- Written by Yorwin Otor
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Sudan before and after independence has never had a proper administrative system of government. The administrative systems of government continue to change depending on the government of the day. The period from 1821 through Madhya era up to 1890's, Sudan was rule by Memaluk (Turkish Caliphates) in Egypt followed by Madhya until Kitchener liberation to put Sudan again under condominium rule by Egypt and Britain.
The system of government administration used throughout this period was not necessary the same as that used either in Egypt or Britain. Sudan administration was under the British Foreign Office, thus, the young British Diplomats send to Sudan are graduates of Cambridge or Oxford. They are not experience in governance or even the British system of government. As they arrive Sudan, they are usually posted as district commissioners. They invent any system they think for them to be comfortable. They adapted to rule through traditional chiefs or community leaders which was sustainable by then.
The political system in Sudan was still at its infancy was presented in the legislature without impact on the governor-general decisions who reports to her majesty the King/Queen of England and second to the ruler of Egypt. The two major political parties were the religiously based parties of Democratic Unionist Party which was pro-Egypt and Umma Party that claimed to represent Sudanese nationals. Graduate Associations had their opinions in the political arena by the time.
Sudan was one country by the time and there was no such thing a southern political party having impact on Sudanese political spectrum during the condominium rule and thereafter. When Sudan was preparing to get its independence, 1947 Juba Conference between Northern Political Parties and a collection of Southern tribal chiefs and some low grade southern school leavers was organized for the later to support independence process. The opinion of southerners was so divided that it did not give any meaningful direction on the question of the South and its borders.
In order not deviate from the topic, the explanation given above has to be truncated and move to subject matter directly which is system of administration learned from the British and way forward thereafter. The British rule Sudan as one country with nine provinces, three of which are located in the southern part of the country (Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile Provinces) respectively. The close districts act at 10 degrees latitude parallel was the only criteria used to separate North and South Sudan. The British did not leave behind any maps demarcating south Sudan from North on what being referred to the borders as it stood on 1st January 1956. The only boundaries were that of provinces. Upper Nile was adjacent to Blue Nile, White and Khordofan Provinces. Bhr El Ghazal had boundary with Darfur Province.
The system of administration was to divide province into districts and sub-districts. A province is headed by a Province Commissioner, district by district commissioner and sub-district by Assistant district commissioner and so forth. The chains of commands were very clear. The administrative system was in order. It was Numeir who disrupted the system and replace if with socialist system which brought more confusion in the country. The administration was politicized and preference was given SSU (Sudan Social Union) officials to become political commissioners. They tyrant that have rebuke administrative system till today
During 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, Southern Autonomous Government was created on the bases of the borders as they stood on 1st January 1956. But no one bothered to know where these borders actually are until the end of its tenure. Now after CPA again no border demarcation happened until independence on 9th July 2011.
Moving to South Sudan as a country, more confusion to administration has be brought in SPLM. There is State, County, Payam and Buma. No one has ever explained whether this system is their own creation or imported from countries in which they have lived in Diaspora. All the states are governed in proxy by military officers elected on civilian tickets. Also counties are headed by appointed military officers with some few civilians. No one knows what Payam Administrator or Buma administration is.
Counties are distinctively tribal or sub-clans borders. For example, Awiel East County or Aweil West County is for sub-clans of Malual Dinka. The same goes for Gogrial East and West Counties are sub-clans of Apuk and Awan Sub-clans.
If each and every tribe holds on its ancestral land then that will result in border conflicts between States, Counties, Payam and Bumas. Land issue will remain number one security thread in most of Southern Sudan territory. The States are government by incompetent SPLM Governors which also implies incompetent commissioners and the list goes down to Payam and Bumas.
Soon there will be multi-counties created leading to more divisions of states which will become ungovernable. Lack of resources is a major problem. Poverty among the citizens will rampage causing more insecurity. Every tribe will be confined its tribal homeland for security reasons and survival. Now without proper administrative system in the 21st Century then how do we envisage the South to develop?
SPLM led government is so deformed to be reform. This is a doom of our country. Here it is worth noting that a guerilla movement, once, they win a war, they will have the problems on how run the librated country. Guerilla movement lacks experience in running government machinery. When advised by an outsider like civil servants who have experience, they will say, they know it all. The international communities are not in position to give support if SPLM remains the government.
To come back to how South Sudan could benefit from past administrative system. Administrative sciences is a profession that could be acquire through studies at a University to earn a degree or through in-service on job training to attain require skills. South Sudan needs to avoid political appointments into administration system and especially the illiterate ones.
SPLM should not be allowed to politicize the administrative system otherwise it will be difficult to eradicate this rampage corruption in the country.
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