering the state,” he warned.

While Yakani concedes that the project was ideal, he says the timing is wrong for a country struggling to piece up its infrastructure.

“It’s an ambitious project, but it comes at a moment when the country lacks industrialization in order to have its own domestic produce, to be able to respond to the basic needs of its citizens,” Yakani was quoted.

He added that: “Instead of wasting this money, I’d rather see the money spent on industrialization so the country can provide for itself.”

Yakani is one of the few citizens opposed to the proposal of relocating the capital to Ramciel. His sentiments came after the Vice President for Infrastructure Cluster Taban Deng Gai revealed that the plan to relocate the capital city was still on course.

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