Wau residents welcome proposed relocation of national capital

July 23, 2014 (WAU) – Thousands of Wau town residents marched through the streets of the Western Bahr el Ghazal capital on Wednesday in support of a proposal for South Sudan’s national capital to be relocated from Juba to Wau.

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Residents of South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal march through the streets in support of a proposal to relocate the national capital from Juba to Wau (ST)

Residents began assembling about 8am (local time) opposite the secretariat office of South Sudan’s ruling SPLM ruling before marching though the town and ending at the council of ministries.

The proposal was first flagged by state governor Rizik Zackaria Hassan while addressing tens of thousands of citizens who had gathered to hear president Salva Kiir speak at Wau’s speech at Wau’s main stadium on 16 July.

Deputy governor Zackaria Joseph Garang said the state government stood with residents.

“Your peacefulness, respect and the state security has added a heavy weight to your call that could qualify your state to be a capital city for South Sudan,” he said.

Garang further assured residents that governor Hassan, who is currently on a visit to Juba, would convey their calls to the president, adding the state government has already formed a committee to examine the viability of the proposed capital transfer.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Western Bahr el Ghazal women’s association, Mary Emilo Bafuka, said Juba would continue to be a leading commercial town regardless of whether it remained the national capital.

SPLM state youth league chairperson Dhayia Abdarahaman said transferring the national capital to Wau would bring dynamic social and economic reforms, particularly for youth.

It’s not the first time Wau town has been proposed as the new national capital.

The matter was also raised in 2005 during negotiations for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended more than two decades of civil war with the north and paving the way for the South’s secession in 2011.

“We, the citizens of Western Bahr el Ghazal state, have now decided the right time has come” to transfer the national capital to Wau,” said a statement on behalf of state civil society representatives.