By Ijoo Bosco
August 19, 2013 (TORIT) - South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state parliament has passed a memo upgrading Torit, Kapoeta and Nimule towns into municipal or town councils.
- Eastern Equatoria State in red (in pink the Ilemi Triangle which is disputed with Kenya)
The memo was re-submitted on Monday for deliberation during sitting number 19 of the fourth session chaired by speaker Emmanuel Ambrose Ocholimoi.
The chairperson of the committee and the minister of cabinet and parliamentary affairs, Clement Laku Chichim, who tabled the motion in July, said it is the time for Eastern Equatoria State to move forward in delivering services and development.
On 24 July the assembly deliberated on the same memo but it was referred back to the committee because it lacked information on the sizes of the proposed areas and their respective economic statuses.
Agricultural products such as those from forestry, animal resources, cultural heritage, minerals resources and various receipts of taxation, license, donations and grants were cited as the sources of the economic viability of the three areas.
On the sizes, the committee proposed Torit as a Municipal Council composed of five blocks, including Hawaimeser, Nyong, Ilangi, Fodofodo and Laballua and shall be administered by a Mayor.
It is proposed that Kapoeta becomes a town council with five blocks including Nagirare, Kotome, Tarawa, Rei and Palakeol and Natingaro, while Nimule is also to become a town council consisting of five blocks including Kololo, Malakia, Sekua, Abila and Reyi.
Under the proposal, both Nimule and Kapoeta town councils would be administered by town clerks.
Despite some some MPs suggesting that some of the estimations in the proposed areas were not correct the parliament passed the memo, recommending that the correct figures for the sizes of the towns are to be worked on by technical experts.
However, late last week the Magwi county community of in the Madi corridor protested against the upgrading of Nimule into a municipality, presenting a letter to the state parliament speaker saying they are not ready for Nimule’s status to be upgraded to a municipality due to the lack of a wider consultation with its citizens and intellectuals.
The decision to upgrade the three major state towns appears likely to experience major challenges in terms of potential friction over who has jurisdiction over various issues between the county commissioners and the town mayors.