South Sudan Opposition Alliance urges gov’t to compromise on number of states

Logo of the South Sudan Alliance (File photo)

December 6th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) has urged the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit to make compromise over the number of states.

This comes days after the parties who were meeting in Juba disagreed over how many states South Sudan should have during the transitional period.

The government insisted on maintaining the current 32 or its increment. Meanwhile the opposition and the mediators proposed 24 states (including the disputed Abyei Area).

“We would like to inform our members and the general public on the discussions that took place between the Parties to the Peace Agreement in the last three days from the 2nd to the 4th of December on the issue of the number of States in South Sudan,” the opposition consortium said in a statement issued by its Secretary-General Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin.

It said as the group knows,”this has been a sticky issue in the peace negotiations in Addis Ababa and Khartoum and could not be settled during the talks. The Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) that was tasked to look into the matter did not find consensus to recommend a specific number of States and recommended that IGAD should call the Parties so that they resolve the issue politically.”

“It is in this context that IGAD convened a meeting in Juba on the 18th September 2019 but this could not proceed as the government delegation didn’t turn up. The issue has also been one of the reasons for the last extension of the Pre-Transitional Period for 100 days.

“The last meeting was the second attempt to get the Parties to resolve this issue. This time it was chaired by the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. David D. Mabuza. All along, SSOA has championed the adoption of the ten (10) States for reasons we have articulated sufficiently before including being the least expensive among the options under consideration.

“Nevertheless, SSOA went to the meeting with an open mind. We urged the Parties to drop their entrenched positions and adopt a scientific way of arriving at a number acceptable to all.

“We suggested that the Parties adopt a set of objective criteria that should be satisfied in a State, such as equity, population size, geographic continuity, economic viability, regional equality, etc.

“This suggestion found good response and indeed the discussion shifted from a stark choice between just two options (10 or 32) to proposing a range of options. Eventually, all the Parties except the government agreed on adopting the previous districts at independence (23) plus Abyei to make 24 States to take us into the Transitional Period pending the Constitution making process that will discuss all matters related to how South Sudan will be governed.

“In view of the government’s insistence on its position, the mediator announced the suspension of the talks to resume after about a week or so. During this period, the mediation will carry out a shuttle diplomacy with the Principals of the Parties to try to reach a consensus on the way forward.”

The statement further appealed to “the government to heed to the consensus that has now emerged in the discussions so that we move quickly to establish a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity in the 77 days that has remained now for the Pre-Transitional Period.”

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