Address by Governor Clement Wani Konga, 16 July 2014:
Juba, July 22, 2014 (SSNA) — The Right Honourable Speaker, State Transitional Legislative Assembly, Central Equatoria State; the Honourable Deputy Governor; the leader of the Minority, Honourable State Advisors and Ministers, the Deputy Speaker, all protocol in place.
On behalf of the Central Equatoria State Government, I am honoured to appreciate the opening of the 5th Session of the State Transitional Legislative Assembly.
I wish to take this opportunity to welcome you from your long recess, which I believe was very useful and provided the much-needed platform for your constituencies, electorates. It is my hope that you have ample time to listen, mobilize and enlighten our citizens on the current developments in the Republic of South Sudan, Central Equatoria State in particular.
Honourable Speaker, I wish to choose this opportunity to inform the Honourable Members and the general public at large that Central Equatoria State is peaceful, despite the persistent destruction and provocation by war-mongerers.
We in Central Equatoria State are peace-loving people, and commend the efforts of His Excellency General Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, in steering the nation to normality. The state also applauds the President for the constant engagement with the Government of Central Equatoria on positive dialogue and productive consultations.
We further appreciate the President for signing the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and the recent agreement on setting timeframe for the formation of transitional government of national unity in South Sudan.
Honourable Speaker, as you are aware, the unfolding security situation in the state and the country at large is disturbing, following the incident of December 15th 2013 that plunged the country into the present political crisis. This has continued to create insecurity in more communities of Central Equatoria State.
The widespread influx of internally displaced persons from the cattle-owning communities of neighboring states has disrupted the normal farming activities and the environment throughout the state. In addition to this, there is ongoing arming of the cattle-keepers whereby it further aggravates the insecurity situation in the state.
The recent ambushes and killings of citizens along Juba-Nimule highway has created fear and panic among the people of the area in the whole state. Similar incidents have occurred in the neighboring state of Eastern Equatoria along the Torit-Juba road. The inability of the police to respond promptly is due to insufficient police force and arms. In response, the state government took the following measures:
– Formation of the State Crisis Management Committee to coordinate efforts to address the current crisis.
– Presenting State Government Message to the August House on the Current Political Issues.
– The State Government released a sum of 144 thousand to the State Legislative Transitional Assembly to support the activities of the members of parliament for mobilization and carry out awareness campaigns in all the counties of the state.
Honourable Speaker, we are all aware of the current political debate on federalism as the best option of governance for our country to move forward. Federalism was and is the quest of the people of South Sudan since 1947. For Central Equatoria State the federal system of governance is the best to transform the state.
In this regard, we need to be vigilant, firm, focused, and not shy away. We must inform our people in Central Equatoria and the country at large on the values and benefits of this system of governance that ensures equitable distribution of national resources and sharing of state powers by all the different regions, states and ethnic groups to develop and render effective services to the people.
Therefore, it is crucial that the national government should listen to what the people of the Republic of South Sudan want.
Honourable Speaker, in spite of the numerous challenges the government was able to fund some development projects and achieve the following: Education: in the education sector the construction of primary and secondary schools across the six counties of the state include Lokiliri, Logeri, Diabor, Kwerkek, Byilinyang primary schools; Liria, Rokon, Kinji, Gudele, Kobi, and Rajaf secondary schools…
In health sector, the construction of Poinyime primary health care centre, maternity ward in Morobo Civil Hospital and operations theatre in Yei Civil Hospital has been completed. Successful coverage on all immunization programmes, 46 health workers returnees absorbed into the civil service in the state and 108 students graduated from the Health Science Training Institute.
In the information sector, the construction of Morobo FM radio, 102.8 frequency; the government will endeavor to ensure that all the counties should have FM radios to ease mobilization and sensitization. The radio and television is expected to be opened in this fifth session of the State Transitional Parliament.
In the physical infrastructure sector, my government spent 2.5 million USD for purchase of seven heavy road construction equipment, and four of these machines have been received. These machines will help in the construction of feeder roads in the whole state. In regards to the 2.5, it’s unfortunate that all the money that we used, we have [had] to exchange it through the black market, but not from the Central Bank. And it is the duty of the Central Bank to support the state to purchase equipment so that they could carry out daily maintenance work on the roads.
Honourable Speaker, the government of Central Equatoria State is committed to its plans towards stepping up its security, political and social-economic development, and delivery of service in line with the state strategic plan 2012/2013 – 2014/2015. The budget for the fiscal year 2014/2015 is ready and will soon be tabled before this August House for deliberations.
This task requires collective… efforts from committee leaders, government institutions, stakeholders, and development partners to address the challenges enumerated above. The task ahead of you demands concentration, consultation and cooperation in your deliberation.
The issues this August House is expected to deliberate on are the legislation, deliberation, and enactment of various bills which include policy documents from state ministries, the budget for the year 2014/2015, other bills from different state institutions, and other institutions.
As you heard during the speech of the president on the 9th of July, it was unfortunate that the President of the Republic has been fed by wrong informations. When Equatoria was decentralized, sons and daughters from Central Equatoria are in the East up to this present moment. Sons and daughters of Central Equatoria are in the West at the moment. Sons and daughters from Western Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria are in Central Equatoria up to the moment.
None of the Equatorian people have been chased away from Central Equatoria, nor Eastern Equatoria, nor Western Equatoria. That was a false information to the president, only to make him – a supporter or something – I don’t know how to call it – and it was wrong.
Also the matters [of] who were killed in 1992. These were sons of the Republic of South Sudan or the then-Southern Sudan. Those killed in Juba were not only Equatorians, but included South Sudanese from Bahr Al Ghazal, South Sudanese from Upper Nile, and all were killed here in their mattress – they died for the cause of this country, and they should not be termed as being slaughtered like chickens. This was an inappropriate word given to the president.
Honourable Speaker, I would like to urge this August House to remain focused in its deliberation of all issues tabled before you for legislation. Finally, as you prepare to go into serious business, I take this opportunity to declare the 5th session of the State Transitional Legislative Assembly officially open.
May the Almighty God guide and bless us all. Thank you very much.