Are the Governors of South Sudan True Citizens of Their States or Mere Political Proxies?

By Juma Mabor Marial

December 24, 2015 (SSNA) — Due to the civil war and economic hardships that has prevailed in the country for the past two years, citizens’ attention has been completely switched from scrutinizing their leaders and concentrated on how to achieve peace and exit from these unprecedented economic difficulties. In doing so, the leaders especially politicians get it as a tolerable window of opportunity to loot and short-change the country and citizens at different levels.

This article is going to have a discussion about the Governors of the ten states both present and previous and answer the question on whether or otherwise, these Governors are true citizens of their respective states or just, but power hungry politicians who are seen around or within the states when elected and/or appointed to lead at different times.

The hypothesis on this question and which we shall, throughout our discourse, endeavor to qualify is that, almost all the Governors especially the former ones are not true citizens of their states although they may be of course, biological citizens of those states. This conclusion is drawn from the fact that, once sacked from their positions, such Governors catches the next flight to Juba on transit to Kenya and Uganda while those who have homes and families in Australia, Canada, America and other western countries proceeds there in few days after their dismissal. These actions shows that, those who are elected/appointed as Governors are only interested in power but not the people and this is why they leave their states as soon as the power is no longer in their hands.

The consequences of these behaviors is that, some of the Governors who goes to rule some states in South Sudan do not have any essential rapport with the citizens of their states hence, the lack of proper delivery of services to the people. The reason is that, the Governors especially the appointed politicians are total strangers to the citizens of the states and because there has never been a social contract between them and the citizens, they don’t see any obligation to develop policies that would help them in implementing some of the programs that they might have promised the electorates, instead, they only do things that impress their appointing authority even when they are things that are at the expenses of the state citizens.

Comical enough, most of the former Governors in the states of South Sudan do not have houses in their states and villages but they have bought houses in Nairobi, Kampala and in most of the western countries. Once appointed, most of them accommodates in the state houses while others are rented some private premises using state resources and this compromised the delivery of services to the state citizens. The few that have built themselves houses in their states in turn rents them to the state government for themselves, which is a manifestation of fully pledge corruption and conflict of interest. I know of one incumbent Governor who has rented out his own house as a coordination office in Juba for the state that he is currently leading.

In other countries, once out of power, the best place to retire to is the rural village, the examples are President Moi of Kenya who after his presidency went to Kabarak in Nakuru where he participates and interacts with local populations, the dignitaries and politicians comes to visit him there, others are George Walker Bush (Senior and Junior), the former Presidents of the United States of America who retired to their homes in Taxes, Mandela, Mwai Kabaki and most retired African leaders are some of the leaders that retired to their native homes once out of power. The situation in South Sudan is different, once out of office especially the Governors, instead of going back to their homes, they come to Juba or proceeds to East Africa and beyond.

I am not sure whether President Kiir will go to Akoon when he retires, we shall see that when the time comes. The importance of retiring home is that, you get out of public life and concentrate on your private life which you were unable to enjoy when you were in the public office; another benefit is that, you are able to share with the local people some of their problems and help in resolving them. The retire leader can also initiate some projects base on his connections to help the communities in terms of service delivery. His presence also enhances stability in the village or state and last but more importantly, it shows the citizens of your state that you are not only there for power but you are there for them all the times whether in power or not.

With these analyses, you would realize that most of the Governors especially the former Governors do not deliver adequate services to their people in the state because they don’t have children to go to schools, wives to give birth, sick to go to hospitals in the state as their families are in far away countries where such services are avail on demand, the only thing they can do is to expedite their looting and remit money to their families abroad in order to access these services. This is why some of them just go to their states when they are given power but does not care about what happen to the citizens of the state when they are not in power. It is unfortunate that most of the Governors who are sacked come to Juba and lobby to be reinstated as Governors or get other senior government positions at the centre.


In order to get rid of this habit of being visiting politicians to the states, the following recommendations should be considered;

1. Random removal of Governors and replacing them with roaming politicians should be avoided so as to allow the citizens to scrutinize their leaders and elect only those that they know and the ones that are staying with them;

2. The President should try to appoint only those that are in the states to avoid politicians that pretend to be true citizens of the states in Juba to only achieve appointment to Governorship positions;

3. The citizens should also ensure that they reject those that are being imposed on them without knowing the concerns of the people;

4. All the politicians and those who aspire to be Governors should develop in them the spirit of nationalism and love for their states, they should do this by ensuring that they construct houses for themselves in their respective states;

5. The President or the citizens must make it as one of the mandatory criteria that, once appointed or elected as a Governor in any state of South Sudan, such individuals must bring their families to the state such that they can be able to offer the same services to all the people as if they were taking care of their immediate family. This will assist in building schools, hospitals, roads, among others as no Governor would want the members of their family to die or subjected to poor healthcare facilities or allow their children to go to sub-standard schools.

6. Last but not the least, it must be conditional upon the Governors to ensure that they stay in their states for at least six months before they could leave so as to show the citizens that they can stay in the state even if they are no longer in power.


The situation discussed above is not unique to the former Governors alone but it applies to all the politicians of South Sudan especially the state politicians. This also tells us the reason why some politicians changed their political alliances as soon as they loss their political positions and some even becomes rebels. In any case and for lack of better adjectives, one would easily accept the hypothesis that, our politicians are only interested in power but care less about their people and the country. I hope this habit will change with adoption of the above recommendations and the new reforms through the proper and timely implementation of the peace agreement.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year, 2016.

Juma Mabor Marial is a Trainee Advocate based in Juba, reachable at: [email protected].

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