The Debate: Understanding Federalism

Through April 21, 1997 Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA).

By Deng Elijah.


June 08, 2014(Nyamilepedia) —  The Republic of South Sudan is made up of three provinces or regions , which comprise of Greater Equatoria, Greater Bahr el Ghazal and Greater Upper Nile. The three regions are divided into ten states: (1) Greater Equatoria — Central Equatoria,  Easter Equatoria and Western Equatoria states; (2) Greater Bahr el Ghazal — Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap and Lake states and;  (3). Greater Upper Nile — Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and subsequently the transitional constitution of South Sudan enacted a decentralized system of governance. According to the 2011 transition constitution, the government of South Sudan should decentralizes powers into three levels:

“a) the national level, which will exercise authority in respect of the people and the states; (b) the state level of government, which shall exercise authority within a state, and render public services through the level closest to the people; and (c) local government level within the state, which shall be the closest level to the people.” The 2011 transitional constitution.

Decentralization (or decentralisation) is loosely defined as the process of redistributing or dispersing functions, powers, people or things away from a central location or authority. Although decentralization is well researched and practiced, as a form of governance, there is no specific definition or understanding. The meaning of the term varies, depending on the context of its practice.

Although decentralized federalism is practiced in more than 40 countries, South Sudan is struggling to define and formalize the system. While some elites believe that the country practices unitary system, other believe it has decentralized systems.

To complicate the matter further, some elites are tackling a relatively complex system known as confederation. According to Oxford Dictionary, ” a confederation, also known as confederacy or league, is a union of political units for common action in relation to other units.” Confederation is, in most cases, created by treaty to deal with critical issues such as defence, foreign affairs and common currency, leaving a centralized government to monitor and provide for the members. While confederation provides for cessation, with stricter rules, it can be formulated into federation.

Despite the difficulties involved in understanding federalism or decentralized federation, Sudanese and South Sudanese agreed to adopt the following federal system during the 1997 Khartoum Peace Agreement(KPA).

Continue reading ….



The following powers shall be exercised by the Federal institutions:-

  1. Foreign Affairs.
  2. Armed Forces and Defense Affairs.
  3. Maritime Shipping and Navigation.
  4. Currency, Coinage and Bills of Exchange.
  5. Federal Budget and Federal Planning.
  6. External Communications, External and Inter-State Postal and Telecommunication services, Civil Aviation and the operation and maintenance of International Airports.
  1. Judiciary
  2. Federal Rail Ways and Inter-State Highways.
  3. Weights, measures and determination of time.
  4. National Census.
  5. Fishing and Fisheries in and beyond territorial waters.
  6. Mining.
  7. Inter-State Waterways.
  8. Federal Election Commission.
  9. Customs.
  10. External Trade.
  11. International Boundary and Inter-State Boundary Disputes.
  12. Meteorological Services.
  13. National Security.
  14. Federal Legislation:
  15. On matters within Federal Powers.
  16. On matters common to the States.
  17. Audit General.
  18. Education Planning.
  19. Attorney General and Advocacy.
  20. National Electricity Network.
  21. Federal Taxation.
  22. Passports, Immigration, Nationality and Aliens Affairs.
  23. Epidemic Control.
  24. Emergency Jurisdiction.


  1. State Security, Public order and good governance.
  2. Wildlife, tourism, Hotels, Inn, …etc.
  3. Land use and conservation without prejudice to the Federal Policies.
  4. Local Government.
  5. State Taxes.
  6. Agriculture, forestry and Fisheries including the establishment of Training Institutions in these fields.
  7. Promotion of Languages, Cultures, Folklore, Arts, etc.
  8. State Radio, TV, Newspapers and Printing Press.
  9. Quarrying
  10. Roads, Water Supply, Hydroelectric Power.
  11. Irrigation and embankment, pastures and their development.
  12. Animal Health, Animal Husbandry and Animal Wealth.
  13. Libraries and Museums.
  14. Industrial and commercial development.
  15. Missionaries activities, Charities and Endowments.
  16. Specialized Hospitals and Clinics.
  17. Establishment of Banks in accordance with Central Bank Policies.
  18. State Public Audit.
  19. State Electricity Network.
  20. State Attorney General.
  21. State Legislation.
  1. In matters within State Powers.
  2. Complementary to Federal laws in matters peculiar to the State.
  3. Customary laws.
  1. State economic development and Planning in accordance with Federal Planning.
  2. Recruitment of Specialized technical expertise in various fields of development.
  3. Health care and establishment of all types of medical institutions for treatment and training of qualified medical personnel.
  4. Registration of Birth and Death, and Marriages.
  5. Statistics.
  6. Scientific Research and Development.
  7. Administration of Meteorological Services.
  8. Education Management, Planning and Training up to the University level within the framework of the National planning.


  1. The State shall exercise the residual powers without prejudice to the powers allocated to the Federal authorities.
  2. The Federal authorities shall exercise the residual powers without infringing on powers allocated to the States.
  3. In case of dispute over the residual powers between the State and Federal authority, the dispute shall be referred to the Federal (Supreme) Court.


  1. The Federal Government shall lay down a comprehensive economic and social plan to develop the country in general and to bridge the gap between the various States in particular, so that within a definite period, a parity in provision of basic needs such as security, employment, water, food, education, health and housing could be reached.
  1. In order to consolidate the economic policies:-
  1. The economy in the [South] Sudan shall be based on free market forces.
  2. The Federal Bank of the [South] Sudan shall be responsible for regulating internal and external value of the [South] Sudanese currency.
  3. There shall be an independent Stock exchange Bureau for selling and floating shares, bonds and premiums of companies and currency regulation to enhance free market economy.
  4. There shall be established development projects to promote and maintain peace and stability among the people of the [South] Sudan.
  1. Major Federal development projects and big mining and oil projects shall be considered as national wealth and be managed on national basis provided that:-
  1. The Federal Government shall observe to allocate an equitable percentage of the Returns to be fixed by the Revenue Allocation Commission to the State where the project is located (see annex 3).
  2. Ensure participation of the States in the management of such projects.
  3. Ensure recruitment and training of citizens of the State in order to participate in such projects.
  4. Any other fringe benefits.
  1. Revenue Allocation Commission shall be established to recommend revenue sharing formula for the whole country. The Coordinating Council shall be represented.
  2. The Federal Government shall observe the following for the purpose of distribution of national revenue among the States and for site selection of major development projects: –
  3. Giving priority to the less developed States according to their state of underdevelopment.
  4. Economic feasibility of projects and their efficient functioning.
  5. Effect of the project in the realisation of self-sufficiency in the basic needs of the country.
  6. A balance relationship between development and density of population and environment.
  7. Establishment of special fund to take care of crash development programmes and maintenance of peace.
  8. In the field of rehabilitation of the war affected areas, the following shall be observed: –
  1. The Federal Government and the Coordinating Council shall work to attract loans and aid from the sisterly and friendly countries and international benevolent organizations to rehabilitate the economic projects which ceased to function or were damaged because of the war affected areas and resettlement of returnees and displaced persons.
  2. The Federal Government and the Coordinating Council shall launch a plan and joint international appeal for the reconstruction, rehabilitation, repatriation and development of the Southern States and other war affected areas.
  3. The Coordinating Council shall also establish a relief, resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction commission to manage and administer the resources acquired for the above purposes.
  1. The sources of revenue of the Southern States shall consist of the following:-
  1. State taxes and generated revenue.
  2. Fees, excise duties and licenses.
  3. Revenue from commercial, industrial and agricultural projects based in Southern States.
  4. Funds from the Federal treasury for established services in the States until such a time when they become self-reliant.
  5. Any development assistance and donations from foreign sources.
  6. Revenue allocation from the Federal Government for socio-economic development.
  7. State share of Federal taxes levied on Federal projects and services functioning within the Southern States [The ten states].
  8. Business profit taxes.
  9. Corporate taxes on factories and agricultural enterprises in the State, other than Federal ones, established in Southern States.
  10. Property taxes.
  11. The share of fees on licenses for mineral oil explorations (see annex 3).
  12. Profits accruing from the Customs, Airports Services, Roads, Postal and Telecommunication Services and River Transport in Southern States shall be allocated to the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Repatriation Commission.
  1. The State Government shall prepare a budget to meet the expenditure on services, administration and development of the State to be submitted to the State Legislative Organ for approval.
  2. No project adversely affecting the people, ecology and natural environment of State may be implemented without consulting the State Concerned.
  3. The Federal Government and the Coordinating Council shall encourage and promote foreign investment and procurement of development assistance for the Southern States and shall encourage establishment of branches of public sector institutions, development corporations and specialized banks.
  4. The Coordinating Council shall prepare a development budget for Southern States and to submit the same to the President.

Signed by:

For the Government of Sudan:

LT General El Zuber Mohammed Saleh, Vice President

For the United Democratic Salvation Front (UDSF)

and South Sudan Independence Movement/Army (SSIM/A):

Cdr. Dr. Riek Machar Teny D., Chairman & C-in-C (SSIM/A)

For the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM/A)

Cdr. Karubino Kawanyn Bol

Chairman C

C-in-C (SPLM/A)

For South Sudan Independents Group (SSIG)

Cdr. Kawac Makwei

Chairman C-in-C (SSIG)

For Equatoria Defese Force (DF)

Dr. Thiopholus Ochang Loti

Chairman C-in-C (EDF)

For Union of Sudanese African Parties (U.S.A.P)

Mr. Samuel Aru Bol

Chairman (U.S.A.P)

For Bor Group

Arok Thon Arok


  10 comments for “The Debate: Understanding Federalism

  1. June 9, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Reblogged this on the shoeshiner's eyes.


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