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Better colonial districts instead of referendum

By: Manyuon Mayen Manyuon

The civil society said that the country should instead go to past colonial districts during the former Sudan instead of referendum as cited by the government.

On Friday last week after the weekly Council of Ministers meeting, the government proposed going for referendum to determine the number of States instead of dissolving 32 States.

The issue on the States boundaries is among the outstanding issues that need to be resolved before the 100 days elapses.

However, the government and opposition have on constant basis failed to reach consensus on the number of States since the opposition support going back to 10 and government maintaining 32 States respectively.

In an interview with Juba Monitor yesterday, Rajab Mohandis, civil society delegate to the South Sudan peace process, also Executive Director at Organization for Responsive Governance said that the country was not conducive for a referendum at this time.

“At the moment, what we need to do is to really build more trusts among ourselves, enhance processes of reconciliation and healing,” he said

“With the issue of the States, we have already said, a political solution can be reached and people continue to work on these issues especially in the constitution making process,” Mohandis added.

Mohandis revealed that the civil society was suggesting reverting to the colonial districts rather than referendum as government decided. 

“As the civil society, our recommendation on avoiding current crisis on the boundaries, is to resort to old colonial districts that Sudan adopted by the time of her Independence on the 1st January 1956,” he stated. 

“This doesn’t have boundaries issues at the moment and in fact they have been used all along without issues. And so reverting to them and then putting this process to the people to discuss and finalize in the constitution making process, would be a better option that would actually resolve the issues without creating doubts,” Mohandis explained. 

The activist stressed that reaching political consensus as opposed to referendum would be a better approach instead of going for referendum which has no funding.

“And so that would be a better approach then really talking about referendum when we cannot even fund the implementation of the agreement. How do we fund our own referendum process if we don’t fund the agreement?” he asked.

When Sudan became independence in 1956; it was governed on the basis of the districts.

Mr. Mohandis stated that such districts could be recognized, simply adopted and used as per now until comprehensive solution was reached on the States issues.   

He said that more information on the districts was available with the department of survey at the University of Juba.

Mohandis revealed that it was logical to risk the country into referendum when there lots to be implemented in the peace agreement.

“Referendum is not relevant right now for many reasons. We are aware of the level of insecurity, situation of the roads, the displacement of people and even the issues of resources just to fund the agreement alone,” he said

“Secondly, referendum is a pro-legal process and election process. Election process actually goes in a manner that poses a lot of campaigns and decisions,” he said.

Mohandis said that with the current polarization in the country, he recommended that the referendum was not applicable for South Sudan now.

“The way our country is divided along political lines, ethnic lines and so on makes it as just more complex for referendum. This moment needs the country to be removed out of the chaotic situation,” he said.

The old districts during Sudan were categorized on the basis of Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei, Lakes, North Bahr El Ghazal, Unity areas, Upper Nile, Warrap, Western Bahr El Ghazal and Western Equatoria.

Central Equatoria has 4 districts, namely Terekeka , Yei District, Juba and Kajo-Keji.

Eastern Equatoria with five districts not limited, Magwi, Amatonge, Shokodom  and Kapoeta.

Jonglei had 7 districts namely, Fam al Zaraf, Ayod, Wat, Akobo, Twi/Twic East & Duk Districts, Bor, Pibor.

Lakes areas was comprised of 4 districts, Shobet, Rumbek , Yirol and Aliab.

North Bahr El Ghazal had 4 districts, namely Aryat, Aweil , Wanyjok, Malek Alel.

Unity State was divided into 4 districts most importantly Al Mayom, Rabkona, Faring and Al Leiri. Upper Nile with 7 districts, Tonga, Fashoda, Malut, Al Renk, Al Mabien, Mayot, Sobat and Baleit respectively.

 Warrap with 4 districts, Nahr Lol, Gogrial, Warab District and Tonj.  Western Bahr El Ghazal with 3 districts, Raja District, Wau District and Nahr Jur.

West Equatoria with 4 districts in the names Tombura, Yambio, Maridi and Mundri.

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