lisa monaghan

Harrigan (2007). Waiting for pay-day: Anthropological Research on Local-level Governance Structures in South Sudan

This report presents the results of a 4 week field study of the social and anthropological

factors behind local governance structures in Southern Sudan – concentrating on the areas of Aweil East and Aweil Centre in Northern Bahr el Ghazal. It begins by describing the Structure of the Government of Southern Sudan set up after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Under the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, a formal structure of legislative, judiciary and executive bodies have been set up with the principle of devolving power to the 10 States – and through them to the Local Government.

Local Government includes all the activities undertaken by the devolved authority of the GoSS at the level of county or urban council and below. Such activities fall under the coordination of the State Ministries of Local Government. However, the State Ministries have no Ministry of Local Government at central GoSS level in Juba. There is thus no formal body to call the States to account now that funding for Local Government has failed to make it through the State accounting systems. Nor is there a formal Ministry to undertake the work of preparing and passing the Local Government Act before the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly and/or to argue with the Ministry of Finance on budgets. Instead there is a Board of Local Government that acts in an advisory capacity to the Office of the President.


This translates at a local level into a barely functioning Local Government (LG) structure.

There are no resources to pay salaries and a shortage of trained personnel to fill the posts such as County Sectoral Directors. While formally appointed, the post-holders were more occupied in chasing up salaries than starting the work of Government taking over service provision from aid agencies. No formal plans are in place for Counties to organise the day-to-day management of service provision let alone producing County Development and Strategic plans. Technical oversight is not being provided by the States. LG is also in a weak position in its negotiations with aid agencies – tending to accept what agencies and their donors are prepared to give rather than is needed.

Category: Politics and Political Agreements

Sub-category: Local, Peace