Contributor's Opinion Santino Aniek

Could the dissolving of 32 States create a problem in South Sudan?

By Santino Aniek,


South Sudan's warring President, Mr. Salva Kiir (C) attends a ceremony marking the thirty fourth anniversary of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) at the military headquarters in Juba, South Sudan, May 18, 2017(Photo: REUTERS/Jok Solomun)
South Sudan’s warring President, Mr. Salva Kiir (C) attends a ceremony marking the thirty fourth anniversary of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) at the military headquarters in Juba, South Sudan, May 18, 2017(Photo: REUTERS/Jok Solomun)

Aug 31st, 2018(Nyamilepedia) — Now what is it in Khartoum Peace Agreement that most worries so many South Sudanese people? Recognizably any list in Khartoum Peace Agreement would be thought provoking and one item that does usually come to my mind is 32 states. Today, much of the worry is rightfully focused on 32 states and I might admit that there is something much more fundamental at play. However, the majority of South Sudanese people are hoping that General Salva Kiir Mayardit President of the Republic of South Sudan will certainly never trembling his promise, because 32 States is one of his best signature achievement. More importantly, when President Slava decided to increase states from 10 to 28 and then to 32 states, the question our South Sudanese people should ask themselves was how did we get to this point of separation among the communities? What should South Sudanese people have done to avoid the decision by the President Slava to keep 10 states instead of 32 States and now what should they suppose to do in order to keep various communities close to each other? You bet this will cause a huge problem in our country, even as we speak, there are few communities lobbying for more states, and if the killing of hundred of thousands people in 2013 in Bentiu and elsewhere did not convince opposition and their supporters, then it is hard to imagine what will.

Let me be clear in saying that President Salva’s decree on 32 states is victory for those who were advocating federalism and will never be overturned. Until South Sudanese people get serious about the structure of togetherness then those who are not happy with 32 states can talk as they desire, but at this moment in time, most communities mean to be left alone simply because they are tried of each other. As public opinion has shown, each and every South Sudanese communities have experienced this barbaric treatment for too long and they will not accept to go back to bad old days, especially Ruweng people in Ruweng State. We know that the human brain is by nature exclusionary, meaning if someone does not look like them, or does not has the same name, then they treat them as others, and this is the reality in South Sudan in which we must accepted the outcome of the decree. We all can agree that the only communities, who are refusing to recognize 32 states today, are the same communities who were supporting opposition’s 21 States proposal a few years ago. No one should be in a position to condones suffering and death, allowing such barbaric treatment like 1992 and 2013 in former Unity State, have records of oppressing other communities, and at the end of the day refusing for divorce. For example, Ruweng people have been facing extermination in the former Unity State and I’m sure they will defend the 32 states because Ruweng people were the reason in which 28 states was created. My point of view of the current state of these who have been crying on social media is nothing but insincerity because this decree seems to be a dream come true of “taking town to people”. In fact, those who are crying everyday on social media are the same people who will say privately they need their own states and they are the same people who are supporting 21 States.

More importantly, our commitment to one other versus the non-commitment to each other has shown ineffectiveness of our communities to lived together. In fact, the relationship our communities have been having all these years since 2005 did show a huge majority of South Sudanese have remained in systematic purgatory of miserable suffering and death and that was caused by ethnic violence. As a result, the creation of 32 States has made much of a difference and now the majority of South Sudanese will be willing to defend this decree for any cost. Furthermore, if this decree can let each and every community lived in peace then there is no need for these social media, opposition, and their supporters to make it a big deal because this is the same federalism people have been talking about when it was introduced some years ago. To remind these folks, if President Slava allow 32 States to be dissolved or return to 10 states that will spark a violence cross South Sudan because these days we have seen on social media few communities are lobbying for more states. 

I find it remarkable how little of the public debate has focused on whether dissolving the 32 states will lead to a lasting peace in that war torn country. For those who support the dissolving of 32 States, the zeal to punish is overwhelming and so it is not necessarily to consider how many South Sudanese people will die from returning to the same disarray that gave birth to 32 states and whether this brilliant idea of returning to 10 states will facilitate or obstruct efforts to make peace there. The “line in the sand” must not be crossed because there will be consequences, no matter what.  Successively, Ruweng people have given a standing ovation for President Salva’s his courageous and candid of creating 32 states by celebrating in South Sudan, Australia, Canada, and in the U.S. and they will be the first community to reject opposition’s suggestion.

Now we may see a similar dynamic playing out as President Slava aims to show courage once again not to allow this decree to be overturned, but uphold 32 States. Nevertheless, my expectation is that we should be debating how best to provide humanitarian relief to the staggering number of South Sudanese people refugees who have been fleeing the war all these years instead of trying to overturn one of the best President Salva’s signature achievement.  Instead of considering how we might alleviate suffering, the social media warriors and oppositions plus their supporters now want to create another crisis in a country that has suffered for too long and war is deemed the answer. Interesting how we always seem to have the war as an only option even we have had endless suffering and death in our country, I wanted to advise the adversary of 32 States to let go this addictive topic once and for all. Finally, let me be clear in saying that President Salva’s decree on creating 32 states is a huge victory for the people of South Sudan, especially the people of Ruweng State because they have been longing for separation from former Unity State and this signature achievement provide a break for people who have been suffering for too long. My last point is this; President Slava was willing to risk his political firestorm by issuing this decree and the same kind of risk that many of us wish him he will be willing to take to keep 32 states untouched.

Santino Aniek is a concerned South Sudanese live in Upstate New York, USA, can be reached at santino.aniek5@gmail.com and find me on Facebook, on Skype santino aniek, and twitter @saniek.

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