February 5, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudanese government led by President Salva Kiir has continued to implement the operationalization of the controversial 28 states in the country despite a resolution from the East African regional bloc, IGAD, which calls on the world’s youngest nation to suspend it.
On Thursday, a number of state governors who were recently unilaterally appointed to some of the 28 states appointed their deputy governors and state cabinet ministers read out on the state-run South Sudan Television (SSTV) in what opposition factions and observers said was a clear defiance of the IGAD communiqué.
This continued operationalization of the 28 states came just a day after the Council of Ministers met on Wednesday in Juba chaired by President Kiir in which the information minister Michael Makuei Lueth denied that IGAD asked the government to revoke the 28 states.
Lueth could not however explain the meaning of “suspension” of the 28 states operationalization until a consensus is reached by all parties through an inclusive boundary body to review the states and their boundaries and come up with an agreement on creation of new states or else revert to the 10 states.
“This continued implementation of the 28 states is a setback to the recent understanding drawn from the IGAD communiqué. It is a clear defiance of the IGAD communiqué and may take the peace process backward,” a senior official of the SPLM-IO who preferred anonymity told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.
“This attitude by the government is a clear lack of commitment to peace,” he said.
IGAD did not ask the government to revoke the decree creating the 28 states, but said its operationalization should be suspended until the parties form a boundary commission and work out the number of states to be created within a month.
Failure to reach a consensus among the peace parties, IGAD said, the parties should revert to the provision of the peace agreement which has provided for 10 states.