By Mario Makol Ajang
Ruweng State is activated, vigilant and put on maximum alert awaiting for the final popular consultation by the IGAD Council Delegates!
The SPLM-In opposition and its partners in the conflict do not want 10 states, 21, 23, or the 32 states.
The oppositions are mainly interested in the oil rich state of Ruweng and Malakal town. Dr. Riek Machar wants Ruweng to go back to the former Unity state province, and Dr. Lam Akol wants Malakal to be the capital of the former Upper Nile state. Dr. Lam knows exactly the material benefits that his ethnic community, the Shilluk would gain if in fact Malakal is back to the former Upper Nile state.
Malakal is currently the capital town of Central Upper Nile state, and the communities there are Pigi, Baliet and Panyikang. Shilluk ethnic group isn’t longer the largest in this new state in which Malakal currently serves as its capital. Perhaps, this tribal affiliation, among other political motivations, is clouding his political thinking.
Dr. Riek Machar knows that, many of the major oil fields (Tomasouth, Heglig, Toor oilfields and others which produce roughly “80%” of the South Sudanese oil are in the Ruweng state. That being said, if Ruweng state goes back into becoming part of the former Unity state province again, the Dinka of Panriang and Abiemnhom (the communities of Ruweng state) will become a minority in a region which is highly populated by the Nuer ethnic group.
Such a scenario would only serve to send this “psychological message” as well as the perception that the South Sudanese oil is mainly produced in the Nuer’s areas as this is often argued by the opposition’s supporters.
Again, South Sudan does not have a clear foreign policy objective besides its oil. Oil serves as the only major “objective characteristic” of its foreign policy at the movement. Currently, there are Malaysian, the Chinese and India’s Oil corporations operating in the country.
If this oil rich state becomes part of the Unity state province, it will make it very easy for the SPLM-In opposition and its leadership to forge its own geostrategic partnership and regional diplomacy with other countries that would run parallel to the current foreign policy of the government of South Sudan.
The argument about the number of states is just a strategy to get Ruweng and Malakal. This is a pure debunked strategy.The current number of states (32) must not change. Thank.”