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Citizens dispute gov’t’s tool to end number of states dispute

Author : Jale Richard | Published: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Some members of the public have rejected the government’s suggestion that the disagreement over the number of states and their boundaries will be addressed through a referendum.

Last week, parties to the agreement discussed the report of the Independent Boundaries Committee, but failed to reach an agreement on the issue.

On Friday, the government said referendum was the only way to break a deadlock over the number of states and their boundaries.
But some members of the public argue that, when the government created more states, it did not consult the citizens. The states were created through a presidential decree.

They call on the parties to the agreement to end what they describe as a “political game” over the number and boundaries of states.

“The politicians are playing games because when they seem to be reaching a consensus, they begin to complicate everything,” James (not real names) said on Eye Radio’s Dawn show on Tuesday.

He added: “When they started dialogue about number of states, they were almost reaching a consensus, but then they came up with the issue of referendum. What is it? And the 100 days are now running out. Let them go with the ten states and leave all these nonsense. States are not delivering services to the people.”

Another discontented citizen, Lual (not real name), stressed that what South Sudanese need is peace, not referendum because most of them have been displaced.

“When they made 32 states, was it through a referendum? Lual asked.

The ten states were adopted by the CPA and enshrined in the 2005 and 2011 Transitional Constitutions.

The 2015 Peace Agreement, which later collapsed, had maintained the ten states, but President Kiir later created the 28 and 32 states through decrees.

The creation of more states in 2015 by the incumbent government was meant to counter SPLM-IO’s 21 states, which it based on the colonial districts of the then Southern Sudan region.

Some prominent leaders, notably Dr. Majak Agoot has advised against a referendum, saying it is “dishonest and disingenuous” since millions of people have been uprooted from their homes, mostly in the Equatoria and Upper Nile regions.

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