Western Equatoria is a failed territorial state

By Hon. Robert Bandi Alawa

Fellow citizens of the Republic of South Sudan, I want to share my experience as a veteran politician with all of you and hence justify my claim that Western Equatoria State, my own state is a failed regional state in comparison with other states of South Sudan.

I was a Minster of Services in Equatoria Region, a Minister of Local Government in Sudan, a Minister of Youth and Sports in Sudan and a member of the constituent assembly in Omdurman, Sudan.

For one to be a good politician, he must have love for one’s country and respect for the public property.

To justify my claim that Western Equatoria is a failed state in South Sudan, I want to narrate here the few things that I did within only four months from my taking of office as a Minister of Services in Equatoria Region

As a minister of services, the following ministries fell under me; The ministry of education; Ministry of health; Ministry of agriculture; Ministry of information and the Ministry of housing, roads and bridges

I was sworn in Khartoum and came in May 1985 to take over my position as a minister of services; I want to tell the people of South Sudan one thing that I did in one ministry only. There will be a time when I shall talk about the other four ministries.

Some South Sudanese must have seen the black stones that were left at the ministries by the cheques when they finished building the ministries. There were no roads linking the various ministries together. No drainage system.

As soon as I took office, I called my director general of housing Late Engineer Elisa Nataya. I asked him to develop a plan for removing the black stones, building roads and drainages within the ministries. The plan was submitted with full budget to the minister of finance H.E. Remy Oller Itrong and was quickly approved. I sent Khamis Abu Anja, a forester to Khartoum to bring Neem Seedlings to be planted along the newly built roads. Within five months only from the time the project started, the work came to an end with beautiful roads, drainages and even bridges. I did not forget that there was no fence around the president’s office. That was quickly done. The contract for building the fence was given to a contractor from Tambura Late Kosta.

A project for erecting electricity in Maridi was developed by Late Engineer Darious. We travelled to Khartoum and I was able to get the money for both low and high tension. I could not see the minister of finance. It was undersecretary for planning who approved the cash for us. Those projects were already budgeted for and were ready to be given to whoever knocked the door. You can imagine how things were done. I came back with the cheques and formed a committee headed by the police general Henry Dinema, John Abdu and Samson Bira were respectively treasurer and deputy treasurer. In December 1985 I invited our Governor Late General. Peter Cirilo to open the project and Maridi was that day lit to the happiness of the people of that beautiful green land. But go and see Maridi now.


Western Equatoria state has suffered from numerous problems since the states were reduced from thirty-two to ten. Before the reduction, WES was made of four states namely. Yambio, Tombora, Maridi and Amadi.


The first thing that should have taken place was the integration of the civil servants from the other three defunct states into one single unit in Yambio. This has not taken place up to now. The civil servants from the three defunct states remained in their states up to now. Western Equatoria state is run by the civil servants that were in the former defunct Gbudwe state.

The worse part of the story is that the whereabouts of the chapter one (salaries) for the three defunct states is not known. Several attempts have been made to make these civil servants to be paid but to no success. In Western Equatoria any budget line can be diverted and nobody has the right to question or talk about it. That will be tantamount to crime.


Coalition governments are always difficult to run. But what is happening in WES is what cannot be tolerated by anybody who knows how governments are run.

The governor and the deputy governor are too parallel that they can never be in one place. The difference between these two gentlemen has completely paralyzed the entire government system in WES. Several attempts have been made by elders, religious leaders, including Bishops to reconcile these two gentlemen but no success. The war in Tambura has further widened the difference between them. Each one of them seemed to be inclined towards his own tribesmen. This phenomenon has never happened in WES before. This has clearly made WES to be without any effective government at all. The entire people of WES have completely lost hope in this government.

The state government has no conduct of business regulations (CBR) if it has, the deputy governor cannot come to Juba and stay for more than four months without being questioned.

Ministers and commissioners travel at their will; they cannot take permission from the governor.

The council of ministers hardly meet sand since they do not meet, there are no resolutions drawn. There are therefore, no plans to be executed. There are no plans or a project that has been successfully implemented, what are in the policy statement. If there is any, then let the people of South Sudan be told that such project has been implemented.

Although the state assembly was lately reconstituted, no policy statement has been delivered to date. How do you run a government without a policy statement? Aren’t you supposed to implement what are in the policy statement? Need you to be informed about this. People of WES are eagerly waiting to hear when the policy statement will be delivered.

The deputy governor dismissed commissioners without consulting the SPLM authority in the county.

A clear case in point was when he decided to dismiss the newly appointed commissioner of Maridi. Hon. Michael Body and replaced him with a very inexperience young man who has never worked outside Maridi.

Hon. Michael Body, the dismissed commissioner is a very experience executive director who worked in many parts in South Sudan with abundant success that cannot be equaled by this young inexperienced man.

Michael Body was a tutor in MTC in Juba, he joined Civil Service as an Executive officer after getting trained in Juba, he joined the college of administrative science where he graduated.

As a young officer he was an Executive Director for Juba Town Council, something that rarely happened with people of his age that time he was taken to Terekeka by Clement Wani, when he was a commissioner there, he worked in Renk as a project manager for the farm of Western Equatoria state under governor General Isaiah Paul.

He was an executive Director for Yambio County.

He was transferred as an Executive Director in Nzara where he built a completely new HQ for the county. I happened to be among those who opened the place. He was then transferred to Tambura where he built a new HQs. this time a state house with two floors.

All these times the Maridi people had wanted their son Michael Body to come and develop Maridi as he has done in other places. No sooner was Michael Body brought to Maridi than he was dismissed by the deputy governor.

We the people of Maridi would want to fully know why he has brought a man who cannot manage the smallest government department. As I stated earlier, commissioner leaves the state without legal permission from the governor, the commissioner of Maridi is not in the county possibly without written permission.

There is a government school known as Gbutala Secondary School. This school is closed now. I am sure the commissioner is not aware of that. This is the only government secondary school in town, it is no longer there. What happened? Many able young SPLM popular ministers and advisors were dismissed without sound reasons. Nobody has the right to tamper with strong SPLM members who have tirelessly worked for the interest of the party.


Western Equatoria State was known as one of the most peaceful states in South Sudan, there was no war fought in the state in the recent history of the state, I mean tribal war.

When the governor and his deputy came to power the state experienced the first war.

It has been exercised in the state that the governor comes from the western counties and the deputy governor from the eastern counties though exercise has been in dismay of the people of eastern counties. But this time the governor and the deputy governor are all from western counties. So the two neighbors started the Tambura War. There are questions that need to be asked by the people of WES.

  1. Who started the war in Tambura?
  2. Are the culprits going to be brought to book?

These are few items out of many that characterize the present government of WES.

These two gentlemen are inexperienced. The governor has never worked in a government institution before.

The deputy governor is just too young without experience to manage the affairs of such a huge and rich state.

The result is what is happening in WES. There is no single development project that has been done in the state. The other states though have many problems, yet to some extend developments have taken place.

Enough is enough; the two gentlemen must pave ways and leave the state to be developed by able men who are many in the state. The Voice of the people must be heard.

Robert Bandi Alawa

Contacts: 0921656679/0917218579.

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