View on IGAD Proposal to Return to 10 States in the Republic of South Sudan

11 February 2020

Bol Joseph Agau 

On the 8th of February 2020, the Regional Bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development convened the 34th Extraordinary Summit of IGAD Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Summit discussed the RARCISS Implementation challenges and particularly the two pending pre-transitional items, i.e. the Number and Boundaries of States and the Security Arrangements.

In the prior meetings of the IGAD Council of Ministers and Special Envoys, a prerequisite meeting that informs the Heads of State and Government of the agenda items for their further deliberations to draw a comprehensive communique’ from, the IGAD Council of Ministers recommended 10 + 1 or 23 + 1 States for the resolution of the pending Number of States and Boundaries. The Special Envoys endorsed the Council of Minister’s recommendation.

As reported later by the clip of Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth, the Minister for Information of the TGONU of the Republic of South Sudan, the Hon. Minister clearly stated that the IGAD Council of Ministers recommended the position of the Opposition and specifically corrected himself by saying it is the “SPLMA-IO position”. Check the video online for verification.

Hon. Michael Makuei further reported to the public that the only Head of State and Government that opposed the 23+1 States recommended by the IGAD Council of Ministers and approved by the Special Envoys was the commonly known “Friend” of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

The signs of the times are clear here for any organisation that has a think tank to read and adjust itself to the extreme political adversities. It should not be only one Head of State to oppose and the rest watch the unfolding discord in support of the Opposition or the SPLMA-IO as the Minister reported on the matter.

On the 9th of February 2020, a tripartite meeting was called and attended by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, H.E. Prime Minister Hamdok, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon.

An ULTIMATUM was given to the two principals. They either accept 23 states plus Abyei or else they revert to the ten constitutional states.

This was likened to the White Smoke from the Papal Election Chimney of The Vatican Building. The Holy City: where the duo and other leaders of the Republic of South Sudan were shown the humility of the Catholic Church through the Papal Feet Kissing Symbol early last year.

Surprisingly, the 23 + 1 States recommendation of the IGAD Council of Ministers, which was approved by the IGAD Special Envoys, was thrown out and a new suggestion of 10 states was reported again. It is not known whether it is by the advice of Dr. Riek Machar, but people close to the talks asserted that it was suggested by H.E. Museveni and supported by Prime Minister Hamdok. Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon complied and accepted. H.E. President Kiir requested for ten minutes that later became 3 days consultations in Juba.

An ULTIMATUM was given to the two principals. They either accept 23 states plus Abyei or else they revert to the ten constitutional states. Even the regional leaders are aware that the decreed 32 states are unconstitutional, unlike our institutions and leaders.

The ULTIMATUM did not mention 32 States but 10 or 23 States. If the President is going to consult, he must be mindful of this ULTIMATUM of 10 or 23. he must end the unconstitutional holding on a pole whose grids have become slippery due to the sweat of unconstitutionality of their creation.

The majority of South Sudanese will appreciate with heartfelt gratitude to see the Republic of South Sudan being steered in the right direction. The Ten States should be the Revitalised Geographical Area for implementing R-ARCISS.

Some of these states are named after tribes like Twic State, Gok State, and carving off pieces of tribal land such as in Abiemnom and Panriang.

More states or less shall be created later in a process that will involve all the people, the constitution-making process. No more Republican Decrees and Republican Orders that favour the few, the cheering entourage at the airport to welcome the leader while many are left praying to avert further bad luck to the nation.

The reasons why it is good to return to Ten (10) States are as follows;

  1. The Ten States are constitutional; they were established by Khartoum and accepted by Late Dr. John Garang during the CPA negotiations. If they were a contention or were not illegally established and unconstitutional, the 2011 incoming government after independence would have prioritised the number and boundaries of states. However, there were no significant wars over boundaries disputes but only cattle raiding. Remember the war came in December 2013, not December 2011 to say there was no time for an increment of states using the constitution-making process. Ok, nobody was talking about the constitution by then because the people were already used to the “……I Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit do hereby decree……”
  2. The Ten States are economically viable; some states could not sustain themselves. As salaries from Juba are frequently delayed, often for over ten months, the states could not afford to pay rent for the offices of their governors. For instance, the Gok State Governor was kicked out by the owner of the premises rented to the State Secretariat. I know the other States in Greater Jonglei like Bieh are living under trees as Waat the Capital of Bieh State is an old town built in the 1970s, but today its structures remain as foundations to be pointed to the kids as historical sites.
  3. The Ten States are mending agents of our social fabric; with the Dinka hatred of the Nuer and vice versa, exacerbated by the hostility caused by the war amongst the tribes of South Sudan, the leading promoter of hate is caused by the 32 states. Some of these states are named after tribes like Twic State, Gok State, and carving off pieces of tribal land such as in Abiemnom and Panriang. That is why the idea of the Regional Bloc (IGAD) and the TROIKA to persuade the leaders and parties of the Republic of South Sudan to go back to the ten states is the best one. It will save the eroded social fabric of the country.
  4. The Ten States have boundaries; there is nobody that would go to war with anybody because of the state boundaries of the ten states. It is because there were no significant disputes attributed to its borders from the beginning. It is not a secret anymore that the Malakal of Collo is compromised by the Establishment Order 036, 2015, an Order was the last nail that contributed to sealing the coffin of ARCISS.
  5. The Ten States reduces the violence and insecurity; the current instability and violence are exacerbated by the failure by the local government to provide security to its people due to many governments that could not afford to run the services required of them efficiently and adequately. This is due to economic constraints brought in by the exploded number of civil servants.
  6. The Ten States provides value to the local government and its officials; I once saw a minister of Information of the ruling state on a bodaboda, a female Minister, it is not wrong to be on the bodaboda. Still, a commercial one for the Minister is questionable. If the Coordination decides to keep a tuk-tuk for facilitating the visiting official’s transportation in Juba, it would not be a bad thing. However, the roads are not safe for overstretched government officials. There is no value in becoming a state minister. The governor is the only one to be taken care of when in Juba, the rest have to fend for themselves.
  7. The Ten States do not overstretch the donor’s support; as South Sudan is the Republic of Donation, from food aid to medicines to other basic needs like education, it is essential to look into helping the donors to help us. Organise ourselves into organisations that could help the donors to save money on the cost of logistics. Bring the remnants of greedy war closer to one single place and give them decent human services.
  8. The Ten States could be the best models of government development; since the beginning of the CPA and after CPA, the government of South Sudan never constructed a modern structure except for the few donations from China and the Airport for the landing of the President and his takeoff to visit Uganda and other countries. One day a president that calls his governors on the phone to know what is happening will be in this country, it could be after many years, but it will happen. The development in the states would only be seen in the NGOs compounds.
  9. The Ten States could rapidly develop if there is no insecurity; the meagre resources that remain after arrays of corrupt deals are played in the line of delivery could be enough if ten states are reinstated. The insecurity will reduce, and the limited resources for a small geographical area where living humans have pooled around to access them would be much better than a scattered good for nothing 32 states.
  10. The Ten States are not tribal pieces of land; in Gok State, the Bongo people have already been suffocated by the name alone, the Cueibet area has the Beli and Bongo in a place called Alel, those small tribes are part of what the Gok call Gok State today leaving the Bongo to languish in unrecognised status. A tribal name like Twic makes it hard for a Jurmananger (Luo group) and Nuer from Mayom to feel comfortable when doing business with the state, why wouldn’t the insignificant states be named after the geographical areas and towns like Cueibet and Mayenabun or Turalei or Ajak-kuach at least?

To dissolve the hardened rock of tribalism, ten states must be reinstated, and the government of R-TGONU be formed on the 22nd of February 2020 and be in offices on the 23rd of February 2020 to continue with the other many tasks required to be carried out in the R-ARCISS.

The R-ARCISS is a test for the leaders of the time to be recognised that they are either leaders or just masqueraders who have been plunged into power after Late Dr. John Garang untimely abandoned the SPLM Party.