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Feature: South Sudan’s Kings and Chiefs in the courts of Ghana


South Sudan’s Kings and Chiefs visit the courts of Ghana

A report on the ’Study/Familiarisation Tour of Traditional Leaders of South Sudan to Three African Countries’

By Toby Collins

17 March, 2013 (LONDON) - A delegation of South Sudan’s Traditional Leaders (TLs) has completed a tour of African countries in which a successful synthesis of governance at the local and centralised levels has been achieved.

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Sudan Tribune caught up with the group on the Ghana leg of their trip which also included South Africa and Botswana.

The Swiss Government initiative to support the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) was set up to educate a group of TLs; government representatives dealing with local governance; and members of the National Constitutional Review Commission, on the roles played by TLs in other African countries.

It was hoped that participants would then share their knowledge among colleagues and act as promoters of the inclusion of Traditional Authorities (TA) in South Sudan’s institutions.

Although the participants received lectures from esteemed academics and learned Ghanaian TLs, at many points during the tour the greatest impact was achieved through context, overcoming language and cultural barriers. In particular, meeting with Ghanaian TLs within their courts was profoundly affecting due to the dignity with which they conducted themselves and the reverence with which they practised ancient protocols; appeasing their ancestors and welcoming the guests. The vitality and continued relevance of these traditions was in stark relief to those of many of the South Sudanese guests, who conceded that a significant part of the collective traditional memory had been eroded by decades of conflict and colonial rule.

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The South Sudanese people’s focus upon the war and the contempt in which successive governments held traditional practices has led to a diminishing of cultural significance of TA in some communities. There has also been a degradation of the authority of the TLs with the rise of Juba’s educated and military elite.

This has contributed to a general centralisation of South Sudan’s power and a stratification of types of leadership. A perception has pervaded, amongst some, of the diminished relevance of those ’uneducated’ people in the rural areas, as they do not have the capacity to bring about significant change in their communities; unlike those with their hands on the purse strings in Juba with the contractor and investor contacts to enact developmental projects.

However, even before the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, TA institutions were being afforded greater recognition and support. In 1994 the first national assembly enshrined the role of the TLs as an integral part of the governmental structure in the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan.

Due to increasing inter-ethnic conflict GoSS resolved to strengthen TA structures with the signing of Local Government Act in 2009, setting out governmental structures at various levels including the Councils of Traditional Authority Leaders (COTALs).

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In October 2009 TLs; envoys from kingdoms; representatives from the state and national governments; and representatives of the justice authorities drafted a draft law setting up a COTAL in each of the ten states. According to the laws, the COTALs are to function as an intermediary between traditional societies and modern state structures; as a body providing advice on matters relating to its community; and as a forum for civil society groups.

Between July and October 2010, draft law consultations were conducted throughout South Sudan with civil society and governmental authorities, to be ratified by all state authorities. After the election, furnishing with basic infrastructure, and training of all state COTALs has taken place an eleventh COTAL will be established at the national level.

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USIP & RVI - Local Justice in Southern Sudan 2010

Also in 2010 the US Institute of Peace and Rift Valley Institute (RVI) published a study into the South Sudan’s traditional justice system which highlighted their continued significance and importance in the development of the nation. The report’s advocacy of a pragmatic use of these functioning institutional frameworks, in the light of a under-developed South Sudanese bureaucracy, was taken a step further in the study tour. The TLs were approached as significant, not only as a means to judicial and developmental ends, but as bastions of cultural heritage. This is of particular importance as South Sudan’s cultures have been under pressure for decades and it is still developing a sense of national identity.

In implementation of the Local Government Act in November 2011 the South Sudan Local Government Board and the Human Security Division of the Swiss Confederation renewed their memorandum of understanding, stating that the COTALs will be established in two years.

The Swiss agreed to support South Sudan by assisting in the establishing the legal frameworks for the COTALs; supporting the election/selection processes of all eleven COTALs; and by making the COTALs functional by providing support for the training of COTAL members, SSLGB members and respective technical staff. The 2011 Transitional Constitution of South Sudan also recognised the role of TA as an institution at the local government level.

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Having followed Central Equatoria’s suit by electing and selecting its COTAL representatives, Upper Nile members visited their 13 counties in January 2012, interacting with the rural communities and assessing the barriers to peace and development. Also, a training needs assessment carried out during the inauguration of the Upper Nile COTAL has been developed into a curriculum to provide basic training for the members. In the other eight states the COTAL bills are still in the legislative process and at the national level, a first draft of the National COTAL bill is now in consultation.

The COTAL programme now aims to finalise this consultation; elect or select more members; inaugurate COTALs in the remaining states; provide training for all COTAL members according to the training curriculum that is begin developed; and provide basic infrastructure for the COTALs.

Demonstrative of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s (SPLM) recognition of the role of TAs was the invitation offered to all traditional kings, queens and chiefs for a consultative meeting at the Kamuto Centre in Kapoeta county, Eastern Equatoria during June and July 2004. This recognition was then formalised by the SPLM in the resulting “Kamuto Declaration”.

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The Swiss Government invited South Sudan’s TLs to its country to participate in a forum based upon the “Kamuto Declaration” in April 2005. A conclusion of the forum was to set up study tours for the TLs, the first of which took place in April 2006 with the support of the Swiss Government and UN Development Programme.

The future of the COTALs is now dependent on the results of the National Constitutional Review Commission’s drafting of a permanent constitution, making it imperative to bring the COTALs to the attention of the relevant members of the Commission.

The establishment of the COTAL has signalled the government’s acknowledgement of the importance of the TLs in the future of the nation’s development, as noted in the United State’s Institute of Peace 2010 report of South Sudan’s traditional justice system.



The dialogue and quotes in this report are not verbatim.


The Ghanaian leg of the Traditional Leaders study tour began in the Alisa hotel in the country’s capital, Accra. In a packed room of the Alisa Hotel on January 25 the 21-strong South Sudanese contingent was met by a group of Ghanian TLs, politicians, academics and media. A debate was held on the role of the TL in the context of a developing, young African country.

South Sudan’s Presidential Advisor on Decentralisation and Intergovernmental Linkages, Tor Deng Mawien Bak told the conference:

We intend to take the findings of this study tour back to South Sudan and contact the Carter Centre to establish a legal framework for the role of the TLs.

This must be done with sensitivity; when the South Sudan Local Government Act was put in place in 2009 it called for Chiefs to be elected. This was met with opposition from much of the local populous; five people were killed in the ensuing violence.

Land ownership is an important issue. When the local populous does not have a voice there is an opportunity for companies to operate unethically. Oil was previously extracted in an environmentally unsound way, without due consideration for the land. Chinese and Arab developers extracted oil in the most financially rewarding way. The resulting pollution is poisoning people through the water supplies and the cattle through the grass which they graze upon.

A Ghanaian Traditional Leader also greeted the South Sudanese delegates by providing an introduction to the discussion in the Ghanian context

In Ghana the lines of succession in TL roles are steeped in history, as in many developed countries which are described as democratic monarchies. Our forefathers established and fought for our communities and that is not forgotten in the continuing role played by their successors.

In Ghana, whatever is more than 100m below the ground is the property of the state, but the owner of the land is compensated for its extraction.

Historically, in Africa when the state gains control of the land it is the beginning of the end.


The leader of the study tour, Kwesi Kwaa Prah, from the Centre for Advanced Studies on African Society (CASAS) described the role concept of traditional leadership in South Sudan:

There are different types of TL which have evolved to fit their societal environments, as identified in ’African Political Systems’ [M. Fortes and E. E. Evans-Pritchard, 1950]; direct - the Azande and their Kings - and diffuse - the Dinka and Nuer with their influential people int the community who make decisions collectively. Both systems were successful in their fight against colonialism.

Providing a service for the people rather than being self-serving should be the focus of the TLs.

Angelo Bagari Ungbanga Ukungu a Paramount Chief of Western Bahr El Ghazal said that there are difficulties with the system in South Sudan, especially when it comes to replacing a traditional leader as some from his community call for the new leader to be chosen through elections, rather than the traditional method of selection.

According to James Lual Deng Kuel, Chairperson of Committee for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly respect for traditional leaders was lost during the colonial period when Traditional Authority systems were damaged.

The power of chiefs had been diffused since the colonial era, Kuel said, pointing out that during the colonial rule in his district had 10-12 chiefs ruling 70-80,000 people, whereas now there are more than 200 chiefs for the same area.

Repairing institutional frameworks is critical, he said, but argued that chiefs should not be involved in politics.

President of Ghanaian Traditional Leaders explained that in his country traditional councils are based on the original clan systems with chiefs appointed by the paramount chief. Five members each are selected from all ten regions.

He continued:

In Ghana there are female chiefs. With their title taken from the British ex-colonial rulers, they are known as ’Queen Mothers’. They must come from the royal line and cannot substitute the kings, but can assist them.

In some of the Ghanaian communities eligibility to the line of succession is matrilineal. This averts the potential conflict arising from the contented fatherhood of heirs to the seat of authority.

Currently the community of the king assists with the funding of his bureaucratic systems. There is a need to establish TL fund.

The role of king can be an expensive one; there is an expectation that the TL will receive and accommodate guests to the community, even in busy towns. As well as the size and furnishings of their palace are considered representative of their community, great importance is put upon a TLs appearance at public events. Most Ghanaian TLs rely upon a private incomes as doctors, lawyers and professors.

Chiefs assist and advise in tax collection in their areas but are not responsible for it. Many people in the community trust TLs more than politicians because they know each other and are members of the same communities.

Members of the South Sudanese delegation responded the presentations by concluding that they should adopt traditional clothes like their Ghanaian counterparts.

Partly as a result of a denigration of their traditions, some of the South Sudanese delegation appeared to approach the Ghanaian adorned with their traditional kentes - large pieces of brightly coloured cloth wrapped around the waist and flung over the shoulder - uttering incantations and ceremonially spitting schnapps on the floor as farcical. However, repeated exposure to these traditions within a respectful context appeared to go some way to counteract this impression. The value of TA was also compounded by meeting TLs who were highly educated, yet still closely tied to the traditions practised by their ancestors and motivated to action positive change in their respective communities.

Some also wore flamboyant jewellery which identified them as TLs of specific communities.

Among the TLs in the South Sudanese delegation there was a wide range of costumes. One king wore a leopard skin over his normal outfit, another a sash over his suit and another what appeared to be a handmade military uniform with tasselled shoulders.

Kwesi Kwaa Prah, from the Centre for Advanced Studies on African Society (CASAS) said:

Culture makes us as much as we make it.

One of the main roles of the TLs is to protect their community’s cultural heritage.

Africa is being overwhelmed by Christianity and Islam. If we do not continue to preserve it, we will loose our identity as Africans.

Colonialism did not stop the Arabs from following Islam so it should be possible for us to protect our cultures.

There are some similarities between Japanese Shintoism and aspects of some of the traditional beliefs held in Africa. These beliefs have not held Japan back – it is one of the world’s most advanced countries. If we protect our languages, religion and ritual we will protect Africa for ever.



The following day, on January 26, the South Sudanese study group visited the seat of the Traditional Authority in the Accra region, where they were greeted with honour by their Ghanaian counterparts.

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The element of chaos in these ceremonial events added authenticity to their courtliness. Previously, an unruly dancing midget had been barked at for disobedience, while money was thrown on the floor for him to collect for his troupe. Here a musician was escorted out of the palace, on several occasions, for his disruption. When the music played whoever chose to, danced. The tension created by the sense that what took place was unfettered and undiluted gave the proceedings gravitas.

Ghanaian Traditional Leaders, known as Nananums, recited incantations and performed a ceremony involving pouring and spitting schnapps on the ground.

A court spokesperson explained to the South Sudanese delegation that "the libations invoke our ancestors to accept and welcome these guests".

A Ghanaian Nannum danced alone, his movements symbolising strength, unity and welcoming the guests and a Ghanaian spiritual leader told the South Sudanese that they were "our brother and sisters, left behind en route to Israel."

The visit left a deep impression on many of the South Sudanese traditional leaders. Tor Deng Mawien Bak, said, he felt like a changed person when he entered the compound. "I felt as an African", he said.

The experience of how traditional leaders practice their customs had showed him that such acts should not be associated with parochialism.

We have been reminded that the clothes of the TLs do not necessarily mean that they are people of the countryside and therefore uneducated. Some of those around are us are highly educated.

We fought for 50 years to be ourselves; to be Africans. We paid dearly - 2.5million lives were lost in the conflict. Now that we have attained our independence we need your support to build our new nation. We need to rehabilitate our TA structures, which was destroyed during the war.

The first delegation, which came to Ghana before the referendum, was charged with reaching out to our fellow Africans. Now we are here to listen to your advice and to find out how you administer justice / handle spiritual affairs / coordinate with the government.

The head of the delegation noted that it was reprehensible that the majority of the South Sudanese participants were, unlike their Ghanaian counterparts, unable / chose not to, identify themselves with their forefathers through their clothes.

In the Ghanaian court system if a commoner enters the royal court dressed in clothes similar to those of a royal, they will be evicted.

He also spoke of the background of some of the South Sudanese TLs – the stories of their ancestors which are key to their cultural makeup. At these public events their tales of bravery acted as demonstrative of the character of those TLs attending. Repetition of these histories, amongst the delegation who were already familiar with them, as with the communities from which the originated, strengthened their role as a cache of moral arbitration and a benchmark against which future actions could be measured. Keeping their ancestors present through recounting their honourable deeds also makes the TLs accountable to a higher power, specific to their communities. This gives the TLs a very different perspective on leadership and provision for their community to that of a governmental official with a short-term drive for the approval of a fickle electorate.

A Ghanaian spokesperson further explained who traditional authorities were organised:

Chieftaincies are based on family units. The original chief’s authority can be based upon their founding of a community or their demonstration of the requisite leadership skills to provide their community with the direction it needs.

In most instances the current chief has been nominated by their immediate family, but can only operate successfully with the support of their community.

In many Ghanaian tribal systems the TL is selected by the Queen Mother, from among her children. The system acts to negate the potential conflict arising from the debated lineage of an heir.

These TLs deal with law and order. Central government uses chieftaincies to communicate with the rural communities; the chiefs are the link between the central government and the rural communities.

Delegates were presented with ceremonial stools, which the Ghanaian TLs explained, would absorb the power instilled in them and transfer it to their descendants.

Chieftancy and Local Government in Ghana, Past and Present

Back at the hotel George Hagan, a former Ghanian presidential candidate gave a speech on the historical relationship between chiefs and local government:

Sudan was my second home in the 1960s so I have a special interest in it. Although chiefs are currently highly-esteemed, there has been an erosion of the powers of TLs since Ghana gained independence.

African chieftaincy is a cultural institution – some buy the title (e.g. Nigeria), some have spiritual authority and some have real powers. Traditionally most of them have had the power to enact justice; making laws, judgements and decreeing punishments.

The TL’s power is dependent on the loyalty of their community / the communal ownership of land under their custody. They are the custodians of the land of Ghana – with the current multi-party democracy system in central government this can be a cause of conflict.

Effective governance in the traditional way requires charisma.

Through European contact spiritual leaders lost some of their power in their communities. This created a power vacuum filled by other, non-spiritual, TL’s. However, some people in the region still consider the ’Wolomo’ [spiritual leader] to be the most important member of the TA group.

Similarly, in some communities those people in other TL roles are in the driving seat. For example the rain-maker may be more significant to the community in times of drought.

In many instances there is a disparity between what is happening on the ground and what is on paper. It may be bureaucratically sound to contact a district politician about getting something done, but is likely to be ineffective.

District councils do not have space for chiefs yet it is they who have the power at the local level.

Some communities established chieftaincies in order to negotiate with others who already used the system. Colonial rule created a crucible in which this level of dialogue was necessitated.

Chieftaincies can be constructed along non-traditional lines. An ethnic group in Nigeria appointed a king in order to organise themselves to fight the British colonial power.

The Asante kingdom, which remained independent of colonial rule until 1900, is a conglomeration of different groups which ruled most of the area which constitutes present day Ghana. They had their own systems of governance, including the establishment of a set of human rights.

TLs created a trans-ethnic state within Ghana with a constitution / executive council / national assembly / judiciary. The president of this confederacy was the elected king.

Finding a successor to the first king (who died) in some instances resulted in conflict. This, a lack of revenue from taxes, and the colonialist’s politicking spelled the end of this traditional confederacy.

After the slave trade ended, ownership of the land became more important for colonialists. In 1874 the British tried to pass a law to take ownership. The TLs successfully fought against this.

The evangelising European influence of the colonialists undermined the people’s loyalty to their TLs.

The British employed indirect rule by empowering the chiefs to enact their rule. They divisively drew up district on the map of Ghana along perceived ethnic lines and had to approve the chiefs which were elected by their people, before they took power.

This collaboration had a damaging affect on the reputation of the TLs in their communities.

Most Ghanaian communities have a sacred forest which requires the permission of the chief to enter, unless there are extraordinary circumstances such as a drought. As well as instilling a respect for the environment in its community, this acts as an important environmental buffer.

Kwane A. Nisin said that Africa has been undergoing a silent revolution and that a strategy for collective action which was needed in South Sudanese communities was impeded during colonialism.

The rise of the modern state has affected chieftaincies, with the emergence of the citizen who does not necessarily have allegiances to a TL. This has affected the relationship between the subjects and the leadership. Men and women who have received an education have raised questions about the legitimacy of the chiefs – demanding their accountability. TLs’ flocks have diminished in size because fewer of their members revere the TLs.

The traditional system needs to adapt to a changing, more democratic world; it is currently in a state of suspended animation. Chiefs should reform themselves in line with democratic principles, based on citizens rather than subject. If they do not, the political class will take action and the results will be unpredictable.


In a question and answer session the delegates learnt more detail about Ghana’s traditional authority system.

The ten regions have coordinating councils, each headed by a regional minister, who are appointed by the president. Many of them are also in the national parliament.

In some regions, such as Accra, the spiritual chief is often treated as being of greater importance than the secular chief; the spiritual chief being treated as the owner of the land and with the power to appoint the secular chiefs.

In Africa, delegates said, secular leaders are expected to have a spiritual capacity, which is often demonstrated in the way their leadership is reported upon and discussed. This leads to a perception of the leadership as imbued with a deeply rooted propensity for good luck or bad luck. Ghanian delegates illustrated this by observing that their current presidency has not brought the country good fortune.

The chiefs can come to Accra and find doors opened for them. They therefore have the leverage to fulfil the infrastructural demands of their community.

Ghana is sustained by its informal economy so the TLs have a lot of clout.

The group around the ’Asante Hini’ are better qualified than those around the president. There is a sense of pride in serving the Asante kingdom. There are retired professors and doctors working in the organisation for the satisfaction and honour which it gives them.

Chiefs do not need to use formal structures.

The government pays the chiefs royalties on the land they use.

The things you value most cannot be sold – this is the cases here with the land.

Asante laws were produced on a rational basis. When ’Asante Hini’ was decreed that those who left there houses in a mess would be fined. His court jester accused him of the said crime and was fined accordingly.

Ensuring that people who are personable / educated / with drive are elected as chiefs, there people will back them more and will be proud to put their community’s name to them.

However, chieftaincies will die if internal squabbling occurs during the appointment of new members.

The French Revolution is an example of the results of conflict between unadaptable ’chieftaincies’ and the state government.



Deng Mawien Bak opened the day’s discussions by reaffirming that the South Sudanese was in Accra to "learn from our Ghanaian brothers".

Previously our focus was upon winning the war against Khartoum so that we could exercise the right to be African. Now we want to put in place TA structures like those we have seen here.

From the highly educated Ghanaian TLs we have learnt that education does not necessarily remove you from your people. We in government have sometimes tended to consider ourselves above the TLs in rural areas.

One of the Ghanaian TL’s responded by expressing their willingness to come to South Sudan and to assist them in matters of leadership, and offering their vocational skill many of them possess in practices such as law.


The adherence to ancient protocols continued when the group moved to the old palace, in the courtyard of which they were hundreds of TLs, courtiers and onlookers. The group was met with a beating of drums and greeted one by one by all of the TLs, including the Queen Mothers.

The Ghanaian TLs explained that the appropriate word for the guests to say to their hosts was ’Akwapa’, which was met with the response ’Yo’. The warm greeting was followed by a welcoming speech and dancing, which some of the South Sudanese delegation joined in with.

A blessing was made in which alcohol was ceremonially poured on the ground and incantations were uttered.

Participants were presented with bracelets, representing peace and a hope that the visitors will be able to achieve peace with the re-establishment of their TL structures.

Following the visit to the Old Palace, Kwesi Kwaa Prah of the Centre for Advanced Studies on African Society (CASAS) said that the relationships being established between the South Sudanese TLs and their Ghanaian counterparts could be mutually beneficial.

The Arabs entered Africa in the 7th century. Within a few decades they had conquered all of North Africa. The culture of Arabism has continued to move south since then. The replacement of native cultures by those of the Arabs met its first resistance in South Sudan. This makes South Sudan and the struggle of its people significant in the history of Africa as a whole.

It remains relevant in a contemporary context; what is happening in Mali is an extension of this.

The French army is currently engaged with Islamists who took control of northern Mail.

South Sudan’s structures of administration and service delivery have been shattered by war. We know TL structures are closest to the hearts and minds of the people, especially in the rural areas, and can therefore play a significant role in the development of the country. That is why South Sudan established the COTALs.

South Sudan deputy minister

This is my third visit to Ghana; I first came here as a guerrilla fighter.

When I go to Khartoum I feel like a stranger and here I feel at home.

The traditions we are seeing here are African traditions and as such we hope that you preserve them for the benefit of us all.

South Sudan minister

Khartoum was determined to crush us. Their backing by 22 other countries was not enough to defeat us due to the support we received from our African brothers. However, during this conflict we were focused upon victory, not development. Now our attention needs to turn to that.

Two years ago [before South Sudan’s independence] we were part of the Arab League. Now we are African.

Ghanaian Paramount Chief

I want to commend you for choosing Ghana as a brother from whom you can learn about independence and its established TL institutions.

We do not have the conflict problems which there are in bordering nations, partly due to the success of our TL institutions.

Immediately after Ghana’s independence our chiefs led with totalitarian rule, leading their people into war. Their role has adapted with the changing societal situation.

The chiefs still carry out some legislative / judicial duties – mostly administration of TAs.

Our customs and traditions are what make us unique. Our main objective is developmental. However, in order to achieve our objectives we need more funding. This is crucial to ensuring that the TLs are able to remain independent.

Other Ghanaina TLs noted the expensive nature of their role in Ghana. There is an expectation in many communities that they take responsibility for hosting guests and putting on functions. There are also the administrative costs entailed in the running of a court.

Financial independence is doubly important in light of the potential for manipulation. Investors who want to use the resource of a community’s land must first seek the permission of its TL, creating a dynamic in which the danger of corruption would be all the more acute with a TL already under financial pressure.

We must ensure lines of succession are clearly defined to avoid conflict.

Funding us is key – ensuring that the TLs can remain independent of political pressures.


On the final day of the conference Dr Nanasuf spoke about the complex, tiered system of chieftaincy has existed in Africa for centuries. Traditional Leaders, he said, are people who command respect in either in their wisdom or in their capacity to protect the people of their communities. Building upon these structures is a productive system, he recommended.

The British colonisers passed legislation, applicable until 1951, establishing mechanisms to ensure a diffusion of the chiefs’ power. However, there was subtlety to their manipulation of power; the colonisers adopted a system of indirect rule which created the illusion of local self-determination.

The British colonial power in what was then the region of Southern Sudan, and is now South Sudan the country, applied the principal of indirect rule. However, this was adopted to a lesser degree by the Khartoum government when Sudan’s independence was gained in 1956.

When Ghana gained its independence in 1957 the administration was unsure how much power to instil in the chiefs. Successive governments have returned more power to them.

Although it is a difficult distinction to make, given their role, it is important that the TLs are removed from active participation in governance.

Not being party political has allowed the TLs to approach the future of their communities more far-sightedly. Some chiefs have been in their posts for decades, seeing governments come and go, instilling them with a wealth of knowledge.

The chiefs are answerable to their ancestors as well as to the people of their communities. This gives them a different perspective.

Using the Alternative Resolution Law, Ghanaian TLs have the authority to adjudicate in local cases.

Also, 85 percent of Ghana’s land is owned directly or indirectly by the chiefs.

Indirect rule can take the form of leadership over a clan which are answerable to a TL.

Clans own land and are answerable to a chief. If a family migrates into an area they have to establish an arrangement with the local chief to pay for their use of the land which did not belong to their ancestors.

Land can only be taken on a leasehold basis. Currently this is capped at 99 years and it may be reduced to 55 years. This leasing is based upon environmental considerations and can be revoked.

However, if there are significant resources are discovered underground, these are considered as national interests which can be used by central government, with due compensation provided to the people of that area.

The Ghanaian constitution recognises the importance of the TLs. Their proximity to the people gives them a special relationship with them.

It is crucial that the lines of succession are clearly defined as it is one of the key sources of conflict within chieftaincies.

Chiefs are responsible for finding the resources to develop their communities. There are those chiefs who have taken this responsibility to heart and are making great strides.

There could be criticism of the opulence of the chiefs’ appearances. However, for many people in their communities feeling pride in their leadership is a price worth paying. They see their chief as a public embodiment of their community.


  • Tor Deng Mawien Bak, Presidential Advisor on Decentralisation and Intergovernmental Linkages
  • Garang Akok, Office Manager of the Presidential Advisor on Decentralisation and Intergovernmental Linkages
  • James Lual Deng Kuel, Chairperson of Committee for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, National Legislative Assembly
  • John Masua Madanza, Chairperson of Committee for Decentralized Governance and State Affairs, National Legislature, Council of States
  • Agol Ayuel Adway Agol, Chairperson of COTAL Upper Nile
  • Alfonse Legge Loku Tombe, Chairperson of COTAL Central Equatoria
  • Wilson Peni Rikito Gbudue, King of Zande
  • Akwai Agada Akwia, King of Anyuak
  • Achien Achien YOR, Paramount Chief of Northern Bahr El Ghazal
  • Angelo Bagari Ungbanga Ukungu, Paramount Chief of Western Bahr El Ghazal
  • David Mangar Nhial Kon, Paramount Chief of Lakes State
  • Manoon Ater Guot Chol, Executive Chief of Warrap
  • Del Rumdit Deng, Director General of Local Government and Traditional Authorities, Local Government Board, Office of the President
  • James Alala Deng, President of Court of Appeal Greater Bahr El Ghazal, Judiciary
  • Adam Abwol Kiir Deng, Legal Counsel, Ministry of Justice
  • Jackline Novello Nailock Tamot, Director for Gender, Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare
  • Margret Akon Isaiah Majok, Gender Focal Point, Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare
  • Acuil Malith Banggol, Gurtong Trust Board Member
  • Oliver Humbel, Human Security Adviser, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland
  • Kwesi Kwaa Prah, Tour Leader, Professor, Centre for Advanced Studies on African Society (CASAS)
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  • 21 March 2013 06:58, by Turism

    still no change can be observe even if they should tour within african while their ideologies did not change, they can come back nothing like before.

    repondre message

    • 21 March 2013 07:40, by Nuer Empire

      Bunch of non educated! Most of them are from one tribe!
      The Nuer Empire

      repondre message

  • 21 March 2013 07:36, by Fundamental Change icon

    That was a good initiative by the SWISS government to see into it that people are able to learn through sharing of ideas.However I wonder which was the medium of communication coz almost 99% of our Chiefs in South Sudan are illitrate.In Ghana for example,for one to qualify and become a chief,one must possess a minimum of a secondary school Certificate unlike here.

    repondre message

    • 21 March 2013 09:59, by Nuer Empire

      They are going to bring West African magics to the country.Ngundeng families(Nuer) are not part of it.
      The Nuer Empire

      repondre message

      • 21 March 2013 14:55, by Wani

        It is pathetic that we are going backward at a time other nations are heading forward. If these african traditions were of any good, Africa would be leading the world.Stop this craziness and do positive things.
        I am just saying.

        repondre message

      • 21 March 2013 15:15, by Bilpam Land & Itang are Roots of South Sudan.

        Nuer Empire am really Aprociate you Comment ,they are not South Sudanese as whole who will getting this Magics , it is the family of President who will getting this Magics for the case of upcoming Election Salva Wiskii Kiir.

        repondre message

        • 21 March 2013 18:18, by Nuer Empire

          Yes Bilpam:Most of them are from one tribe other than DINKA.What type of change do u expect from visiting traditional courts in Ghana than looking for witch craft as seen by Wani? Nothing else!!
          The Nuer Empire

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    • 21 March 2013 16:14, by paweetdit

      I don’t think whether you are sure about them, not all of them that are not educated but am sure chief Manoon Ater Chol is a graduate from Juba University.
      If so what medium of communication will people use apart from Arabic and English?

      repondre message

      • 22 March 2013 01:59, by adamu

        you ’re supporting rubbish dude.

        repondre message

  • 22 March 2013 05:47, by Axios

    Did he say they’re going to borrow "magic"? hahahaha.

    repondre message

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