29th September 2020
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Activists suggest 21 districts amidst number of state deadlock

Author: Charles Wote | Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A coalition of civil society groups has suggested 21 colonial districts a “temporary transitional solution” to the disagreement over the number of states.

The number of states and boundaries is one of the contentious issues which led to the extension of pre-transitional period by 100 Days in November.

The incumbent government led by President Salva Kiir wants its 32 states, the main Opposition group – SPLM-IO, 21; while the South Sudan Opposition Alliance insists on a return to the original 10 states.

This week, IGAD has been engaging the peace parties to reach a consensus on the number of States and boundaries in South Sudan, in vain.

“We urge the parties to use the traditional districts of January 1, 1956 in deciding a temporary transitional solution on the issue of the number and boundaries of states,” partly says the South Sudan Civil Society Forum in a statement released on Wednesday.

“Further discussions on the issue of the number and boundaries of states should be carried forward to citizen-led processes, particularly the upcoming constitution making exercise.”

On Tuesday, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs blamed it on a political game and called upon the parties to choose 32 states, which will actually be shared among the parties.

“It does not harm anybody after all and we are going to divide these states among ourselves as parties,” Dr. Martin Elia told Eye Radio on the sidelines of the meeting.

Related content: Dr. Elia spills beans on Kiir’s 32 states

A member of the SSOA, Dr. Lam Akol, told Eye Radio on Wednesday that they expected to be made to either choose a different number of states or abandon their position altogether.

“The parties are discussing to abandon their original positions – whether you are supporting 10 or 32 states – and come to something in-between as a compromise,” Dr Akol said.

“This is what the parties are discussing now and this is why the meeting was extended yesterday [Tuesday] to today.”

A signatory to, and observer of, the September 2018 revitalized peace agreement, the South Sudan Civil Society Forum comprises of over 200 groups, including Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, #Anataban and Voice for Change.

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