South Sudan's 28 States: A Reflection

Published on 12th January 2016

I believe we must learn them to support ourselves as people and as a nation. My dear brothers and sisters, our country with the  trillions of barrels of oil, streaming underneath, our soil at its height of virginity and fertility, and exotic wildlife endemic to it (our country), we  can stay vitalized with enough food, with  oil and minerals to use locally and to export worldwide for  thousands of years.

However, not being industrious people, we doze off in the presence of laziness. Laziness breeds all types of sufferings because the legends said: “an idle mind is a workshop of the devil.” So, laziness leads to hopelessness, self-confidence, low self-esteem and poor health. South Sudanese are suffering today from lack of engagements in sustainable policies. Policies, which build a country are rarely talked about by the politicians, and if they do talk about them, they don’t invest the resources and time in them.

Wallowing in laziness, our youth all over country is on the lookout for the acquisition of wealth in short-cuts. So, cattle rustling bears fruits among those who indulge in this crime, ambushing business products deliveries, and deserting villages with the excuses of insecurity are spin-offs of laziness. As South Sudanese, we must identify and understand our first and last enemy. Our first and last enemy is us, our limitations: hatred, greed and lack of understanding of our diversity.

Diversity: the state of being a mixture, can help us if we make use of it. In South Sudan, 64 tribes exist; some tribes are medium in size, some are small in size and some are large in size. With these facts, I would like to inform those who are running around with stupid democracy with little or no understanding of it, that they are making a mistake because democracy in South Sudan is a lifeless system of governance. A lifeless system because we have not understood the benefits of diversity, and so, we embrace the stupid democracy of numbers, a democracy of numbers, where we only support a leader from our own tribe regardless. South Sudan won’t stand on numbers alone, but on our diversity.

So, I believe we are killing our diversity by creating the 28 States. This will affect our country in the following areas: Universities, Businesses, Federal ministries and  National army.

(a) Universities

We know that not all States have institutions for higher education. So, there exist 13 universities in South Sudan; 6 publics and 7 privates. But, because 28 States came into existence, majority of states have no universities.  Where will their students go for universities? Juba?

Some people can argue that States’ governments with the help of federal government, will upgrade some primary and secondary schools in these States into universities; however, a localized learning where children are taught by their relatives is a learning that lacks exposure. Furthermore, experts are scattered, so you find a handful of experts sprinkled all over the country. Some newly created States have more, some have none.

Well, slicing and dicing up the country into 28 States is killing of diversity in learning institutions; and so, without learning a language of diversity, we are still on the road of finding ourselves as South Sudanese.

(b) Businesses

Primarily, we as a country, don’t produce anything apart from oil. So all our agricultural and manufactural products come from Uganda mainly, some from Kenya, and a few from North Sudan.

There are no roads from South Sudan to Ethiopia and Eritrea. All products will continue to come into the country via the same route- Uganda through Nimulie road. Hundreds of other States’ residents have been working in Nimule since 2005; what are they going to do? Move to their respective States? Or Stay?

You can answer these questions.

On other hand, business persons will localize their businesses. So, locals will trade locally in fear of harm to themselves and their businesses. We saw it before, the killing of business people because they happened to be in areas owned by other tribes. This means their businesses will depend on local population and its demands. If the local population can’t support their businesses, these businesses will collapse. And the economy countrywide will deteriorate.

Diversity supports every aspect of our lives so killing it, is a political big mistake. So how will it (creation of 28 states) look in terms of employment…?

(c) Federal ministries

In the dawn of our independence, all citizens were somehow welcomed to work in any ministry as their qualifications permit. However, nepotism and corruption were still gnawing the nationalism inside out. Ministers and other senior staff employed their relatives with little knowledge or qualification in the ministries they ministered, or sent them for higher education on behalf of the ministries.

And now, we have 28 States, where Dinka will purely own States, Nuer in their own States, and Mundari with their own and so…. That means if the president reshuffles the federal ministries now, then a tribe will own a ministry or ministries, where they would employ only people of their tribes. Is that giving power to the people or taking towns to people? I believe no, it’s an encouragement of nepotism and corruption. Our country needs these (nepotism and corruption) less or not at all. We need a language of diversity more than ever.

(d) National army

The army has been a problem to the civilians in South Sudan more it has been good to them. The ministry of defence has stationed some divisions in the heart of civilians’ settlements. And because much of their [soldiers] discipline has either evaporated or it hadn’t been instilled in them since their trainings…

A part of the army roams the villages for anything: married women, young girls, alcohol, or for mischiefs. With these behaviour, their relationship with the civilians is a tragedy. Tragedy in the sense that some of the civilians, mostly women and children, lost their lives because of some soldiers turning their guns towards civilians. These incidents happened before the creation of the 28 states.

However, what will happen in the 28 states where certain tribes will wholly own States?  Worse things will happen. Unless, all divisions are located far away from civilians’ settlements.

By Kur Wel Kur.

Kur Wel Kur has a Bachelor Degree in Genetics and Zoology from Australian National University (ANU). He pursues a Masters of International Security Studies at Macquarie University (Australia). He is presently the General Secretary of Greater Bor Community in Adelaide, Australia. He can be reached via his email contact: kurwelkur @

Courtesy: PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB)

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