Kokora vs Decentralization: What do South Sudanese Confuse Federalism with?

Posted: November 25, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Apioth Mayom, Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Ngoi Thuech, Dodoma, Tanzania


Do Not Confuse a Camouflaged Call for Confederation for Call Federalism

Sunday, November 25, 2018 (PW) —- What do South Sudanese confuse federalism with? Merriam Webster defines it as “the distribution of power in a federation between the central authority and the constituent units (as states) involving especially the allocation of significant lawmaking powers to those constituent units.” In the 1970s Jaafar Nimeri turned the former Northern provinces into decentralized regions. Joseph Lagu and his followers saw this as an opportunity to get rid of the Nuer and Dinka in the Equatoria region who they saw as job grabbers.

This political sensation later popularly became known as ‘Kokora.’ Kokora means to divide or division in Bari. It means ‘re-division’ to its antagonists. “In practice, ‘Kokora’ meant expulsion of non-Equatorians from government and civil service positions in the regional capital of Juba and elsewhere, and their reposting to their home regions” (Douglas H. Johnson’s quote from his Rift Valley Institute Research Paper 1: Federalism in the History of South Sudanese Political Thought).

Today when non-Equatorian people hear the call of federalism from the Equatorian people they probably confuse it with another chauvinistic regionalist call to send them to their home regions. If we dare look again at our governing system, what we have in place is federalism. We have federalism, but it is sort of a car that is taken out of the road and use for something else altogether, let say, its owner uses it as a bath shelter instead of using it to drive himself/herself to work or all sort of social gatherings. We inherit federalism from North Sudan. We have 32 governors and 32 state governments all subordinating to one central government in Juba; if that isn’t federalism, then federalism has lost its true meaning.

Hakim Dario of People Democratic Movement (PDM) and Thomas Cirillo Swaka of National Salvation Front (NAS) wanted to include federalism in the recently revitalized peace agreement. We have had federalism in the Republic of South Sudan since independence, however, it had never functioned as such since its inception.  President Kiir took the whole government as a play-toy thing and continue to decree out one governor after another; governors that were supposed to be elected into office by the people; our people had no say in that since we have never been allowed to hold free and fair elections.

When we were fighting for our independence from the former racist Khartoum government, we were united under one roof of it is all us all here in southern Sudan against the Jellaba of Khartoum; after independence, we eventually diverge into 64 nationalities overnight; it was everyone fending for herself from that time onward. We totally became different people in a short time frame, in addition to being heavily bombarded by a central government that was lacking vision and hell-bent to parasitically leech us cleaned and take all our money.

Our liberation hero Dr. John Garang de Mabior used to say that our tribes, religions, and regions would never unite us; it is only Sudanism (now South Sudanism) that will unite us. The Tutsis in Rwanda had a precarious situation to dig themselves out of; they were a minority and they recently lost 800,000 to genocide, so very much they were up against a Goliathic dilemma they had to conquer.

If they didn’t defeat a tribalistic Hutu majority government, then they would have to face extinction for the entirety of their existence on planet earth. Now, we have had Paul Kagame in power since the early 2000s to bring stability to Rwanda and set an exemplary leadership that all Rwandans will continue to emulate going into the future.

The Ethiopians are an Afro-Asian race, meaning they are closely related to the Indians of India Sub-continent and Arabs of the Middle East. They have had stacked history of governing institutions throughout their existence in the horn of Africa unlike the rest of Sub-Saharan Africans. Because they are an Indian race, they think they are better than black Africans, civilization wise. They put their heads together and thought we should never be on the same level as black Africans, and so their leadership had a makeover and industrialization will soon change lives in Ethiopia.

Thomas Sankara was the only black African who went out of his way to dream big. He was tired of seeing the sad situation his compatriots were going through. He instilled in his people, a courageous daring attitude whereby they were able to build cars in their own backward and empower women to become equal partners in the betterment of Burkinabe society. In South Sudan, we haven’t had a charming leader of either Dr. John Garang’s or Thomas Sankara’s character since 2005.

Corruption and tribalism are the ticking time bombs of our contemporary era. These twin problems would never go away by our wishful thinking. Kenya has been independent since 1963 and tribalism is still endemic in the mainstream Kenyan society.  For us to put an end to tribalism and corruption, we have to find alternative ways to call to service a charming nationalistic leader endowed with charming appeals to harvest a national identity which will continue to bring us together going into the future.

Our politicians continue to learn new corrupt ways from our sisterly countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and combine that with how tribalism still create one political upheaval after another. South Sudanese are confronted with a sad reality by which they need to create a brand new path, totally different from everyone else; just like when Thomas Sankara created something out of nothing. We have a chance to create our unique national identity, totally different from everyone else in this part of the world. The time to create our new South Sudanism is now!

Ngoi Thuech is a South Sudanese blogger that works and lives in Dodoma, Tanzania. He is a graduate of the University of Dar es Salaam. He blogs on a host of South Sudanese issues ranging from politics to culture on www.ngoithuech.blogspot.com. He can be reached at mawangrieth@outlook.com.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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