By James Gatdet Dak
April 26, 2009 (JUBA) – The semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan has resolved not to implement the Juba capital city master plan project until a consensus is reached on location of federal capital city with the concerned lower level of governments and communities.
The decision came only four days after the Central Equatoria state cabinet, which hosts Juba, met on the same issue.
In the joint state cabinet meeting with representatives of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), on Tuesday, chaired by the state governor, Major General Clement Wani Konga, the meeting resolved that there was need for consultations with the general public in Southern Sudan in order to select where the federal capital for the region should be located.
The GoSS cabinet meeting on Friday chaired by President Salva Kiir Mayardit echoed the decision of the state government after listening to the presentation on the Juba capital city Master Plan project.
Gabriel Changson Chang, the Government’s official Spokesperson, said the project, which was presented by the Minister for Housing and Physical Planning, Martin Ohuro Okerruk, displayed designs of the proposed federal capital with its highways, bridges, airport, river ports, residential areas and government headquarters, etc.
He said the design was approved by the Council of Ministers, but added that it was difficult to implement it because the location was not yet agreed upon with the concerned authorities and communities.
Since 2007 the ministry proposed Gondokoro Island, north of Juba, to be the location of the New Juba capital for the Government of Southern Sudan so that the old Juba remained with Central Equatoria state as its capital.
However, the proposal was since then played down by the state government and the concerned native communities.
The 2005 Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan stipulates that Juba is the capital of Southern Sudan and the seat of the Government of Southern Sudan.
The Interim Constitution for Central Equatoria state also stipulates that it is its state capital as well as the capital for Juba County local government.
Juba has been the capital for a number of semi-autonomous governments in the region that included the High Executive Council, the Southern Sudan Coordinating Council and now the Government of Southern Sudan.
After the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and formation of the semi-autonomous Government, which is based in the town since 2005, misunderstandings between the different levels of government over their respective jurisdictions and roles have remained unresolved, causing administrative conflicts.