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Date Snippet Page
2014/07/09 President Kiir warns that federalism would lead to expulsion of certain ethnic groups from certain states, such as Dinka from Equatoria. Referring to such a process in the early 1980s he calls this 'korkora'. Snippet: President Kiir warns that federalism would lead to expulsion of certai....
2014/07/03 The Governors of the Equatorian states insist that the debate on federalism should continue, despite apparent attempts by the central authorities to stifle it. Snippet: The Governors of the Equatorian states insist that the debate on feder....
2014/06/01 Lam Akol (leader of parliamentary opposition party SPLM-DC) adds his voice to calls for a federal system of governance, and de-linking of the national army from the ruling SPLM party. Snippet: Lam Akol (leader of parliamentary opposition party SPLM-DC) adds his v....
2014/05/13 A federal constitution is advocated by EES governor Clement Wani, claiming to speak on behalf of Greater Equatoria. Snippet: A federal constitution is advocated by EES governor Clement Wani, clai....
2014/04/15 to 2014/04/18 In Nasir, SPLM-in-Opposition holds a consultative conference of its leaders with representatives of civil society. It endorses Riek Machar as the leader, and a set of eight specialized committees as an interim leadership structure. It resolves to pursue the adoption of federalism in the constitution of South Sudan, and to reform and professionalize the SPLA. Snippet
2014/04 Riek Machar claims that adoption of federalism (stronger autonomy for the states) in the 2011 Interim Constitution would have helped avert the current crisis. Riek says he and the state governors had been advocating this system in 2011, but President Kiir had accused him of running a parallel government. Snippet
2010/10/14 Having recently approved GOSS's largest ever budget, the National Legislative Assembly passes resolutions urging cuts to civil service positions at the national level, so as to fund greater capacity in the states, and mass retirements of elderly staff in order to make jobs for young graduates. Snippet
2013/10 A pioneering effort to extend HIV/AIDS counselling and testing from cities to rural areas is made by YMCA with support from the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, in Yambio area. Snippet 1297
2013/10/02 Eastern Equatoria State approves 22 new payams (districts), bringing its the total to 75. This is in response to 'community demand', presumably meaning the desire of ethnic groups to have more local self-government. Snippet 1270
2013/07/05 Germany and South Sudan sign an agreement under which the former will provide USD 40 million in aid over two years, focusing on ‘Decentralisation and Accountability’, ‘Urban Water and Sanitation’ as well as ‘Food Security and the Development of Agricultural Markets’. Snippet
2013/01 The national finance ministry makes and agreement with state ministries on taxation, in which the states retain revenues from income tax on their own employees and agree to cooperate with the centralized collection policy. Snippet 1166
2012/07 2012: Community division means that Lopa/Lafon resists a single county commissioner. Instead in July the Governor appoints separate administrators for Lafon and Imehejek corridors (CRN 18 July 2012) Snippet 584
2012/06 Vice-President Riek Machar says GOSS will establish more counties (in CES) to “bring cities to the people”. Snippet 530
Reference Mini-review
Jacob K. Lupai, 2014/06/02. Bibliography item: Jacob K. Lupai (2014/06/02) "Federal system of government in South Sudan not ‘kokora’". (Article). South Sudan News Agency. [Article] South Sudan News Agency. Accessed online.

This 1,500-word article addresses the perceived parallel between current calls for federalism, and the 'kokora' or sub-division of Southern Sudan which took place during under the ill-fated Regional Government between 1972 and 1983. An underlying issue is resentment - particularly by Equatorians - of apparent Dinka domination of central government. Kokora was seen as a way of mitigating that, but also causing disunity among Southern Sudanese. The author contends that federalism would be different from kokora, in not involving the eviction of peoples from provinces due to their ethnicity.

Augustino Ting Mayai, 2014/06/01. Bibliography item: Augustino Ting Mayai (2014/06/01) "How the Federal System of Government is Misunderstood in South Sudan". (Report). The Sudd Institute. [Report] The Sudd Institute. Accessed online.

This 4-page report points out that the current transitional constitution of South Sudan uses a kind of federalism, although without the name. Hence the current debate about adopting a federal system is often confused. In the view of the author, the debates should focus on more detailed questions like curtailing the power of the national president to dismiss state governors, and of the finance ministry to control all tax collection, and the central regulation of the judicial system. But he also points out the heavy immediate economic cost of decentralization.

Jack Lino Wuor Abeyi, 2014/06. Bibliography item: Jack Lino Wuor Abeyi (2014/06) "South Sudan: Federalism And Prisoner’s Dilemma". (Article). Gurtong. [Article] Gurtong. Accessed online., Accessed online., Accessed online.

Three-part article presenting a temperate and thoughtful collection of arguments against federalism in South Sudan.

John Adoor Deng, 2014/05/28. Bibliography item: John Adoor Deng (2014/05/28) "Rush to Federalism is not the Panacea to South Sudan’s Chronic Tribulations". (Article). PaanLuel Wël. [Article] PaanLuel Wël. Accessed online.

This 1,500-word article explains that federalism comes in a wide range of strengths, but generally opposes it for South Sudan at present on three grounds: (1) that South Sudan lacks enough common bond of unity to hold it together under a federal system; (2) the present lack of democracy does not provide a suitable basis for a federal system and (3) the present culture of corruption at the national level would be transmitted to the separate parts of the federation.

Zechariah Manyok Biar, 2014/05/18. Bibliography item: Zechariah Manyok Biar (2014/05/18) "How leaders contribute to tribalism in South Sudan". (Article). Sudan Tribune. [Article] Sudan Tribune. Accessed online.

This 1,000-word article contends that tribal conflicts are inflamed when political and military leaders surround themselves with bodyguards [and other staff] from their own tribe. In many South Sudan cultures, the author writes, the elders give orders to youth indirectly. For a leader in a modern state institution this has inappropriate political and legal consequences. The author recommends a legal ban on speech which belittles any ethnic group, or which suggests that one group is above the others. He also wants law to give a people freedom to live as a citizen in any state of South Sudan.

AWEPA, 2013/12. Background to Decentralisation and the Local Government System [Book] Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA). Accessed online.

Published as a manual for training local councils in South Sudan, this book provides a useful outline of the institutional structure of local government.

Stephen Par Kuol, 2013/09/29. The local government In the state of Lacuna [Article] Gurtong. Accessed online.

Testimony by a local government official on the poor state of local government in most counties. Major shortcomings which he identifies are: a lack of effective accountability - and consequent corruption - of county commissioners; a lack of practical resourcing and implementation of the structures outlined in the 2009 Local Government Act; and prevalence of nepotism over meritocracy in appointments.

Sudan Tribune, 2012/06/01. South Sudan to establish more new counties - Machar [News item] Sudan Tribune. Accessed online.
Government of Southern Sudan, 2007. Constituencies Development Fund Act, 2007 [Operating document] Government of Southern Sudan. Accessed online.

The Act creates a Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) into which 3% of government revenue is paid. MPs are to submit project proposals for their own constituencies. Each MPs proposals should have been prioritized by a Constituency Development Committee convened by the MP. The proposals are scrutinized by both a management committee (formed mainly by ministries and their nominees) and a Constituency Fund Committee (formed of MPs). Approved proposals are passed to the Finance Minister for inclusion in the government budget. Projects are to be implemented by relevant ministries.


Editorial blog, 17 April 2014

Leadership and looming hunger

Last Wednesday (16th April 2014) might go down as the day the government began its anti-famine campaign. For several weeks the voices of aid agencies have been joining in chorus, warning of a potentially devastating food crisis ahead. Around a million people have fled their homes since the civil war started in December. Homes, businesses and government offices have been destroyed and looted; salary payments and imports of food and other basic goods in many places stopped or disrupted. In the growing season just begun, people over huge swathes of territory will be unable to cultivate much.

What did the government do yesterday? It launched a national Food Security Council. While one may be sceptical about the efficacy of a new bureaucratic structure, the inauguration by President Kiir was in itself a significant public signal. Kiir conveyed a sense of urgency by making several eye-opening commands or suggestions. Probably the most practical of these was his instruction to the ministers of defence and national security to dismantle the road-blocks and stop the searching of relief vehicles (Sudan Tribune, 16 April). This seems to indicate a compromise in Juba’s relations with the UN, which for the last few months have been marked by acrimony over the latter’s alleged high-handedness and lack of neutrality amid the government’s struggles against rebels.

More problematic was Kiir’s apparent impromptu banning of domino and card games as time-wasting activities during the vital farming season, and his proposal that local courts should be suspended during this period (Eye Radio, 16 April). Whatever the legal status of these pronouncements (and part of the problem is their status may remain unclear, leaving spaces to justify officials in arbitrary exercises of power), they show a dismissive attitude to ordinary principles of civil liberty and the integrity of grassroots institutions.

These measures would probably not do much to avert the crisis even if they could be implemented. Of the rural people who are lucky enough to be able to cultivate in relative safety, only some have prospects of being able to sell at a worthwhile price what they grow and do not eat themselves. In the clientelist economy of South Sudan, where getting a lucrative opportunity depends greatly on your connections, it might really be less sensible to spend your time in the garden than at the court or the dominoes table.

A good leader (says the book on my shelf) should not need to issue many reactive orders. The role is more about creating an organizational structure and culture in which people can work effectively. This requires longer-term strategic thinking and agenda-shaping. Perhaps the most important thing about Kiir’s emergency food security proposals is not what they are in themselves, but their potential to foster a sense throughout South Sudan’s government and population that the coming food crisis - which will mostly kill people among the youngest and most elderly members of poor families in the areas most affected by fighting - is something which belongs to the whole nation.

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