A survey carried out by Gurtong revealed that most South Sudanese disapprove of proposals by a section of politicians to have a different name for the new nation.
Following an overwhelming vote for separation of South Sudan, a number of names have been proposed for the new state, including the Republic of Kush, the Republic of Nile and several others.
Those interviewed said having a new name will lead to discord since the historical location of South Sudan will be forgotten if a new name is adopted.
Citing countries that have undergone similar political experiences like North and South Korea, a Torit resident Joseph Gamara said: “I cannot accept other names except the same name South Sudan because the word Sudan means land of the black, a derivative term”.
A member of the Eastern Equatoria State Legislative Assembly (EESLA) Angelo Lomoi Joseph said a new name will cause unnecessary political tension while the new country needs to move forward after a turbulent past.
“Nobody knows about Nile or Kush. … But South Sudan is popular owning to its historic nature”, said another member of the EESLA Christine Nakwar Patrick Lodinga.
The EESLA Chief Whip Tobiolo Alberio Oromo said the Comprehensive Peace Agreement has no provision of adopting a new name.
“Therefore, attempting to change the current name will have a negative impact unless otherwise the southerners hold another referendum to allow the citizens decide democratically. Alternatively, a committee will need to be formed to carry out opinion polls in the whole region to establish a higher majority on the decision taken”, he said.
However, a recent report published by the New York Times revealed that the GoSS Information Minister Dr Barnaba Benjamin Marial who is also a member of a steering committee charged with deciding the region’s name before the declaration is made told the press last week that South Sudan will retain its current name as an independent state.
He said the committee had discussed a dozen of potential names but finally agreed to adopt the Republic of South Sudan due to the familiarity and convenience of the name.
He revealed that among the names discussed were Azania, Nile Republic, Kush Republic and even Juwama, an acronym for Juba, Wau and Malakal, the three major southern cities.
Explaining the rationale of the choice, the minister said: “It is the easiest one for the time being; there are already many things with that name and it makes it easy to transform the government operations”.
Dr Marial, however, said the committee’s decision was not final but will refer its decisions to a higher authority for final approval.
“Should the people of South Sudan want a new name in future, they will have that chance”, he said.
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