Kiir’s Destruction of South Sudan Through Federalism


Kiir’s Destruction of South Sudan Through Federalism

By Dr. Costello Garang Riiny

If Kiir and his advisors really understand the background to a federal system and how it really functions, they wouldn’t continue creating additional States but rather go back to the old ten States. The Republic of South Sudan is currently at the brink of total economic collapse, if not already engulfed by it.

It really makes no sense to create additional States in a bankrupt country. This is besides the Presidential Decree of 14th January expanding the number of States to 32 being against the Agreement On Conflict Resolution In South Sudan (ACRSS).

Federalism is not a modern form of tribalism. Citizens of different tribes can be citizens of the same State and are to be treated equally. The constitution of a Sate shouldn’t contradict the basic law of the whole nation. An Anyuak can be Governor of Abiem State, for example, if he lives and works there. A Nuer can run Twic State. What is possible at State level should also be possible at

national level. Federalism is not meant to enhance divisions in an already divided nation at war with itself. It’s not applied as a central unconstitutional solution to national constitutional conflicts. It serves national consensus and strengthens good administration at State and local levels. It’s also not meant to marginalize specific ethnic groups from power sharing at the national level.

States are to generate enough revenues to finance their social, economic, political and cultural activities, with the Federal Government injecting federal funds for shared developmental and security purposes, for example, when and where such cooperation is constitutionally defined and necessary. There are federal institutions like the FBI in the US and BKA in Germany, which are funded by the centre. Similarly, in a federal system, local police in a State is funded by that State.

In South Sudan none of the original 10 States was able to fund its police leave alone State parliament and other State Government structures. The old Central Equatoria and the oil-rich Unity and Upper Nile States could have done that had we had a true federal structure and not a corrupt instrument built for the creation of positions and generating salaries for incompetent and corrupt administrators hailing from the ruling SPLM/A party.

Kiir’s current federalism is not fit for the development of the nation. Indeed, it’s no longer able to generate fat salaries for the SPLM/A cadres, because oil prices have gone down. It is just Heroin for power-hungry dreamers, eager to get easily rich. Soon they will discover that they have been deceived and that the time for easy money to be embezzled has passed.

The extremely rich Federal Republic of Germany has a population of 82 million inhabitants and only 16 States, which are able to fund their regional activities and programs. States like Bavaria and Baden Wuertemburg have different German tribes in one State. It could have been easy to give each tribe its own State, if federalism was meant to be some kind of cheap modern tribalism. There are also non-German ethnic groups in Germany. I don’t mean immigrants like Turks or the more recently migrated Syrians. In the northern German State of Schleswig Holstein with its capital Kiel, there are Danish and Friesian Friestland minorities. The Sorbes, who are of Slavic origin and therefore non-German, are in the States of Brandenburg and Sachsen. They have no State of their own but enjoy all the rights including teaching their own language and having their cultural activities.

Switzerland has four languages, German, French, Italian and Romanic. Germans are about 60% of the population, yet other languages are recognized. Of the 26 Cantons of Switzerland, 4 are multilingual. Bern, Frieburg and Walis Cantons speak German and French languages. Graubuden Canton speaks German, Italian and Romanic languages. These tribes or ethnic groups are all Swiss and can, and indeed do, live harmoniously together in same State (Canton). The system has been working for the last 170 years. It functions because of tolerance and recognition of one another.

This is the message President Kiir should preach to our people instead of endlessly creating new States as a solution for what are mistakenly perceived as tribal conflicts. Federalism is not modern tribalism or tribal administration. Otherwise, we could end up having more than 60 States for our different tribes. Our federalism would then surely fail. It would be unfundable.




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