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Twi Leaders, History Distortion and its Implication for South Sudan (Part I)

By Kuir ë Garang

June 10, 2014 (SSNA) -- What would you do to leaders who want to benefit politically by sacrificing the truth about their own ethnic history? How would you call leaders who advise young people to forget about their history because it’s inconveniencing the falsehood and the political cocoon they’ve built for their selfish interests? How would you trust leaders who can’t unite their own counties but dream of being national leaders in South Sudan? Where in the world does an adult tell young, enthusiastic, truth-seeking people to never, ever talk about their own history? Would you trust a leader who tells his own kids to not be proud of their authentic history and embrace a vilifying, demeaning reality? Too many questions, I know!

Unfortunately, this is exactly what Twi leaders of Jonglei state tell their young people and the less informed populace.

Writers read to authenticate or defend what they write! As I continue to grow, read and discover realities about myself and where I come from, I continue to get appalled at how distorted my own history has become and how leaders from my own county (Twi) are sleeping on the truth in order to protect their interests. If these leaders are decided on destroying our history for their interests, then I’ll expose them to South Sudanese in order to protect my daughter from an impending future in which people pride in falsehood because it’s beneficial. She’ll grow up knowing the value of truth and respect for others.

Destroy our history and we’ll destroy you! Mess with our history and you’re messing with my daughter’s authentic pride and sense of self. And that, my people, is what Europeans and Arabs did to us! Who can allow that AGAIN?!

Some Arabs and the Europeans distorted our sense of pride and historical truth. Why would I want my own leaders to do the same?

Historically, we’ve always been the Twi Dinka, Nyarweng Dinka, Bor Dinka, Hol Dinka, Rek Dinka, Aliap Dinka, Thoi Dinka, Rut Dinka, Twic Dinka, Agar Dinka, Malwal Dinka, Ciec Dinka…etc. That was beautiful not divisive!

Administrative realities have distorted everything so many people refer collectively to Twi, Nyarweng, Hol and Bor as Dinka Bor. How can Bor be a subset of itself?

So Moulana Abel Alier and Dr. John Garang De Mabior are considered to both be Dinka Bor; or Kuol Manyang and Majak D’Agoot are all considered to be Dinka Bor. Dr. Majak and Dr. John are Twi Dinka while Honourable Kuol Manyang and Moulana Abel Alier are Bor Dinka. This was true in the past and is now true; however, politics and personal interests have distorted it. It’s therefore high time someone who has nothing to lose but to point out the truth speaks up. As a writer who does research, there’s no way in hell I can disregard documented history that correlate the words of our ancestors. I owe it to my daughter and the future generation. (See the attached list of readings for more information!)

The Twi people

The Twi Section of the Jieeng of Jonglei State is currently housed by ‘Twic East County.’ Regrettably, these people have been shuttled between different administrative districts from the colonial period to the present to the point that their ethnic reality has been distorted by their own leaders and the outsiders that are feeding on what these leaders present. Of notable districts that the Twi people have been part of are the former ‘Bor District’ since the early 20th century and the former ‘Kongor District’ from the 1970s until the SPLA war.

The Bor District was named after the Bor people, the now inhabitants of the ‘Bor County.’ Kongor District was named after one section of the Twi Dinka. The use of the name of a given section within the larger community has created problems. Naming the District of Twi, Kongor created many problems as other Twi sections didn’t want their district named after one of their fellow sections of Twi. However, Kongor was also a government post named after the section of Kongor so the administrators were naming the district after the town; which unfortunately was the name of one section of the Twi. It’s good to remember that the Kongor section never referred to the whole of the Twi people as ‘Dinka Kongor.’

Unfortunately, the same problem came up with the Bor District in a slightly different manner. The district was named after the Bor people, however; other Jieeng sections who are not Bor were included in the Bor District. Twi, Nyarweng and Hol were included in the District. While they were all called the Dinka of Bor District (previously Southern or South Eastern Dinka) it has now become a general knowledge to some people that they are all Bor people. Bor people are the ones who now inhabit ‘Bor County.’

The name Bor applied to Twi, Nyarweng and Hol because of their inclusion in the ‘Bor District’ not because they are the same section of Dinka. The four sub-tribes speak different dialects (verify that for yourself). This inclusion in Bor District of Twi, Nyarweng and Hol has caused a lot of confusion among them with some people arguing that they are all Bor and some arguing otherwise. Since were no longer have Bor District as a reference point, it would be ridiculous to call Twi, Dinka of Bor. It would have made sense to call Twi Dinka of Bor District if we had a District called Bor that includes them administratively. The rightful Bor people (dialectally or ethnolinguistically) are the current inhabitants of Bor County.

So the next time you call Kuir ë Garang, Madam Rebecca Nyandeeng, Dr. Majak D’Agoot or Dr. Lual A. Achuek ‘Dinka Bor’, then know that you are not only falling into a falsified reality; you are also showing that you don’t know much about the people of the late Dr. John Garang De Mabior. Dr. John was from Awulian section of Twi in the now Nyuak Payam. Dr. John spoke a totally different Jieeng dialect as opposed to what Honorable Kuol Manyang speaks.

Diallectally or ethnolinguistically, Dr. John would ask: “ŋic kiir bï wo lɔ kuaŋ thïn?” and Moulana Abel Alier would say “Nyic ciir bïï wɔ lɔ kuaŋ thin?” And this means in English: “Do you know the river in which we are going to swim in?” Verify that for yourself!

‘Greater Bor’

Since the former inhabitants of the Bor District (Bor, Twi, Nyarweng and Hol) have their separate counties, (Bor County, Twic East County & Duk County) the leaders in these communities decided that a common name was required for reasons known to them. And against all logic, they settled for a name of just one section among them: Bor. ‘Greater Bor’ was therefore chosen as supposedly a unifying name.

Since there’s no longer a District that includes the four communities, one wonders what area is being qualified as ‘greater’? We only have Bor County which carries the name Bor and also the State Capital. If it’s Bor County that’s being qualified as ‘greater’ then I fail to understand how it includes the other two counties. If the reference is to the former Bor District then why not ‘Greater Kongor?’ And why would they invoke an old, defunct administrative district that was left by Twi, Nyarweng and Hol over forty years ago?

The leaders in these counties know very well the ethnic and linguistic realities of the four communities. It’s known internally and there’s a load of historical records to prove it. However, Twi leaders believe that it’s better to be nice for political reasons than to be truthful.

They know that Twi is a separate ethnic identity; however, these leaders want to sacrifice Twi’s history because they believe telling the world the authentic Twi history and reality would anger the Bor people. It’s therefore better for the Twi history to be sacrificed. Too bad for them! History is documented!

The mere inclusion of the Twi people in the Bor District is being used to change Twi’s ethnic identity. Does inclusion in a given administrative district change people’s ethnic identity?

Some of these leaders think that because outsiders have used the name ‘Dinka Bor’ to collectively refer to the four sections of Jieeng of Jonglei then we have to just let it go that way. Is that how history is supposed to be? And the main motivation for such a state of mind is that correcting such a mistake is going to cause division and misunderstanding so ‘just let it go!’

Just imagine this scenario. Galuak, Lado, Ojullu and Sam decide to live in a two bedroom apartment that was previously rented by Galuak alone. Galuak has been renting the apartment for two years. The four friends now live together in that same apartment. After a year together, Ojullu suggests that they start a business and so a good name was required. Lado suggested that the business would be called ‘Galuak Enterprise.’ Sam and Ojullu were surprised. Galuak didn’t mind the name because it’s his name after all. Lado’s logic was that the house they’ve been living in has always been called ‘Galuak’s apartment’ and it would cause problems as Galuak would feel his name is being rejected should they create an inclusive name. Sam and Ojullu suggested the business be given a name that reflects and respects all the four friends. They also didn’t understand why their collective business should only carry Galuak’s name.

This is the same case with Bor, Twi, Hol and Nyarweng: ‘Greater Bor’ for all of them! While it was bad enough that they were all included in a district (by the Brits) that carried a name of only one of them (Bor) in the past, the leaders are doing the same now: using the name Bor to unify the four sub-tribes. This has no logical sense and has no historical basis.

‘Greater Bor’ not only distorts the history of the four peoples, it also portrays the problem of opportunism in South Sudan. If there’s such a thing as ‘Greater Bor’ then what’s its dialect and what’s its headquarters in Jonglei State? And why not ‘Greater Kongor’, ‘Greater Mongalla’ or ‘Greater Duk’ since some of us were part of these administrative centres in the past?

Historical Distortions and Opportunism

The good question is why would South Sudanese be interested in the history of these people? Should we not be concerned about national issues not these local matters?

First, there’s nothing trivial about a people’s history. It’s Twi people now but it could be you tomorrow. Would you allow your history to be distorted when you’ve learned beyond any reasonable doubt that it was and continues to be distorted for political interests?

Besides, this small sub-tribe, the Twi, of Jieeng of Jonglei has produced exceptional and national leaders since the first Anyanya war to the present. In the past, we had Mading de Garang, Akuot Atem de Mayen, Arok Thon Arok, Dr. John Garang de Mabior among others. These were not just leaders; they were leaders of national significance.

Now, we have among the Twi leaders, Dr. Lual A. Deng (former minister of petroleum in Sudan’s government of national unity), Dr. Majak D’Agoot (former Sudan’s deputy for national security and later, South Sudan’s deputy minister for defence), Madam Rebecca Nyandeeng (former minister of Roads and Transportation), Elijah Malok Aleng (former governor of South Sudan Central Bank), Atem Garang Dekuek (former deputy Speaker in the Sudan’s national assembly and government Chief Whip in South Sudan National Assembly), Deng Dau Malek… etc.

These latter leaders know that the history of their people was distorted and continue to be distorted; however, they are helping in its distortion. In a mind-boggling problem, they avoid inquisitive Twi youth who have come to extensively study the history of the Twi people and relate it to what they know and how it differs from what these leaders maintain.

These Twi leaders are afraid to come out and correct the distortion because it would compromise their standing in the eyes of the Bor people or what?... I don’t know. How can you trust leaders who mislead the uninformed and avoid the informed youth in their own community? What good would these leaders do to South Sudan?

How would such leaders have the interest of South Sudan in heart if they don’t care about their own counties? Not only have they let down their own counties in terms of development, they are helping in the complete destruction of their own history.

We’ve implored them to correct the mistakes but they are either dismissive or escapists. “Just let it go! We can’t do anything now!” they say! Just imagine someone from your own community telling you to stop reading or toss your history in favor of someone else’s truth!

Unity and Division

These leaders believe that talking about the real history of Twi and correcting it would cause disunity. Would you sacrifice your history for the sake of unity? Everyone in the world knows the value of history. No one would hate you or believe you’re being divisive when you correct your own history. Unity under falsehood is dangerous for the younger generation and a bad precedent in South Sudan. Falsehood or Truth can be covered up but it doesn’t last!

Slave traders in Europe tried it; Europeans colonialists tried it; American segregationists tried it; South African Racist regime tried it… No one can prosper on a concocted falsehood.

Bor, Twi, Nyarweng and Hol, as I’ve always said, have created a bond that’ll always be there. They are brothers and sisters and will always be! We don’t have to distort some histories or appease some people to maintain unity though. There’s no way their unity would be compromised if Bor people understand precisely that what is being corrected are historical mistakes. However, many Bor people know what I’m saying is the truth; however, like Galuak above, it’s their name being promoted after all.

However, Bor people and leaders are not the problem. They can’t correct Twi’s history if Twi people themselves don‘t want to do it. Twi leaders and elders are the problem. And they are the problem because political benefits have become more important than their people’s authentic histories.

Would you allow such leaders in your own community or see them handling national affairs? If they don’t care about their own why would one think they’d care about South Sudanese? If they treat their youth like idiots, how do you think they’d treat South Sudanese youth?

Implication for South Sudan

The current crisis was brought about by cooking up events and distortion of information for political interest. We don’t want leaders like these in South Sudan. It’s up to you in your own county to see if your leaders have the interest of the people at heart or they think for themselves. If we had leaders who care about the interest of the people, we would not have the current crisis and thousands of civilians would have not died.

Let’s hold leaders accountable! Let no one destroy our histories…AGAIN!

Sample readings on the history of Twi people

1- Johnson, Douglas H., The Roots Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars: Peace or Truce, Kampala,: Fountain Publishers, 2011, pp.65 & 92
2- Will, C. A, The Upper Nile Province Hand Book: a report on peoples and government in the Southern Sudan, 1931, New York: Oxford University, Press, 1995
3- Collins, Robert O, Land Beyond the Rivers : The Southern Sudan 1898-1918, New Haven:Yale University Press, 1971
4- Daly, M. W. Empire on the Nile The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan 1898-1934, Cambridge: University Press,1986 pp.146-147,149 & 151
5- Kelly, Raymond Case, The Nuer Conquest: The Structure and Development of an Expansionist System, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1985 pp.58 & 161 & 258
6- See Sudan Notes and Records Volume XI (1928) ‘The Cult of Deng’ by C. A. Willis, p.196
7- Sudan Notes and Records, Volume XVII (1934), Part 1 ‘The Religious and Spiritual Beliefs of the Bor Dinka’ by R. T Johnson, pp. 126 &.128.
8- Honea, Kenneth, The Deng Cult and it’s Connections with the Goddess Aciek Among the Dinka, Vienna: Wiener Volkerkundliche Mitteilungen 2, no. 1, 1954, p.17
9- Howell, P, Lock, M & Cobb, S, The Jonglei Canal: Impact and Opportunity, Cambridge: UP, 1988, p.206

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet living in Canada. For contact visit

South Sudan: Federalism or Decentralisation?

By Hon. Dr. Richard K. Mulla


June 9, 2014 (SSNA) -- South Sudan was formally declared a Republic on 9/7/2011 when it attained full statehood as a sovereign independent state amid jubilations of all South Sudanese and their friends. That was a great historic moment. It was the outcome of a referendum held in January the same year giving 99% of the votes in favour of ceassesion as opposed to continued unity with Northern Sudan.

Surprisingly hell struck, Juba the Capital, on 15/12/2013, barely two years after the birth of the new republic. Destructive fighting between the Dinka and Nuer (the two largest ethnic communities) ensued. It was a bloody moment and amidst the horror of the whole world. Brutal fighting claimed thousands of lives of South Sudanese and displacing many more others.

In this very short period of independence South Sudan has had checkered history of constitutional development. Dictatorship, corruption, tribalism and civil unrest has engulfed the country. Clearly the highly centralized Transitional Constitution of 2011 has broken down. The centre can no longer hold and things have fallen apart for President Salva Kiir.

Under the said Transitional Constitution South Sudan has been centrally controlled under a defacto one party system- The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). The too much talk of democracy and multi-partism is none other than rhetoric.

General Salva Kiir the President of the Republic is a very reluctant reformer and is adamant about any change for the better. He would rather fight to subdue anyone including the UN.

Thus opposition within the party became inevitable. Dr. Riek Machar the former Vice President who was unceremoniously dismissed in July 2013 was also forced to flee for his life to the bushes of Upper Nile. As we write Dr. Riek has staged a ferocious war of come back to reform the system.

Indeed the periods of decentralization (1972-1983 and 2005-2014) can be considered as failed attempts.

The main problem has been constant interference and undermining of lower level governments by the respective Presidents. Those actions were first done by Numeiri in 1980, 1981 and 1983 when he continuously dissolved the Regional governments in South Sudan in order to achieve his objective of controlling and marginalizing the Southern Region. The Self-government Act 1972, (the then Constitution for the Southern Region) was abrogated, it broke down and the SPLM/SPLA war of 1983 was started.

President Kiir has followed the same footsteps of President Numeiri; he has never respected any constitution since he took power in 2005. He appointed the Ministers, members of the national legislature, civil servants, members of the organized forces and the judiciary and also dismissed elected Governors Etc; Until the Transitional constitution also broke down. Now another civil war has also started as from 15/12/2013

In fact the two leaders have never had the understanding, the political will and commitment to support decentralization/devolution and make it work.

As we hear President Kiir and his delegation have adamantly insisted on having a decentralized government amidst wide spread cries for federalism in Equatoria, Upper Nile and parts of Baher El Ghazal which could amount to 80% of the population.

Skeptics of federalism have always argued unconvincingly that Equatoria would break away if the South Sudan were to be federated and that the Nuers of Upper Nile would refuse to share the proceeds of the oil with the rest of the country. There is absolutely no scintilla of evidence to prove those wild allegations. And, even if, that were the case, emergency powers under the constitution could be used against any balkanization. 

The real problem has, however, been the greed of those in power wishing to recentralize more powers with the aim of looting the country and marginalizing the rest of the other communities. In other words, President Kiir and his group have become the “pigs” in George Orwell’s famous story of “the Animal farm”.

There is therefore need to bring real life by introducing a suitable federal constitutional arrangement for the country if lasting peace were to prevail.

Many could still doubt that South Sudan may not hold together as a peaceful democracy but one would still argue that indeed the survival of the country as a democratic nation would depend on its adopting federalism.

The Republic of South Sudan has an estimated area of 239,285 Square kilometers (excluding Abiyei) and a population of about 8.2 million according to the disputed 2008 population census. There are 64 ethnic groups with various cultures, speaking different languages and worshiping several religions including Christianity, Islam and atheism.

The Size of the country or geo-political entity also matters; as shown above, the Republic of South Sudan is a very large geographical entity and difficult to manage from the national Capital (Juba) or the ten current state capitals. There is great need to break down the sizes of the respective states from ten to about 22 (twenty two) along the former boundaries of the colonial districts or so to make them more manageable and reachable and also be symmetrical.

As stated elsewhere the populations and cultures available in the Republic of South Sudan need Political integration. We need to make the 64 ethnic communities in South Sudan to integrate, unite and live in harmony and this can be made possible through a system of federal governance.

Federalism is also ideal for post conflict environment and building and accommodating diversities and; Managing conflicts of diversities can be achieved though a federal system of administration to avoid Dinka/ Nuer conflict as happened in December 2013 or Equatoria/Dinka conflict as was the case in 1983 during “KoKora”. Federalism enables smaller governments at the state and local government get closer to the people and become more responsive to their local needs.

In addition, Federalism provides for the promotion of good governance and popular participation in government in the sense that all levels of government can democratically elected which will offer opportunity for many people to participate in the management of their own affairs.

In the case of the Republic of South Sudan, the experience of the Regional government in Southern Sudan from 1972 to 1983 has shown that this country could be successfully run on democratic basis if there was no interference from the top. There were several transparent, fair and free elections run in 1973, 1978 and 1983 leading to the establishment of democratic governments during those periods.

Furthermore the shared history of South Sudanese cannot be doubted as they fought together all the long wars of 17 years (1955-72) and 22 years (1983-2005) against the oppressive regimes in Khartoum culminating in the creation of an independent sovereign state of South Sudan voted through a referendum counted at 99% for succession of Southern Sudan from Northern Sudan.

Moreover, South Sudanese have a strong sense of identity, they are all Africans from 64 ethnic groups including the Dinka, Nuer, Zande, Bari, Shilluk, Lotuka, Moru etc.

However, the current set up of 10 (ten) states and 77 (seventy seven) counties is extremely imbalanced. Some states are very large such as Jongolei and Western Equatoria and some communities are marginalized like the Murle, Moro, Kechipo, and Anuak. Fertit etc. these weaknesses can be ironed out through a symmetrical federal system.

Since we are advocating for a federal Government and not a confederal Government, then the possibility of the central government becoming weaker than the regional or local identities are minimal.


What is federalism?

Legally, a Federal constitution is where the legislative and administrative authority of the National and State Governments are both subordinate to the Constitution, but co-ordinate to one another. In other words, the powers are divided in such a manner that the national government and the state government are each within a sphere co-ordinate and independent. They are mutually exclusive of one another and reciprocally limited in their fields of power.

According to Riker (1964:5)

-“the essential institutions of federalism are a government of the Federation and a set of governments for the member units, in which both kinds of governments rule over the same territory and people and each kind has the authority to make some decisions independently of the other”..

Federalism equals an ideology that combines shared rule with self-rule.

What is decentralization?

There is no standard definition for decentralization. However, it is generally understood that decentralization is the process by which functions and decision making authority are transferred from the national government to the sub-national government or from one sub-national government to yet a lower one, depending on the tiers of government established in a particular country. 

Thus there are various models of decentralization all over the world and in fact every country practices decentralization in one form or the other.

The various models of decentralisation.

There are several models of decentralization which include the following:

(i) Decentralisation by deconcentration or by delegation.

Decentralization by deconcentration or by delegation is more or less the same model of decentralization with very slight difference in that deconcentration is a weaker model than that of delegation.

The two (deconcentration or delegation) are the process for the transfer of power or functions to local representatives of the Central Government. The concept is hierarchical in that the Central Government delegates authority for the discharge of specific functions to its staff that are located in the departments situated outside the Headquarters.

The powers do not involve decision making but only the execution of policies already laid down. They can be withdrawn at anytime at the will of the Central Government. The field offices thus implement decisions taken from above as they are, without altering or amending them; they being mere agents of those above.

It could be said that the Sudan was implementing this system of government from the condominium period in 1899 to the period of local autonomy for the Southern Sudan in 1972. During the condominium period decisions used to come from the Governor General in Khartoum to all the other Governors in the nine provinces in the Sudan. Even after independence in 1956, and up to 1972, decisions were being made by the President or Prime Minister in Khartoum for execution by the Governors or commissioners all over the country.


Decentralization by devolution accords the inferior government a semi-autonomous existence and status independent of the Central Government. The features of a devolved government are as follows:

(a) It is autonomous and has corporate status at law, with all the legal incidents flowing there form.

(b) It has budgetary capacity, often accompanied by its own sources of revenue.

(c) It has a wide range of functions to perform (usually contained in a list or schedule).

(d) It can appoint, recruit, train and discipline its own staff, or obtain them on secondment.

(e) It has a decision making body (appointed or elected).

Devolved governments often constitute local autonomous governments as was the case with the Regional Government of Southern Sudan (1972-1983) or quasi-Federal systems as was the case under the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, 2005 (ICSS) as well as the Transitional Constitution of 2011. They were not complete federations because the central government used to have considerable control over their affairs of the lower levels of government and could intervene by making changes through dismissals, appointments and dissolutions.

What is confederation?

Decentralization can also be by way of confederation. Confederation is the union of independent states whereby the legislative and administrative authority of the Central Government is subordinate to that of the confederal states. The European Union is a typical example of a confederation.

We have never practiced a confederal system of administration so far. It might happen if the North and South would like to come together once again in some form of a loose union.

What is unitary government with decentralized system of administration?

One other type of decentralization is the unitary government with a devolved system of administration such as the one in Uganda. This model of decentralization is where the Central Government is legislatively supreme while the district governments for that matter are subordinate. There are only two levels of government here.

One could say that Uganda is a small country with weak economy and might be better suited for this system of government.

Why Federalism for South Sudan?

The case for federalism rests on several factors as argued before and including the following:

(i) democracy;

(ii) good governance (effectiveness, responsiveness, accountability);

(iii) conflict management (gives each group autonomy to promote its own interests and values, it avoids tyranny of the majority, and permits country wide majority to rule on common issues, with local majorities to rule on issues closer to own interest).

(iv) Federalism Promotes accommodation in divided societies. In the sense that Federalism as a political idea has become increasingly important as a way of peacefully reconciling unity and diversity within political systems.

(v) Diversity based on language, religion, ethnicity, nationality, culture and race (not gender, class, states, occupation etc.).

Unity can be grounded in diversity and diversity can give rise to unity; there is no necessary contradiction between unity and diversity.

There is need to build dynamic, efficient and modern state (e.g. India, USA). In such context, federal solutions have been an increasingly wide spread appeal because:

(a) They enable shared governance in a large political unit for certain common purposes; and

(b) They provide autonomous self-governance for the various diverse groups in smaller constituent units of government directly and democratically responsible for their own electorates.

What are the advantages of Federalism over decentralization?

Decentralized or federal governments have very many characteristics in common such two orders of government, written constitutions with allocation of powers, bicameral legislatures etc. however, the key important differences are as follows:

1. A Federation has a written constitution some parts of which cannot be amended by the Federal Government alone. Major amendments affecting the constituent units require substantial consent from them as well as from the Central government. Constitutions of decentralized government can easily be amended at the will of the central government. Thus the constitution can be very flexible and subject to abuse.

2. A federal constitution formally allocates legislative and fiscal powers to the two orders of government ensuring some genuine autonomy for each other. There is no genuine autonomy in decentralized government. The central government can interfere at any time in the affairs of the lower governments.

3. Usually some special arrangements, notably the Upper houses are found in federations for the representation of constituent units in key central institutions to provide for regional input in central decision making. The prevalence of such upper houses in federations is associated with the idea that both the population and the constituent units are part of what makes a federation and both dimensions need to be reflected in central institutions. Decentralized governments are not often characterized by having upper houses.

4. In a federation, there at least two orders of government, one for the whole country and the other for the regions or states. Each government has a direct electoral relationship with its citizens. A decentralized government can have only one level of government which is the only one related to the citizens.

Formation of Federations:

Some important combination of factors (or historical forces) leads to the adoption or creation of federations such as” pressure for political integration or regional autonomy”. However, the political leaders must choose what form of federation their country must form as a way of realizing and reconciling various goals. There are three possible forms:

(i) For U.S.A., Switzerland and Australia the pressure was for separate units to come together (that is to aggregate) which could also be referred to as political integration.

(ii) For Belgium, Germany, Nigeria and Spain the pressure was for previous unitary governments to become autonomous (through devolution of powers).

(iii) For Canada and India it was a combination of the two pressures (to aggregate and to devolve).               

In the case of the Republic of South Sudan the pressure is from the various ethnic groups especially the minority groups to become autonomous e.g. the Murle, Anyuak, Kechipo, ie, Moru, wira and the Fertit of Baher El Ghazal.


The names of the lower levels of governments in the various Federations vary from one country to another and the numbers of the constituent units are not fixed. As shown below they vary from country to country depending n the local circumstances in that particular country.

Constituent units

The constituent units in federations bear different names all over the world:

(i) They are called “States” in Australia, Belau, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Macronasia, Nigeria, U.S.A. and Venezuela.

(ii) They are called “provinces” in Argentina, Canada, Pakistan and South Africa.

(iii) They are called “Cantons” in Switzerland.

(iv) They are called “Autonomous Communities” in Spain.

(v)They are called “regions, Communities” in Belgium.

(vi) They are called “Subjects” in Russia.

(vii) They are called “Island” in Comoros, St. Kitts and Nevis.

(viii) They are called “emirates” in United Arab Emirates.

(ix) They are called “Entities” in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Number of constituent units.

As stated earlier the number of constituent units also differs from one country to another. Some Examples are quoted below:

Country                                                                                Number of units                                               Population

India                                                                                      28                                                                           1,028.6 Million

Ethiopia                                                                                9                                                                              67.3 million

Switzerland                                                                        26                                                                           9.0 million

Canada                                                                                 4                                                                              30.0 million

U.S.A.                                                                                   50                                                                           281.4 Million

Germany                                                                             16                                                                           82.4 million

Furthermore the sizes and populations of the various units in some federations are demonstrated below:

Size and wealth of constituent units.

Size                                                                                                                                                       Population

Largest are:

 (i) Utter Pradesh

In India                                                                                                                                                 166 million

(ii) Punjab in Pakistan                                                                                                                    80 million

 (iii)California in U.S.A.                                                                                                                   34 million

Smallest are:

(i)  Belau                                                                                                                              200 inhabitants

(ii) Kosrue in Macronesia

(iii) Neviss in St. Kitts & Nevis                                                                                      8,000 people

(iv) Appenzell in Switzerland                                                                                       15,000 people.

Reasons for failure of federations:

Earlier federations have failed for several reasons which include:

1. Little experience of democracy.

2. Little history as shared country.

3. Weak sense of common identity.

4. Extreme imbalance of constituent units.

5. Fatally weak central governments i.e. regional or local identities were stronger than any larger national identity and were seen as inconsistent with or opposed to such an identity (e.g. Singapore leaving Malaysia


We have failed under both unitary and decentralized governments in Sudan or South Sudan. We are only left with two other forms of government to try which are federation and confederation. Our people including our leaders must choose one of the remaining two.

The nearest option should therefore be federation. As stated before we had experienced successful period of democracy during the Regional Government (1972-1983). We have long history of a shared country (Southern Sudan) and a sense of common identity (South Sudanese).

Failure is most unlikely under good leadership.

Hon. Dr. Richard K. Mulla is an independent MP in South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly.

Cheers for Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon and Boos for Salvatore Kiir Mayardit!

By Margaret Akulia, Canada

“I want to reiterate our commitment to the latest document we signed, which was a roadmap negotiated in Addis. We signed it not under duress — we felt that it was a compromise document. It did not meet all our requirements, but in peace you make compromises. So we did make compromises and we will continue — for the sake of peace — making compromises so that peace can return to South Sudan” continued Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon as Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta looked on admiringly!

June 5, 2014 (SSNA) -- It was obvious that Dr. Machar had scored considerable points with His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta during a briefing at Kenya’s state house after Dr. Machar held face to face talks with the President about ending South Sudan’s first and last post independence war if the agreement Machar signed with Salvatore Kiir Mayardit on May 9, 2014 is implemented as Machar desires!

“And I want to assure you that we are serious in ending this senseless killing in South Sudan. I want to assure you that we support the cessation of hostilities, that we will respect the roadmap and that we will move forward together” Machar re-affirmed.

Well wishers around the world extolled Machar as a hero for publicly authenticating his commitment to the agreement he signed with Salvatore Kiir Mayardit on May 9, 2014 because they understood that such public ratification was assurance that Machar would do everything in his power to ally with the People of South Sudan in their pains to bring about sustainable peace through an interim government, a fundamental constitution and democratic elections! However, little did they know the depths to which South Sudan’s villains would sink to undermine the hard work that went into securing this decisive agreement!

“Please urgently note that we the UDF delegates to the IGAD talks were this afternoon prevented from boarding the Ethiopian Air Lines plane to Addis Ababa, where upon our passports were confiscated. The Chief Security Officer at the airport said he had orders to stop me from traveling anywhere. Please kindly convey this message to the IGAD Mediation Committee as soon as you can” read a heartfelt email from Justice Peter Sule, to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Office of the Special Envoy to the South Sudan Mediation Process.  

Justice Peter Sule had received a formal invitation from IGAD to participate in South Sudan’s vital peace talks in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa in his capacity as Founder and Chairman of the United Democratic Front (UDF) Political Party. He and a small number of South Sudan based stakeholders had been booked on a private Ethiopian Airlines Flight sent to Juba for the exclusive purpose of transporting the stakeholders to the imperative peace talks. The selected individuals were scheduled to depart for Addis Ababa on June 4, 2014 at 5:00pm local time but they were prevented from leaving by South Sudan’s tyrants!

Salvatore Kiir Mayardit is still the Tyrant in Chief of lawless South Sudan so it is plausible to assume that he is the one who ordered the Chief Security Officer at Juba International Airport to stop Justice Peter Sule and the other stakeholders from travelling to Addis Ababa for the decisive peace talks. Justice Peter Sule is an avid defender of all the people of South Sudan regardless of tribe and region of origin. Preventing him from participating in the negotiation of a transitional government of national unity as the Founder and Chairman of the United Democratic Front (UDF) Political Party is an outright violation of the Interim Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan and the agreement Salvatore Kiir Mayardit signed on May 9, 2014.

If the South Sudan Peace talks in Addis Ababa and IGAD’S credibility are to be salvaged, there needs to be swift action by the nations of the world to deal with this defiance and brazen challenge by Salvatore Kiir Mayardit. Anything less will be setting a very dangerous precedent in light of the fact that the tyrants are becoming more daring in obstructing the People’s wishes for sustainable peace and development, an interim government and Democracy by sabotaging the peace talks in Addis Ababa, “scheming” to protract their murderous rule and continuing to callously murder South Sudanese!

Needless to say, IGAD will also need to rectify the slapdash approach and legitimate concerns that compelled Elhag Paul to issue the stern rebuke ingrained in his article titled “IGAD on the issue of stakeholders”.



Margaret Akulia is co-author of the sequel Idi Amin: Hero or Villain? His son Jaffar Amin and other people speak. She brings to the South Sudan dialogue a multidisciplinary professional background including but not limited to “grassroots activism”. Additional information at

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