“IT IS NOT IMPORTANT WHO START THE GAME, BUT WHO FINISHES IT” John Wooden.
By Dr.Mike Tut Pur, MD
May 09, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– The Demand of federal states in South Sudan has been in existence since 1947, before the independence of Sudan from Great Britain in 1956. This popular demand has reached its magnitude when the then Rebel Leader, Dr.Riek Machar -Teny, the Current First Vice President, announced in 2014 the formation of 21 federal states based on the colonial districts. If he succeeded at the negotiation, this idea could have been incorporated into Compromised Peace Agreement and implemented by the current government. This idea became very popular and earned Dr. Riek Machar and the revolution a lot of support from many south Sudanese citizens.
On August 2015, just a few days, after the signing of the peace Agreement on the Resolution of Conflicts in South Sudan(ARCSS) in ADDIS ABABA, Mr. President Salva Kiir Mayardit decreed unilaterally the formation of new “28 states” at the advise of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) in Juba . This has sparked controversies and speculations among the citizens of South Sudan with many pro-SPLM in government agreeing with the new states that they defied for more than a year when it was accepted in Dr. Riek Camp. Unlike Dr. Riek’s proposal of 21 states, the 28 states annexed lands of other minorities ethnic groups to Salva Kiir’s Dinka tribe. In addition, there was no popular consultations by the government to the constituencies at the grass roots levels.
Most majority of south Sudanese Citizens would like the government to create the new federal states; however, they differ in the methodology that is used to create them .The ARCSS stipulated in some articles that once the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) is formed then the matter on the new states should be resolved amicably; that is to say if the new Transitional Government of National Unity agreed on 28 states or agreed on another number of states without causing any violation to the Peace Agreement, otherwise, the parties to the conflicts resolution (SPLM –Juba, SPLM-IO, Former Detainees and other Political Parties) disagreed on the formation of the New states, then they will revert to the previously recognized and constitutionally legalized 10 states of South Sudan.
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The implementation of ARCSS provides broad spectrum of opportunities for this agreement and if our leaders, the Senates, and the Parliamentarians debate on all these concerns while consulting the people in their current constituencies, then a positive agreement for the formation of New states would be achieved amicably in the Republican of South Sudan. It is also crucial to form a special committee that will include all political parties, Peace partners and International experts on geography and Border demarcation disputes to help and guide us in this process on the new formation of states. It is essential that this process is done within the first three(3)months period of the new Transitional Government of National Unity(TGoNU).
Restoring to the old 10 states would also create more chaos, confusion and lack of developmental opportunities that can make the new states to prosper quickly to end the cycle of poverty and the suffering that has engulfed South Sudan at large.
The Formation of new states will improve allocation of financial budgets; reduce level of corruption and Nepotism and it will create more opportunities for Jobs creation and competition among states. It will also reduce internal ethnic conflicts if it is done properly taking into account the geographical demarcations of the borders, inter-cultural heritage, Natural resources and economic income and self-sustainability.
Creating the new federal states should not be based on tribal lines, neither on Political affiliations but on overall geographical locations, economic indicators and a developmental sustainability in the would be established new states.
We must also accept that there will be states inhabited only by one tribe when other states will be inhabited by different tribes such as the Boma state that has Murle, Anyuak, Jie and kachivo. This would also be the case for the currently contested new Malakal State that is now being populated by only one tribe, the Dinka Padang. This raise many eyebrows and questions on the methodology that was used by the Dinka Elders to create the states.
I have also asked many colleagues and friends from different ethnic groups on their point of views on new states and most of them seem to welcome the creation of 28 states; however they agreed that it needs to be done adequately and better with popular consensus among the people of South Sudan to avoid internal disputes . For example our New state of Bieh, which is mostly inhabited by the Lou Nuer(96%) and Anyuak in Alali payam (4%), is really needed by the citizens .
All these citizens are happy and very glad to have finally gotten their own state after many years of being isolated from Bor. Now they are ready to develop it; however there is high need to work on Border demarcation with our neighbors from Ayod, Pigi and Duk counties and we hope we can achieve these borders issues amicably through the new commission of Borders Demarcation that will be formed soon.
To the readers, I would like to inform you all that I had the opportunity to travel across South Sudan when I was working with NGOs on health care programmes from 2008 to 2013 and I can guarantee to you that we do have the most beautiful land and the most green and fertile country that God has created on earth. We just need to be transparent, honest and peacefully minded people who can solve our differences through dialogue and not by riots, not by wars but by negotiated settlements and peaceful debates within our great Nation of South Sudan.
I do hope our leaders will agree on the creation of new states whether 26, 28 , 32 Or 36 states ; it does not matter. As long as they agreed among themselves and with the grass root levels consultations, then the South Sudanese citizens will accept the positive outcomes.
The analyst, Dr.Michael Tut Pur MD, is a concerned South Sudanese citizen and he can be reached at Tutpurmike@gmail.com
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