By John Juan Dong,
Retired Local Government Officer.
Oct 9, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — President Omer Al Bashir has a very good record of administrative transformation of the local government in the Sudan. He built on previous works of scholars and experts on decentralization and of late federalism. But the way President Kiir is doing things does not reflect that he has learned from his previous boss President Omer Al Bashir. This comparative trend makes one wonder if President Kiir wants to implement federalism, or a policy of divide and rule? We have to look out for where our President is driving us. He seemed to have gone too far for lack of technical advice. His intention seems to be in line with the Arab proverb that says ( عَلَيَ وَعَلَىَ أعْدَائِي ). This literally means to hell with me and my enemies. This is usually uttered by a politically or militarily despaired person. It has some element of suicide. The President seems not to care about what to bequeath to the coming generation as his legacy. The only dilemma is that Salva Kiir’s 18 arbitrarily chosen states are difficult to reconcile with or fit Article 15, 15-1, 15-2, 15-3, 15-4, and 15-5 regarding the Structure and Composition of State Governments in Chapter ( 1 ) of Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) page 17 of the IGAD –Plus Peace Agreement.
President Kiir Mayardit, a Dinka from Warap State who may not know much about other areas, surprised the South Sudanese nation on South Sudan Television (SSTV) last Saturday evening, the second of October 2015, by ordering the creation of 28 states at this moment of peace implementation. It is a great shock and surprise to those thousand victims of war and orphans, in UNMISS camps, who have been yearning for peace. By that act Kiir has defied the agreement consequently and embarrassed himself before the world at large. To me Kiir completely misused power in disregard of people’s voice and expectation in the name of legitimacy. But what is legitimacy if it causes death to the people? An order, in my simple administrative understanding, is merely an adjustment to a situation where there is either misuse of law/power, or the public tranquility is at risk. This administrative order is also made when the constitution is violated in exercise. By this act the authority may alert his people in an emergency like natural disaster or war. But never could the order be made for distributing or dividing the soil of the country to tribal political groups.
According to historical record since the independence of Sudan on January 1, 1956, no president ever decided nor even attempted on his own to establish a province, leave alone promoting a rural council to a district without the consent of people. For instance, the size of Western Nuer District of 21,000 kms, now Unity State, never witnessed any change of its boundaries. Even the Dinka Pariang in the Northern part of the state with Leek tribe and Jikany tribe all never witnessed any social change or environmental hatred since they came under one administration. It was Salva Kiir’s seditious attempted coup of 15th December, 2015 that has turned the country into a jungle of forest. Sudan had passed four types of local government reforms before the South got its independence on the 9th of July 2011. First, the 1951 local government Ordinance model of Dr. Marchal, the 1961 Local Government Province Act of Chief Justice Abu-Ranat, the 1971 Local Government Act of Dr. Jaafer Mohamed Ali Bakhit, and the 1981 Local Government Act of Area council. All these local government developments were scientifically studied and were therefore harmonious in implementation.
After those experiments Sudan adopted the policy of decentralization through the Regional Act of 1983. The whole former Sudan was divided into 20 states without Warrap- the home of President Kiir. But later Warap came into the list as No. 21 state not by a presidential administrative order from Omer Al Bashir as Kiir has done. It was by consensus and solidarity of all the provinces of Bhar El Ghazal as a strong demand by the people of Warab under the leadership of General of Police- George Kongor Arop, former Vice President of the Republic of Sudan. Without that solidarity, Warab was to fall out of competition because it lacked the wealth, geographical size and the population- the conditions required of a province to become a state. But because of the voice of son of Warap Vice President- George Kongor, Warab became a state. President Omer Al Bashir asked Dr. Ali Elhaj chairman of National States Review Committee to consider the peoples’ demand because in democracy, all voices need to be heard even if it is impossible to hear them altogether.
Thus Warap came to existence without a Presidential administrative decree or order. By this time this writer was the Executive Director of Unity Province, when the central government in November 1993, through the Ministry of Local Government National Bureau, asked each of the three Governors and the politicians of the former thee Southern Regions- Equatoria, Upper Nile, and Bhar El Ghazal, to submit their proposals like the six northern Sudan Regions whether each Region wanted to split or to remain solid. In Dec. 1993, I flew to Khartoum with my proposals in my bag supported by the big 1956 map of old Western Nuer District- Bentiu (WND) rolled up in my right hand. Upon my arrival in Khartoum, I invited the political figures and displaced citizens, of Unity Province both Nuer and Dinka, to prepare for a conference in Jebel Aulia- South of Khartoum. The Agenda was whether we would remain in Upper Nile Region or split to become a separate new state? The attendants were:
1/ Late Thomas Kume Kan ( Bentiu Rural Council-Nuer)
2/ Late Francais Gey Majok ( Bentiu Rural Council-Nuer)
3/ Late David Wal Gatkeak (whose mother was from Pariang, a son of Head chief (Bentiu Rural Council-Nuer)
4/ Late Shoj De Kier ( Pariang Rural Council- Dinka)
5/ John Dor Majok ( Bentiu Rural Council- Nuer)
6/ Zaki Garang Deng ( Pariang Rural Council-Dinka)
7/ Arob Turuk ( Mayom Rural Council-Dinka of Abiemnom)
8/ Omda Wiyoah Kong ( Mayom Rural Council- Nuer )
9/ Late Sultan Jau de Jiel ( Pariang Rural Council-Dinka)
10/ Chol Deng da Kier ( Pariang Rural Council-Dinka )
11/ Late Machul Riek Dong ( Leer Rural Council-Nuer)
12/ And hundreds of citizens.
The 1956 District map, from 7 Latitude to 10.5 North, and from 28 degree to 32 Degree East Green-wich Mean Time (GMT), was placed on a board in front of the conference for discussion of:- (a) the district boundaries to allocate the newly proposed province boundaries, and (b) the change of name from Unity Province to Unity State which was unanimously agreed by the two tribes- Nuer and Dinka. The new Unity State then comprised of the following provinces:-
- Rubkona Province.
- Leer Province
- Mayom Province
- Pariang Province
Having made our own homework and rationale for our proposals we had to wait for further summon from the Governor in Upper Nile- Malakal. In January 1994, the three Southern Region delegates from Equatoria, Upper Nile, and Bhar ElGhazal were asked by the Central National Bureau of the Ministry of Local Government to give in their respective scientific and technical reports through their respective states to National States Review Committee within one week. The Governor of Upper Nile State late Eng. Juang Tuoi sent a delegation headed by the former Secretary General Eng. Farouq Gatkuoth Kam to meet Unity State Province Committee to compare notes as to why they wanted to split. It was not just simply dividing the land and the waters. It had to with the life of people- especially their socio-economic and natural environment which in this particular case is better known by the citizens and not President Kiir. In any case the committee sent from the Upper Nile Region headquarters got convinced and returned to Malakal with their report which the Governor accepted accordingly. Hence, we proceeded to present to the Central National States Review Committee our technical and scientific report which was based on the following:-
- The size of the land, is it fit to become a state with the number of provinces and local councils? Unity Province was found 21,000kms according to the 1956 map.
- Population wise Unity Province had 720.000 people.
- Unity Province had economic resources- oil wells, agricultural schemes, livestock, animal husbandry, and according to the 1961 Local Government Act, Bentiu was reported as the source filling monthly payment deficit of poor rural councils in old Upper Nile Province.
There, according to me, many speculations as to why President Kiir decided thus.
1/ President Kiir has messed up himself before the IGAD and the UN and has therefore lost the case. All that he wants to do is to provoke Dr. Riek Machar Dhurgon to retaliate his order with challenges and abuses to make both of them look irresponsible in the eyes of the world community.( سِيَاسة عَليَّ وَعَلَى أعْدَائي) When Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, Chairman and Commander IN Chief of SPLM/SPLA signed the IGAD Peace Agreement in Addis Ababa on 17th August 2015, President Kiir reluctantly signed after nine (9) days in Juba town far from world media but immediately dispatched his military barges and attacked SPLA forces at Ganylil bay of Tayaar and then Adok quay. He only knows the consequences of violating gentlemen’s agreement that would indirectly harm the other party- Dr. Riek Machar. As a result, the SPLM/SPLA delegation to New York under the Chairmanship of Dr. Riek Machar got blamed for escalating the fighting by refusing to sign the military statement prepared by Kiir’s government on the preparatory workshop for implementation of security arrangements. But how can Dr. Riek Machar Chairman of SPLM and Commander in Chief of SPLA be blamed for not signing a military arrangement document allowing Kiir to have several battalions in Juba capital, calling it presidential Guard? Even Adolf Hitler in world war two 1939-1945, not a tribal war of 21 months, never had a battalion of guards. Is it not a contradiction and violation of the demilitarization of Juba town and other cities- Bentiu, Malakal, and Bor under Article (5) of “Transitional Security Arrangement” of Chapter (11) two, page 24.
3/ President Kiir was wrongly advised that he would be popular by (a) stealing the show of creating more States which is federalism he had refused even to hear about, (b)separating Dinka from Nuer in Unity State, (c) separating Dinka from Shilluk as well as Nuer, and (d)attaching territory to other territory in Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states. But Dr. Riek’s proposal of 21 states was based on the old districts administration. This proposal was dropped for after/during the transitional period. Please check “UPPER NILE PROVINCE HANDBOOK” Which is a Report on people and Government in the Southern Sudan, 1931 by C.A WILLIS Governor of Upper NILE Province, published for THE BRITISH ACADEMY by OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, edited by Douglas H. Johnson. It would be good if President Kiir opens page 154 Chapter (4)” Shilluk District or Central District of Upper Nile” under District Commissioner, Captain G.P. CANN, to compare in practice with his own order of 28 states.
John Juan Dong is a Retired Senior Local Government Officer. He can be reached for comments at email@example.com