• Acuil Banggol

A multicultural South Sudan: why ethnofederalism ticks

Acuil Banggol, Juba


Let me take you to the recent incidents in Malakal concerning the Malakal Mayorship and the tension in Wau over the position of Towyor.


Take note of hostility on social media. There are reports of how instability is, or could, develop given the hostile situation at hand.


There are rumours and reports of killings, failed attempts to cause harm, and notably the disruption of the swearing in of Malakal’s state government.

Malakal town, a recent centre of intercommunal violence.

A quick look shows us that a few, self appointed leaders amongst elites turned militia are causing havoc all over the county. Given the prevailing state of lawlessness, these militia groups have been able to exact illegal taxes and dues from shops and markets.


If Dinka, Nuer, Chollo, Burun, Koma and immigrant community leaders are given the opportunity to exercise their authority in Malakal, stability and justice could prevail. This would lead to peaceful coexistence.


This coexistence can only occur through the empowerment of traditional authority leaders. If a Council of Traditional Authority Leaders (COTAL) is incorporated into legislature at national and state levels, accountability could be realised. Executives would be accountable according to the provision of articles 166, 167 and 168 of the 2011 TCRSS, as amended in Chapter 6 of the 2018 R-ARCSS. Here is mandated respect, recognition, and the incorporation of ethnic and cultural institutions in the process of constitutional development.

Article 167 of the R-ARCSS, allowing for traditional authority in the decision making process.

This should lead us to define a model of federation suitable to South Sudan’s context.


South Sudan is defined as the home state of its constituent ethnic and cultural communities.

These communities are the Wut in Jieng, Chii in Naath, Ashira in Murle, Ommodiya in Chollo, Hot Dhok in Luou, Jur in Bari and Dinka, to mention but a few.


Their home states are those containing its community members’ territory, natural resources, governance and interaction within and across its boundaries. If these are incorporated into the process of state building, it would give South Sudan ethnofederalism in its own context.

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