25th February 2020
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Citizens express mixed reactions over number of states

Author: Jale Richard | Published: 2 weeks ago

Some members of the public have expressed mixed reactions over continuous failures by peace parties to reach an agreement on the number and boundaries of the states.

This comes after talks between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar aimed at resolving the contentious issue ended without a deal in Addis Ababa at the weekend.

Regional leaders are pressuring the two principals to resolve their differences and form the long awaited coalition government by the 22 February deadline.

Under the terms of the 2018 peace deal, South Sudan leaders are to form a unified army and agree on the number of states and their boundaries before establishing a unity government.

On Saturday, the IGAD Council of Ministers endorsed a proposal for 23 states plus Abyei or revert to 10 states as part of bridging the gap between government and opposition groups on the contentious issue.

But at the Summit of the IGAD Heads of State and Government, South Sudan’s government rejected the proposal, maintaining its position of 32 States, and arguing that the outstanding issues would be resolved after establishment of the unity government later this month.

After the parties hit a deadlock, consultations continued with a meeting on Sunday between President Salva Kiir, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, the SPLM/A-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar, and the IGAD Executive Secretary – Dr. Workeneh Gebeyu.

The closed-door meeting ended with mediators and peace guarantors unveiling a new proposal calling for a return to the original 10 states.

Reacting to this, some members of the public criticized the IGAD proposal, while others welcomed it.

“I stand with our government on their decision to reject to reduce the number of states, because removing some states will complicate things,” said Deng Philip.

President Kiir reportedly asked for more time to consult with his group in Juba.

“First thing I would like to tell the government is that that those who have power are the ones who compromise for their people. The government was meant to compromise because the 32 states brought problems,” said Eye Radio listener.

“What is happening in Rumbek now is part of the problems that the 32 states caused. The government should go back to ten states just like they found it.”

Meanwhile, the IGAD Heads of State will meet in Juba next week for a final decision on the number and boundaries of states.

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