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WAU - 22 Jun 2014

W. Bahr el Ghazal governor against federalism

The governor of South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal State entered the federalism debate on Friday by declaring his opposition to the governance system, which grants exclusive powers to state governments. 

Governor Rizig Zachariah Hassan said that a federal system would unfairly benefit Equatorian states to the detriment of Greater Bahr el Ghazal, Catholic Radio News reports.

Hassan said federalism would not be possible in South Sudan until all states were on an equal development footing.  Without sufficient development, the states might not be able to provide services to the people compared to the central government, Hassan said.

He said strengthening the central government to address infrastructure, security, and other issues around the country should be the priority rather than devolving power to the states.

Hassan's announcement comes as the federalism debate heats up in South Sudan. President Salva Kiir recently spoke out against federalism and admonished Equatorian politicians for being in favor of it.

There are unresolved political tensions in Western Bahr el Ghazal between the state parliament and Governor Hassan, who enjoys support from President Kiir.

Photo by Gurtong Media: Governor Rizig Zacharia Hassan (left) during a visit by President Salva Kiir in late 2011.