July 12, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Riek Machar Teny, the former vice president, extends his appreciations to youth, men and women of Greater Equatoria in Diaspora.
In an appreciation letter seen by Nyamilepedia, Machar formally acknowledges the hard work and commitment of greater Equatoria community through Greater Equatoria Council of Rights (GRECOR).
“This is to formally acknowledge the excellent work that you set out to achieve, under the auspice of GRECOR” Machar stated in his acknowledgement letter.
Machar expresses his gratitude for the collaborative foundation laid by the people of Greater Equatoria and pledges to work with Greater Equatoria region.
“You have collectively laid the foundation for current and future long-tern collaborative alliances and harmonious Republic of South Sudan” part of the report reads.
“I’m looking forward to working with you all, and with the other peace loving citizens of the Republic of South Sudan” Machar said.
Machar has acknowledged the “bold step” taken by the three Equatorian governors, who stand tall with their people, demanding federalism within the government’s strongholds.
Salva Kiir government has sharply criticized the people of Equatoria, calling their demand for federalism a “kokora”. According to Dr Douglas Johnson of the Rift Valley Institute, federalism is not kokora.
“Let us be clear, Kokora is not the same as federalism,” Johnson said.
The scholar explains that Federalism is a system that divides and respects political powers between and within the central and states governments. In a federal state, presidential powers or decrees to remove and switch state governors is limited.
Douglas explains that Kokora can’t be equated with federalism, a system of governance, because Kokora was just a movement of Equatorian particularism in the early 1980s at the time when South Sudan was split into three major regions.
According to Salva Kiir’s government, Kokora is synonymous with Kokora of 1980s when the people of Greater Upper Nile and Greater Bahr el Ghazal were evicted from the Greater Equatoria region.
Majority of the anti-federalism believes that the two regions of Greater Upper Nile and Greater Equatoria demands federalism because they are relatively richer compared to greater Bahr el Ghazal. They also believe that Federalism will divide the country, despite that the country is bitterly divided under the current system.
The pro-federalism argues that only federalism will unite South Sudanese people and equally distribute resources among the citizens. Majority of the elites in SPLM in opposition have criticized the centralized government for concentrating national wealth in the hands of a few, leaving the citizens poor, landless and vulnerable to depend on the government.
“Now, people are asking for federation such that this concentration of powers in the hands of a few cliques, who are looting the resources of the country, and who are oppressing the people taking their lands is stopped”. The former minister, Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba said.
Federalism debate has trended on South Sudanese media as the government tries to contain it. Media houses and journalists within the country are warned to refrain from the debate. Some media houses has incurred huge financial loses for publishing an article on federalism.
“The premises of our offices was surrounded by the heavily security forces today. They came at 5:30 am today in vehicles, surrounded the facility and confiscated the whole paper. They took all the 3,000 copies because we covered federalism debate”, Nhial Bol Aken said on Monday.
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