December 31, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, has called on his supporters to defend the creation of 28 states in response to criticisms that the move was a violation of the peace agreement he signed in August with the armed opposition leader, Riek Machar, to end 21 months of civil war in the country.
“Everyone has to respect the will of the people. The creation of the  states and the appointment of the governors were in fulfilment of the desire of the people, and if there are people rejecting it, the people who have called for [it] must ask them to provide answers to why they are against what the people want,” president Kiir told a group of politicians on Thursday at his residence in Juba.
He said the peace agreement was imposed on the country and therefore he had the right to alter it in order to accommodate views from the people in the war-ravaged region.
“Now there are people saying this is a violation of peace agreement. They have forgotten that the agreement they are talking about [is] an imposed agreement, which was not accepted by the people and for us to accommodate these views and make lasting peace, we took into accounts the views of the people the same way we did for the agreement,” he said.
President Kiir who declined to address a public rally on Thursday made his most confrontational comments barely two days after presiding over the swearing in ceremony of 28 state governments he created in October amid mounting political crisis.
He urged the people to defend the 28 states and stand with the leadership of the country in case others reject the move, which he argued was made by a “sovereign” nation which should make decision on its own.
“And in case they reject, the people will have to defend what they wanted and the country and every South Sudanese will have to stand up and defend your will. The sovereignty of the country cannot be compromised. It will have to be protected and because of this fact people will have to respond,” he said.
The comments by the president, observers say, raised concerns about the direction the implementation of the peace agreement will take.
The opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) said president Kiir violated the peace deal which is based on the constitutionally recognized 10 states and therefore his action was a clear violation of the agreement he signed.
The 28 governors were appointed only four days after the arrival to Juba of the first advance team of 150 from the SPLM-IO led by their chief negotiator, Taban Deng Gai.