The government has started plans to construct a new state capital in a central location in what was a wildlife park, a move that officials say will make the seat of government more accessible to the people.
The new capital, to be named Ramciel, will be located in Lakes State and will be built in an area that was previously a rhino sanctuary in the forest. The land is currently uninhabited and lacks basic infrastructure such as roads and electricity.
The initial planning for the project is being funded by approximately $5 million from Morocco and will be carried out by South Korea. Morrocan and Korean engineers will visit the site this week to begin demarcating areas for roads, utilities, markets, residential areas and key government installations.
Plans to move the capital from Juba, where it is now, to the new city have been in the works since before South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, said the government. Morocco’s decision to contribute to the project was discussed during King Mohammed VI’s trip to the war-torn nation in February, 2017.
The executive branch will move to Ramciel, while Juba will remain South Sudan’s commercial center as well as either the judicial or legislative hub, he said.
Ramciel is a Dinka word. In fact, it is two words coined together: Ram and Ciel. Ram means to meet. Ciel means middle. Put together, it means a central meeting place. So, what is central about Ramciel in reference to the Republic of South Sudan?
It will serve as the site of the future national capital. It is considered the geographic centre of the country and borders Jonglei state to the west. It is very close to the point at which the borders of Central Equatoria, Jonglei, and Lakes, and thus the historical provinces of Equatoria, Greater Upper Nile, and Bahr el Ghazal, touch.DR. John Garang allegedly wanted to place the national capital in Ramciel during his administration.
The area is inhabited by the Ciec community at large who are natives of the area. The land is used for grazing and cultivation during the dry season and in the Nile marshes during the wet season.