Roles of Traditional Authority Leaders by Acuil Malith Banggol


Traditional Relations front cover

Roles of Traditional Authority Leaders

by Acuil Malith Banggol

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Colonisation has left a complex legacy that includes the institutionalised demonisation of communal traditional authority and ideals of collaborative existence and mutuality. In South Sudan, intellectuals with an acute lack of ideological perception tend to instinctively copy their former colonial masters. They blindly recite colonial misconceptions of the South Sudanese traditional communal federal system. This leads to significant underestimation of a powerful resource and generator of unity in our own cultural system.

Indeed, President Kiir, in his historic address on the occasion of the Oath of Justice of the Supreme Court on 3 June 2006, acknowledged the value of incorporating our own cultural and human resources when he reminded us that‘our governance must be well grounded in our traditional laws and customs... It must be borne in mind by all that this has been one of the underlying causes in the quest for freedom and human dignity. Our cultural identification and development in all its forms must be unchained and facilitated to reach the same heights as is the case elsewhere in our continent, or the rest of the globe for that matter…’

This research study, conducted in 2013/2014 in the Republic of South Sudan, investigated the meaning and purpose of the policy of Taking Towns to Rural Peoples and the indispensible roles that traditional authority leaders (TALs) play in realising it in a timely and sustainably manner. The purpose was to examine the assertion that an organisational culture could be institutionalised to recognise the status and roles of TAL institutions, and subsequently to fulfil the legal framework that mandated the incorporation of TAL institutions in the establishment, composition and functions of the Executive and Legislature at national, state and local government levels in the Republic of South Sudan. Through TALs and traditional communal federal systems, we can harness the diversity of South Sudan to create a unified, modern nation-state grounded in our own cultural roots.

Book Review

"A very interesting read.

I found the dysfunction between the population centres and the rural areas to be reminiscent of what is happening today in the USA. While American regional interests may be protected to a degree by such devices as the Electoral College, a more tribal approach may better suit South Sudan.

Mr. Banggol deftly and comprehensively tackles the subject in his book. He does an apt job presenting possible solutions to issues that have bedevilled the post-colonial world for decades.

His thoughts regarding filtering governmental policy through traditional leaders is well worth consideration. After all, the concept of ‘instant democracy’ hasn’t worked out too well elsewhere.

It is not beyond hope that, over time, various aspects of modern governance and behaviour can be relayed to the populace this way. In reverse, concerns of the people, at ground level, can more easily be brought to the attention of government. Tribal leaders convening regularly may also help diffuse some of the longstanding tensions plaguing the country.

From the book, I gathered that one major caveat to the concept is time itself. A millennium of constant tribal reinforcement has been shattered. The situation gets more challenging with each passing day. At some point that chain could permanently sever. The resultant effect throughout the country could make today’s problems seem small by comparison.

Anyone engaged in African studies should read this book very closely."

- Larry Ellis

About the Author

Acuil Malith Banggol was born in 1959 at Majong ee Goi Village of Pannyok County in Twic State in the Republic of South Sudan.

He gained a Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership and Change (MATLC), January 2014, from University of Greenwich in partnership with International Leadership Institute.

Other Education and Training includes:

BSc, Animal Husbandry, University of Alexandria 1984.

Acuil was appointed a Coordinator of SPLA Production Committee in 1985 that introduced farming and fishing to SPLA training centres.

Graduated from SPLA Bongo Institute for Revolutionary War Studies 1986 as a combatant and a political commissar officer.

Acuil received and implemented the Order of March in 1987 from Dr. Garang to establish Abola Red Army School that was later transferred to Piny-Udu in Gambella Region of Ethiopia.

Trained and a consultant/trainer on applied Project Cycle Management (PCM) and Organizational Development (OD) 1990.

Trained on Future Search Methodology- The Conflict Resolution 2000.

Trained on Do No Harm for Humanitarian Intervention and Recovery during and after disaster/conflict 2002.

Acuil was a trainer and researcher on applied Public Policy Making/Development and Public Policy Advocacy 2003.

Contributed to evolving national civic movement and advocacy, and he is devoted to environmentally sound transformation and change.

He was the SPLM National Secretary for Popular and Syndicated Organizations 2009 to 2015.

Founder and Consultant with PASS Consultants 2005 to 2006.

While there, he mediated the dialogue for mutual peaceful coexistence between the Dinka Malual and the Rezeigat and Misseriya Arab Nationalities 2008 to 2010.

Mediated in the peace dialogue between the Apuk Giir and the Aguok Mou and Kuac Ayok of Warrap State at Kal Kuel, Tonj South County in 2008.

Member of Board of Trustees of the Gurtong Peace Project 2006 to 2015.

Has been the nominated Founding Chair of the Boma Wildlife Training Centre 2004 to 2015. Founding member of the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association (SSRA) in 1989 (Now the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC)).

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sudan Production Aid 1994 to 2005. While there he rejuvenated the use of the ox-plough amongst the Dinka farmers in the entire Greater Bahr el Ghazal Region.

In December 1999 hrough 2009 with a help of UNICEF/Operation Lifeline Sudan, Christian Aid and Bread for the World, initiated Sports for Peace and Development dubbed Twic Olympics in Twic County. This influenced the United Nations to form a Taskforce on Sports for Peace in 2003.

He was involved with SUPRAID programs in Twic County access to safe drinking water was comparatively enhanced.

SUPRAID initiated People-to-People Peace program in Maper Akuer between Twic Dinka and Bul Nuer led by their spiritual leaders Ajingdid and Get Deng respectively in 1998.

The New Sudan Council of Churches, in 1999, expanded SUPRAID’S initiative into the legendary Wunlit People to People Peace Dialogue.

Through SUPRAID and now PASS Consultants Ltd the author provides induction courses on Private Voluntary Organizations and Civic Movements.

The author has published two books: The New Dawn 2010 and A Guide on How to Win Elections 2010; plus several articles in social and print media.

Acuil has written and recorded scripts such as:

The Road to Freedom and Prosperity that is hosted under Documents in

He provides induction courses on SPLM Party Political Work, and is a consultant is trainer on party political work, civic advocacy and policy advocacy and project appraisal.

The author’s several articles and essays are being collated now into books and modules to fight naivety and build capacities in the leadership and rank and file.

Acuil is committed to support governance recognition of Traditional Authority Leaders (TALs) and Traditional Commune Federal Systems (TCFS).

He has great involvement in moulding and incorporating the modern multinational and multicultural federal nation state of South Sudan.

The author has been a political and civic movement activist since his school days.

Book Details

Paperback: 224 pages

Publisher: Africa World Books Pty Ltd (August 25, 2017)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0987614118

ISBN-13: 978-0987614117

Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches

Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces


The information and views set out in this publication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publishers. Neither the publishers nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the nature, veracity or accuracy of the information contained herein or the use which may be made thereof.


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