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W. Bahr el Ghazal governor advocates for transfer of national capital

WAU, 17 July 2014 – Western Bahr el Ghazal state governor Rizik Zackaraia Hassan has publicly called for South Sudan’s capital Juba in Central Equatoria to be transferred to Western Bahr el Ghazal’s Wau.

The governor of South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal state, Rizik Zackaria Hassan, speaks at a public rally in the capital, Wau, on 16 July 2014 (ST)

He said the the transfer of the nation’s capital would be a step towards decentralisation and increase development in other states, saying current infrastructure improvement in Juba were due to the presence of the national government.

“We the people of Western Bahr el Ghazal state need the capital to be allocated to Wau so that Wau can get tarmac roads and power electricity which Juba has been enjoying,” he said.

Hassan made the comments on Wednesday during a visit by president Salva Kiir on Wednesday, who addressed tens of thousands of people in Wau’s main square.

Hassan said he was not confident the introduction of a federal system of government would lead to further development and a more equitable distribution of resources, as has been claimed by its proponents.

“I think some of [the] states will collapse if South Sudan earlier adopts [a] federal system before ensuring equal improvement of its states’ capitals,” Hassan said.

“This is because some of these states did not have natural or enough revenue resources which can enable them to develop their own capacities. They will collapse if the national government stops raising its support to these states financially,” he added.

He claimed Western Bahr el Ghazal and other states in the country would become victims under a federal system due to the high number of unemployed graduates.

The comments were welcomed by those attending the mass rally in Wau.

Hassan was the first state governor to reject a proposed federal governing system, followed by his counterpart in Warrap state, Paul Dhel Gum, who said those calling for the system in the country are calling for the disintegration of the country.

Calls by South Sudan’s rebel faction under the leadership of former vice-president Riek Machar for the introduction of a federal system have found public support.

However, Kiir has rejected the demands, saying peace and stability must first be restored before any decision on South Sudan’s political future.

Pro-Machar rebels have been engaged in an armed struggle with government forces loyal to Kiir since a political split in the ruling SPLM erupted in violence in mid-December last year.

(ST)