Why The SPLM/A – IO Calls For Federalism in South Sudan.

By Hon. Timothy Tot Chol,

Source: Zee Machar/Nyamilepedia

Source: Zee Machar/Nyamilepedia

April 8, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudanese began demanding a federal arrangement with Northern Sudan since 1947 when the Sudan was still a British colony. Federalism, as understood by many, is a governing system of shared rule and self-rule. It is therefore a governing system in which power is divided between federal constituent units at the national, state and county levels.

The concentration of power and resources in Juba to the exclusion of the other federal constituents (state and counties), are common problems of our existing decentralized system of government under President kiir. In our proposed federal structure, it is hoped that most problems associated with power sharing and allocation of resources will be addressed. Diversity will be respected; tension and conflict will be reduced. Federalism will give lower governmental structures the right to self-rule and control over their own destiny under the united state of the Republic of South Sudan.

The modern political history of South Sudan reveals that it was part of a unitary state of the Republic of Sudan that Britain and Egypt colonized under a Condominium arrangement. Sudan got its Independence in 1956 in the midst of Southern rebellion under the Anya-Nya Movement. The British handed over the Sudan to Northern political elites to the exclusion of South Sudanese who became dissatisfied with the distribution of the national cake.

In 1972 an Ethiopian brokered peace, the Addis Ababa Agreement, was signed. South Sudan was granted an autonomous status which crumbled in 1983 leading to the second rebellion under the SPLM/A.

In 2005 the SPLM/A under the leadership of late Dr. John Garang and the Khartoum Regime under Omar Hassen Al Bashir, signed what became the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Under the terms of this Agreement the South was to govern itself for an interim period of six years after which they would be allowed to vote in a referendum to choose between unity of Sudan and separation and establishment of an independent state of their own.

In July 2011, Southern Sudanese voted for Independence and declared a country of their own and became the number 193 in the family of nations (UN).

South Sudan is a land of much diversity. There are over sixty tribes or ethnic groups. They practice Christianity, Islam and African Religions making it one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Experience has proven that few multicultural states are stable as is the case in the former states of the Soviet Union, Asia and Africa. This situation is caused by the monopolization of state political and economic power by the majority group elites to the disadvantage of other minority groups and the failure of the former to recognize the importance of the involvement of the excluded minority groups in the state building process. Therefore, for a diverse multicultural state to be stable, it is important for the political leaders to implement just, democratic and inclusive policies.

One such arrangement that can facilitate the creation of a politically stable state and society is the adoption of a federal system of government. Under the anticipated reforms proposed by SPLM/A –IO, a crafted process with ideals of a new South Sudan nation building that will involve stakeholders from the South’s diverse communities is important and necessary.

Although President Kiir has frustrated the efforts of building a united multicultural and harmonious society in the new state of South Sudan through his regime’s corruption, tribalism, nepotism and disregard for the rule of law, the current crisis must be squarely placed on his head. As the President and head of government he should have known better, done better and avoided what we have got into today. Surely, the current crisis is the result of the President’s impunity and failure to manage his government by good example. Unfortunately, the current crisis is the end result of that inaction.

Students of political and social sciences will agree with me that when political, social and economic government structures and their policies promote and protect discriminatory policies, the potential for social tension and violent conflict will be high. Similarly, the inability of the state to deal with the socio-economic sources of poverty and social evils and perversions, eventually will fuel feelings of injustice, frustration with the government and eventual its rejection by the people.

Despite the fact that decentralization has been enshrined in the Transitional Constitution as the system of government in South Sudan, President Kiir ignored this and effectively centralized the country. He dismissed state governors and appointed others in their places in violation of the constitution. As mentioned earlier, the decentralized system under President Kiir failed to address the fundamental structural causes of conflicts within our society. As such it is our contention in the SPLM/A – IO that an appropriately designed and publicly owned version of federal system will help to transform our social conflicts into harmony and unity among our people and will address the issues and concerns of South Sudan’s multi-ethnic and multicultural society.

The merits and demerits of federalism have been the subject of hot debates among South Sudanese political groups and intellectuals. Sometimes these debates are informed by personal political interests than reality of our situation. President Kiir and his cohorts reject federalism for obvious reasons of losing some of their powers which they used to intimidate state and county officials and exhort from them money, land and cattle.

Conflict resolution mechanism within the proposed federal arrangement

Effective and efficient functioning of the proposed federal structure will require dynamic conflict resolution mechanisms for addressing conflict between the federal, state and county governments. The Council of states, one of the components of our parliament will be entrusted to deal with any conflicts arising between federal constituents. A constitutional court or any competent court shall also be entrusted to deal with such conflicts.

Similarly, different formal arrangements will be made to deal with intergovernmental financial issues. The South can benefit from experiences of other federal countries that have created councils and commissions to deal with financial related conflicts. E.g. Malaysia, (National Finance Council), Australia, (The commonwealth Grant Commission), and South Africa, (Financial and Fiscal Commission). These bodies will deal with financial and related conflicts among the constituents of the federation.

In a federation the sharing of natural resources among federal units can generate conflict. In such a case an independent authority – natural authority commission – shall be established to address and resolve issues related to land, water; mines and minerals; hydro-electric power, etc. This independent commission will be a useful mechanism for resolving conflict and confusion related to sharing and use of of natural resources. Finally, and to safeguard our federal arrangement, the federal constitution will provide for a referendum on highly contentious issues of national importance. This provision shall be enshrined in the federal constitution.

The SPLM/A –IO proposed federalism in order to fulfill the aspirations and expectations of our people for justice, equality, democracy, rule of law, political stability, development, equal opportunities, pluralism and separation of powers and prevention of impunity and tyranny.

In conclusion, the success and failure of federalism in South Sudan or anywhere will depend on the degree of public acceptance of the form of federalism adopted and the degree of implementation of the basic values and processes in addition to the political will of our leaders. If the principles of federalism are rightly and honestly operationalized and internalized, many conflicts and tensions in our country will be addressed and amicably resolved. Federalism, like any other system of government is not 100% perfect. It has its own advantages and disadvantages. In reality there is no perfect system in the world. Everything is influenced positively or negatively by its environment.

Hon. Timothy Tot Chol, a former MP in the national parliament, is the current National Chairman of Committee for Federalism and Good Governance, and the National Leadership Council, SPLM/A- IO.

  13 comments for “Why The SPLM/A – IO Calls For Federalism in South Sudan.

  1. GatNor
    April 8, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Federal Democratic Republic Of South Sudan will establish a government of the people, for the people & by the people replacing the current tyranny


  2. April 8, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Simply because they want to ruler and grabs money from State and doing nothing.rebels mess like the mess John Garang had left to our people.


  3. April 8, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    you have intrupted 2015 elections.pple would have voted in and out for a total changes including you.you have used the live of innocents pple for no benefit.


  4. April 8, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    federal governance is an idea that require public opinions,but without a ful implementation of democracy,respect to the rules of laws follow by elections to elect a good leader still will regret decenterlise system of governance.let us accept peace.


  5. April 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I always saw your comment just run like car gasoline runs out. stop empty mine comment it s bothering others.


  6. Deng II
    April 8, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    I hate that stupid map, not an idea of Federalism. I would like to see Unity State divided to two State. Two Dinka Counties cannot co-exist with Nuer


    • Deng II
      April 8, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      I m rooting for Nuer independent Country. Whoever like to share country with Jieng, should stay with Dinka. My fear is that they would fight themselves every day, because every Nuer person need to lead.


  7. Gatkuoth Lok
    April 8, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    It is true that the author deserves appreciations on this piece of work. He has made it crystal clear that federalism is the only answer to our current crises which were caused by none other than president Kiir himself. Now if the aforesaid definition of federalism by Hon. Timothy Tot is the what-ness of this system of governance-being self-rule and sharing of resources in appropriation based on the wud be federal constitution, then the SPLM-IO is bringing home lasting gift consequential to last peace in the country amongst our pple. This federalism is the best kind of all governance systems in multiethnic, multicultural, multireligious and multiracial society as ours, as I personally came to learn during my studies of philosophy- encountering a lot of thinkers of diverse ideologies n theories…… This country be soon an African tiger as has been Dr. Machar’s dream for this State. For in this state citizens will vote into power their own leaders of their choice at federal govt. level, state level n county level resulting to development, the end result of democracy. Justice in this state be made use of applying its content of the rule of law, rights and equality three of which will enable us to realise supremacy before the law, accountability prevailing in all public institutions, opportunity for all, given justly based upon distributed justice-all these be resultant to radical eradication of corruption in the country, which in turn entails prosperity enjoyable by all South Sudanese of different works of life. Lastly bravo Timothy Tot for the article with excellent substance. May u continue to educate our pple?


  8. April 8, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks you Gatnor for your recognition for all people government not hay like what’s now.
    Federal system is a views collective and human presentation in country reigning thought our college doesn’t no who to make his leadership accountable for all people life otherwise we once regret of who have been disco from units live. I personally thanks Dr. Machar for his warm leadership accountable for all people government not like what’s now doctrine by stupid neurological President.
    In accordance within country reign’s constitution is not popular to all people and see the quality of childish experience appear on mediating their political icons.


  9. April 9, 2015 at 12:44 am

    very truly you are:)”Hon.lets’ our theme to of todays’ be federal gov’nance,two separate aremies,=powers of kiir’s side executive and to the side of splm/a in io) if not ; whose’ body is an anti-bullet. so just let we visit the paradise otherwise .


  10. chuolkhan
    April 9, 2015 at 1:22 am

    Yea of course when we talks of federalism let me say Federalism is the one which will reduced all the crises within Nation base on corruption ,nepotism ,insecure poor ,development and dictators governance within the state and other areas like
    ,county,payam, and Boma there will be no disputes among us for example any
    things like resources (wealth) you have, you will deal with them to developed your state or county respectively as you have see or you look on the new map. Therefore,it will brig us all to the system to me i have to comment on that if we are using it after the peace has yield the fruits, meaning that everyone of us will have any kinds of beneficiary in particular areas where he/she is as well as you are citizens of that state no one will brought outside from other states OK unless the government will authorized to send this person to work from that to the specific areas also with the agreement of the state government and community according to constitution.So from there, your people will give you this chance according to your visionary and your well governance to your people .Addition to this also it will show every one on the mirror of the country to be good leader then just to meet there in central government which is HQ of the all states with in South-Sudan where every one will meet with his/her friend ,such that there will be no uncle who can give you position like what is happened here for 10 years back up to date that is why every General he brought his people to army and train them also give them extra things as the part of corruption to me if we use this federal system before it could not happened because no one will send his Armies forces to other states in order to kill other ethnic groups according to kirr his regime has done. wow! FEDERALISM WILL KEEP US IN TOUCH NOT TO GRAB OTHER LAND .


  11. April 9, 2015 at 3:56 am

    The Federal system of govenance is the way toward democracy.
    This way of governance will be implemented without any discrimination!


  12. April 11, 2015 at 1:23 am

    Affirmative;Hon Timothy Tot )for the wide range opinion about Federalism and about how South Sudan multicultural,ethnicity can have coexisting way of life
    Secondly,you narrative the simultaneity violation of Transitional Constitution by president of the Republic of South Sudan removed the elected Governor replace with care taker without conducted.the primary election that can fulfil the constitutional method as according to the law.
    It seem the decentralised system we have it become nil and voice,law maker and all talents precise that, decentralised system is not any longer there blamed for the head of State.
    The only system that needs to be adopted and test should be federal system,and this federal system was pick up since (1947) as result of Juba conference, we cannot be shy today after we failed to implementing the decentralised system.yes you have right to demand for federalism and also you have right to say;no good and bad system in the world but it depends on environmental influence it’s a reality saying,any system in the world should not be predicted nor to be prophecy but the goodness will be seen after it function people may say yes for it after it bear the good products and will remain the only.Your idea or the SPLM IO came after members of National Constitutional Review Commission discussed and the majority agreed on it, ninety percent of total population of the South Sudan already Per claims the fate of it.


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