June 30, 2014 (KAMPALA) – Church leaders and women’s group in South Sudan’s Unity state have voiced their support for a federal system of government amid growing calls for its implementation.
Abraham Tuach Kiir, a bishop from Evangelical covenant church of South Sudan in Upper Nile state, said the church was backing the introduction of federalism in the country.
Kiir said a federal system was the best hope of ending conflict in the country, which erupted in mid-December last year after escalating political tensions within the ruling SPLM turned violent.
“It (federalism) would minimise some of the problems in South Sudan because it is [a] good system,” he said.
“We are playing a role as a church to advocate support of federal system,” added Kiir.
Regina Tap Dalang, from Unity state’s Leer county, said federalism was the only option that would guarantee women greater participation in the country’s affairs.
“We look at the federal system [to] pave a way for our children for a better future of education and employments opportunities,” she said.
Samuel Gai Kuiynin, a resident from Unity state, says a federal system in South Sudan would help create more job opportunities.
He said currently many young graduates were unable to find jobs and past their times simply “loitering around under trees”.
“The government always blame the youths [for problems], but they don’t have the jobs,” he said.
“I do support the [introduction of a] federal government; that would be [an] opportunity for us, we [the] youths of South Sudan,” he added.
Meanwhile, a Unity state MP who spoke on condition of anonymity said the formation of a federal system would likely reduce crime through stronger laws and amendments to current legislation.
“[A] federal system will address the gap between the communities who are making crises among themselves,” the lawmaker said.
She also believes federalism will also help address geographical tensions among South Sudanese people.
“Some communities in South Sudan live in disputes due [to] undemarcated borders between [the] states,” she said.
The MP dismissed claims by some communities that formation of a federal system of governance would deny others access and benefits from natural resources and development.
As calls grow across Sudan for a federal system of governance, the government has cautioned against ongoing debate on the matter, saying restoring peace and social harmony should be the country’s first priority.
Presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny told Sudan Tribune last Tuesday that the question of governance should be determined by citizens in a referendum once stability had been restored.
South Sudan’s rebel faction is also demanding the introduction of a federal system, saying it would help ensure equitable resource distribution among all states and curb violence and corruption in the country.