July 3, 2014 (JUBA) – The governor of South Sudan’s Central Equatoria state on Wednesday reiterated demands for a federal system of governance in the young nation, saying it was Equatorians who first proposed the idea, not rebel leader Riek Machar.
- Central Equatoria’s Clement Wani Konga (Photo Larco Lomayat)
Addressing reporters in the capital, Juba, Clement Wani Konga said federalism was discussed at all the four greater Equatoria region conferences and that resolutions agreed upon were handed over to president Salva Kiir.
“The president of the republic has not said to us, no don’t speak about federalism. If he told somebody, it must be [James] Wani who is more close to him, but us as governors of Equatoria he never told us no and the resolutions are all with him,” he said.
Konga, who dismissed an alleged assassination attempt on his life, said he would not accept federalism derived though bloodshed.
“He (Machar) wants only to woo the Equatoria people to support him. So I will not accept a federalism that is brought through blood,” remarked the governor.
“The blood Nuer people are shedding is not for federalism. Riek is killing Nuer people so that he becomes the president. Somebody of who have just turned his back to the presidency one meter away, what can you do for him?” he added.
WARRING PARTIES ACCUSED
Governor Konga accused the two major rival tribes of possessing negative attitudes towards the people of his region, alleging Equatorian sons and daughters serving in the police and army were being deliberately disarmed.
“There is disarmament going on now against the Equatoria, those in the police, those who are in the army. Can one tribe or two tribes make a nation? No. South Sudan is for us all and all of us contributed in kind even those who were on the government side”, Konga said.
The Dinka and the Nuer tribes, he claimed, possessed attitudes that were totally against his region and that both warned they would turn to Equatorians after war.
“Those big tribes, the Dinka and the Nuer, the Dinka say after finishing with Nuer, they will turn to the Equatoria. The Nuer says you have led us along, when you finish serving the Dinka they will turn against Equatoria. We have heard this and we are waiting for it. We are not afraid,” he said.
“Nobody can sit on head. Nobody can sit on the head of Equatoria. We are all equal. What goodness will you get by killing your brother in cold blood? And all these activities have indicated, have shown themselves”, be added.
Meanwhile, the governor distanced himself from claims that he aided rebel leader Machar’s escape out of Juba following last year outbreak of violence.
“There is in the internet, that I clement helped Riek Machar to escape from Juba. Since in the morning of 16, 17 we have been together with the president of the republic, how could I go and helped Riek Machar to get out of Juba?” he said.
“It is the army that failed to ensure that Riek shouldn’t get out of Juba. And even when he was going people were sending information instead of cutting him off, cutting the route off so that he don’t cross the river Nile,” he added.
Konga further warned against what he described as mistreatment of Equatorians who mobilised to join the army after the eruption conflict, saying they were left to die despite their commitment to defend the country.
“As for us Equatorians, we have kept the president Salva. It is us who protect him since my return from Germany in 2012. It is not the Dinka who are keeping the president in power. It is us the Equatoria and if we are being disliked because of our frankness then there is something wrong. We shall never attack anybody,” said the governor.
“We are here to defend ourselves and we have not carried out any mobilization to support Riek Machar except the six pickup vehicles (Tashar) in Ngolobo in which a brigade has been deployed in the field and is doing well. But unfortunately they are not treated well. They are left as Equatorians. Sick or dead or hungry, they have only the Akm 47,” he added.
Konga, however, said his duty as the governor of the area was to mobilise the people to join the national army and that it was the responsibility of the army to look after the recruits to maintain them.
“The poorest people in the republic of South Sudan are Equatoria people. From the messenger to the president, they are well off. Did we complain? No,” he said.
The official urged South Sudanese to devote their energies and resources towards developing the country, emphasising that the law would deal with those causing problems in the country.