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Juba or Ramciel: New Tripartite Proposal for the Capital City

By Chol Ajak Demach

In 2011, when the Republic of South Sudan gained independence, talks were underway to move the capital city from Juba to Ramciel. Little headway has been made since then to bring the concept to fruition. A lot of factors could be hindering such an important undertaking; however, l shall not dwell on it nor waste your time. 

However, irrespective of our views whether to relocate or keep the capital city where it is currently situated. I am of the opinion that, Juba the current capital city of the Republic of South Sudan should remain where it is.    

As you know, the capital city is the beating heart, the epicenter of any country. It is a strategic location where governmental institutions, primary administrative centers, research facilities, commerce and national museums are found. Also, the historical context of Juba cannot be undermined, our heroes and heroines from the Torit Mutiny of 1955 and the two Juba Massacres of 1965 and 1992, lost their lives for the land. Thus, the Republic of South Sudan’s capital city is on a consecrated ground where our forefathers shed their blood. This makes it imperative that we do not abandon Juba for Ramciel.

Instead of moving the capital city, I propose we expand it given the projected growth of Juba by the year 2035. The expansion plan should be as follows; expand Juba from the Eastern bank to Bor town to the distance of 203.05 or 208.09 km (151.0 miles). Then from the Western bank of Juba, expand the capital city to Yirol to the distance of 227 miles (365 km). The underlined expansion plan has the potential to create a big metropolitan area that will connect the capital with the three regions of Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria. It will also boost our much desired Unity while avoiding the land issues that have plagued residents of Juba, and help Bari community share the burdens of the land with the other communities.

When it comes to location of federal institutions of the government, they can be located in three main towns or cities for example Mundri in the West and Mangalla in the East, Juba city can host the Office of the President. Furthermore, Yirol can function as the hub of the legislative branch and Bor can be the general headquarters of the army. The Judiciary building and its operations should be built somewhere in Terekeka. In addition, the national cemetery could be situated in Malual- Chaat (Bor) for its historical importance.

Since the Republic of South Sudan is a landlocked country, and a region with an extensive historical background, it behooves us to build a modern, high-tech international airport named after one of our founding fathers like Fr. Saturlino Ohure, Joseph Oduho, Peter Gatkuoth, Ager Gum, Sir Lowegi Adwok, or William Deng Nhial. It is imperative that we honor our founding fathers who begun the liberation struggle since the invasion of Mohammed Ali Pasha and his forces into Southern territories in the 1800s. Building monuments, schools, sport stadiums or other forms of structures in memory of our heroes and heroines is critical in preserving our history. Thus, why shouldn’t we dream big and implement the ideas we have in paper, because if we do not do it, then who will?

From the onset, the relocation of the capital from Juba to Ramciel lacked vision, strategic thinking and a comprehensive survey to conclude that Ramciel is the best location to host the capital city of the Republic of South Sudan. It is noted that Ramciel is in the middle of a swampy area which will require an insurmountable amount of resources and money to construct sustainable infrastructures. This money can be better spent to improve roads and connect the three cities by railroads and high-speed train. The people of the Republic of South Sudan and its government can also initiate the building of resort areas that include hotels and amusement parks along the Nile River to attract tourism which will in turn create jobs and thou bring non-oil revenue to the country.

Furthermore, no modern city exists without important infrastructures such as garbage collection systems and dump sites, sewage systems, or open spaces for parks and recreational activities. This also includes trade zones and industrial parks that encourage business development. Also building bridges on the Nile to connect villages, towns and cities is important to promote the trading of goods and services in turn stimulate nation building.

In conclusion, dividing Capital between the three cities will solve the issues of land grabbing and over pricing of the land, not to mention the traffics nightmare and since Juba will open up to others parts of the proposed areas. Expanding the capital cities has been implemented in other countries for example in South Africa with its three regions of Cape Town- Bloemfontein and Pretoria. Also, Washington D.C., the capital city of the United States of America, has some of its federal building and institutions in the bordering states of Maryland and Virginia

In 2016, the population in Juba was at 352,000. By 2019, the number of the population rose to 403, 000. The United Nations projects the figure will rise to 761,000 or over 1,500,000 by the 2035. Thus, by adopting the mentioned ideas in this article, it will be of great service to the nation and the next generation.

This tripartite capital city along the river Nile is the ideal capital city for the Republic of South Sudan.

Contact the Author: Chol Ajak Demach can be reached via email at chol.ajak@gmail.com

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