Mixed Reactions Over Proposal To Move Capital From Juba Print

By Agele Benson Amos

Should the government relocate the South Sudan capital city from Juba to Ramciel? This is the biggest debate doing the rounds in South Sudan as citizens of Africa’s youngest nation look to the future.

The People’s Voice asked some citizens what they thought and found that were mixed reactions about the proposed relocation. Some think that the move is a good idea because the proposed new site offers ample land for proper planning and future expansion, as compared to the poorly planned and congested city of Juba. However, others are opposed to the move because they feel the world’s newest and poorest country has many more urgent priorities to contend with.

David Juma Mike, a student at Juba University says: “We, the people of Central Equatoria State had the advantage of rapid development due to the presence of the capital city in our state but, now that it’s moving far away we need to put more effort into developing the state.”

While welcoming the idea of the relocation of the capital city, David said the relocation should provide equal opportunity to all the ten states of the Republic of South Sudan. “We need equal opportunities in education, health and employment as the capital city will be moving far away from us,” said David.

Atayi Jesca who works with SUMI welcomes the idea of relocating the capital, explaining “Juba is too small to be a capital city since south Sudan is an independent country which needs bigger buildings and many other things like industries and factories.”

She added that the relocation of the capital is a positive move towards the development of the new nation. “We should view it positively. The ministers and the members of parliament of all the constituencies should take the positive move of developing their areas and the big task is on the state government in ensuring the success of the plan,” she said.

However, Anthony Ladu, who works as a bar attendant, says that he sees no point in the planned relocation to Ramciel. “In fact, it would be a good idea if the government began addressing the immediate needs of the people such as lack of clean drinking water, poor health services, lack of roads, lack of schools and providing help for farmers to produce food locally to avoid over reliance on expensive food imports” states Ladu.

The 23 year old father of one says that the move to shift the capital city of the new state should be done at a later stage and not in a rush. “For now we have to agree that we have to face our challenges on our own and this means that every penny available must be put to the right use. Building a capital city is not an urgent need for the South Sudanese majority who continue languishing in adverse poverty” Ladu observed.

Alex Modi, a resident of Erap area in Yei town payam, said the idea of relocating the capital city is not bad but, it should be done gradually and in phases. “The government should first think of improving the standard of public servants by increasing their salaries and also paying the salaries on time, so that quality services are provided to citizens instead of rapid relocation” said Alex.

Alex told The People’s Voice that the relocation will also improve access to the capital from all over South Sudan as some of the people were finding it hard to reach Juba because of the distances involved. “The relocation of the capital city should be seen as a uniting factor for the people of South Sudan. It should not be divisive. It should not bring about tribalism and unnecessary tension because we all belong to one nation,” states Alex.

The inspector of accounts at Yei River County, Kosmas Ayambo Enoc, described the decision to move the capital from Juba as a brilliant idea. “We shall soon be in trouble if the capital city remains in Central Equatoria State because the capital must be far from the border with neighbouring countries. Juba is too close to Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya”, Enoc explained.

Enoc is appealing to people living around the new site in Ramciel to give up excess land to give way for the new capital which is being built from scratch. He urged the government of the Republic of South Sudan to cooperate with the international community and donor agencies to help put up a capital city befitting the new nation. South Sudan’s government said it was moving the capital from Juba because of a shortage of land for expansion.