South Sudanese peace delegates attending the national dialogue have called for adoption of a federal system of governance in a bid to devolve more powers to the states to ensure equitable development.
Abraham Awolich, deputy coordinator of the national dialogue steering committee, revealed on Friday that the delegates have called for establishment of a federal system of governance that will give states more political and administrative power.
“We have agreed to establish a federal system in South Sudan, it is a system that will give states political autonomy and administrative autonomy but they will share resources with the central government,” he told journalists in Juba.
Awolich said that under this arrangement, the states will collect taxes and remit 45 percent of the revenue to the central government and in turn the central government will retain 55 percent of revenue earned from exploitation of natural resources while remitting 45 percent to the states.
These are some of the many recommendations agreed upon at the national dialogue that was initiated by President Salva Kiir in December 2016, with the aim of bringing unity and reconciliation in the wake of outbreak of conflict in December 2013.
Lual Deng, coordinator of the national dialogue secretariat said they recommend reforming the current governance system and institutions and adopt a governance system based on homegrown values.
“We call for the creative design and application of a system of governance and development that is authentic, homegrown and adopted to our cultural values and institutions as expressed by our people through the various phases of the national dialogue,” said Deng.
He disclosed that the national dialogue has both been a forum and process through which the people of South Sudan gathered to redefine the basis of their unity as related to nationhood, citizenship and belonging.
Deng noted that the overriding goal of the national dialogue is to end political and inter-communal violence throughout the country, reform the military and security sector, redefine and establish a stronger sense of national identity.
He added that its recommendations also include resolving issues related to resource sharing and allocation, land ownership and management. Deng revealed that they proposed steps that guarantee free and fair elections and peaceful transfer of power after the elections due in 2022.
“As South Sudan is now there is a deep disconnect between the top leadership and the masses at the bottom in the countryside who have become impoverished by misguided policies of the central government. This is the outcome of our system of governance that is derived from colonialism,” he said.
South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013, after disagreement between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar caused a split in the army leading to fighting between soldiers loyal to their respective leader.
The two leaders are yet to fully implement the 2018 revitalized peace agreement they signed in Ethiopia as they have not concluded training and unification of armed forces.