Tag Archives: South Sudan states

South Sudan – President Kiir set to establish more states

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, will soon issue another controversial order to increase the number of states from 28 states to undisclosed number, according to his second deputy and longtime ally.

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South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, delivers a speech in the capital, Juba, on 10 June 2013 (Reuters)

Speaking after Tuesday’s meeting, Vice President, James Wani Igga, flanked by the controversially newly appointed First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai, said the presidency has agreed to increase the number of states but will soon start with the issue of Malakal and Lol state as the first priority.

Malakal, is a contested capital between West Nile and East Nile states, but which was given to the East Nile by the presidential decree in October last year. Lol is another controversial state in Bahr el Ghazal region.

The two places, according to the Vice President in a statement broadcast by the state owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC), are where communities have protested either splits, asserting the order had divided their communities or have been annexed to communities with whom they share nothing in common in that they would prefer to remain alone.

“We have resolved and agreed to increase the number of states but the first thing is the issue of Raja and Malakal. A committee has been formed under the First Vice President and this committee will have to complete their work and report back to the President within seven days,” revealed Vice President, Igga.

He did not say how many more states will be added to the already controversial 28 states.

The two issues the presidency had discussed and resolved, he further added, were the reinstatement of the civil servants who either abandoned their positions or rebelled, either in Juba or in the states, when the conflict erupted in 2013.

The other issue was the issue of cantonment sites for the opposition forces of the SPLA-IO. Two cantonment sites, he said, will be in central Equatoria, one in Eastern Equatoria and another in Western Equatoria.


South Sudan – donorsa want government to scrap 28 states and revert to old structure

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudanese presidency has revealed that donors want the controversial 28 states revoked as a precondition in order to release money to assist in recovering the deteriorating economic situation in South Sudan.

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South Sudan’s presidential spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny (AFP)

They also want finance minister, David Deng Athorbei, and governor of the Bank of South Sudan, Kornelio Koryom Mayik, fired among the conditions they have put forth to the transitional government of national unity (TGoNU).

This latest development was revealed to the press by the spokesperson of President Salva Kiir, Ateny Wek Ateny, on Monday.

Speaking in an interview to a local radio station in Juba on Monday, Ateny claimed major donors for South Sudan have asked for dismissal of finance minister Athorbei and Central Bank governor Mayiik in a confidential letter they have jointly sent to the government.

Ateny in response accused the donors of interference in “matters of sovereignty”, calling on them to simply help save the country from economic collapse without any conditions.

“The matters of changing the minister of finance or the governor of central bank are matters of sovereignty of a given country,” said Ateny, speaking to Eye Radio during an interview broadcasted on Monday.

He also alleged that the United States, Norway and Britain – collectively the TROIKA for South Sudan – also asked the government to revoke the controversial 28 states which President Kiir unilaterally decreed into being despite the August 2015 peace deal based on the current constitutionally recognized 10 states.

He added that donors said they will not release money to South Sudan until the conditions are met.

Sudan Tribune has not been able to get the said confidential letter and Troika sources have declined to comment on the story.

Ateny insisted that the letter was delivered to the presidency but he cautioned donors against meddling in internal political affairs.

“They [decisions of governance] are not imposed by a foreign power simply because they would support or they would be giving money here or there,” he said.

He further challenged that the number of states should be left to South Sudanese, saying “it is not also good for any foreign intervention on this simply because it is the people of South Sudan who are well placed to decide whether they want more states or they wanted less state.”

“My appeal to TROIKA is to stop those conditions and support South Sudan unconditionally,” Ateny said.

But donors said besides being a violation of the peace agreement signed last year by the warring parties in South Sudan, it also did not make sense to increase the number of states from 10 to 28 when the government did not even have money to operate the 10 states.

Civil servants in the national capital, Juba, and in other parts of the country are on strike due to non-payment for three months and soldiers have not been paid as food commodities continue to rise and citizens continue to suffer.

Minister of information, Michael Makuei Lueth, last week came out openly saying the government had no money to pay the civil servants for the months of arrears, calling on them to remain patient.

With the revelation from the donors not to release money unless the government put its house in order, economic situation in South Sudan is expected to further deteriorate.


South Sudan – parliament amendsconstitution but delays creating new states 

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudanese parliament has amended the current transitional constitution, 2011, giving president Salva Kiir powers to create more states, appoint governors but delay the order establishing 28 states.

South Sudanese MPs stand during a parliamentary session in Juba on 31 August 2011 (AFP)

In a heated debate where opposition lawmakers marched out in protest, three dozen others from Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria states demanded total rejection of the amendments.

The amendment aims to relax the number of states per the constitution as well as allow the president to appoint governors.

Article 162 (1) which fixed the number of states to ten was amended so that “the President may for the purpose of efficient discharge of functions of the government, divide the territory of the Republic of South Sudan into states and other areas in accordance with procedures prescribed by law or provisions of such law as may be enacted by the concerned House of Legislature.”

This is a back-off from the amendment bill tabled in parliament by justice minister last month that sought to insert 28 states instead of ten in the constitution.

Article 164 (1) which defined the current states legislative assemblies, the manner of their composition, was amended to add that other members will be appointed by the president during interim period.

Article 165 which said governors will be elected is amended to say that “may be nominated by the president” in consultations with residents of each state during the interim period.

The creation of more states is now left for members of the council of states, which may decide how many states should be created.

The opposition faction (SPLM-IO) led by former vice president, Riek Machar, said both the order by the president to unilaterally create 28 states and the action by the legislator to endorse them are violations of the peace agreement signed in August by the warring parties on the basis of the current 10 states.

They argued that the future national legislature for transitional government of national unity which membership will include members of the opposition factions will be the body to amend the constitution in accordance with the peace deal.


The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, in its recently released report, said the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan gives the presidency too much power amidst weak institutions and a gap between the judiciary, legislature and the executive. As such, the 318-page report observed, the president’s power to remove some state officials, often without proper controls, was one causes of the instability.

“The Commission recommends that the future Constitution should establish a well-balanced system of separation of powers with adequate checks and balances,” it said.

This, the report noted, should be achieved through empowering and strengthening the capacity of the legislatures at both levels of government; subjecting major executive appointments to legislative approval; strengthening the judiciary (ensuring structural and financial independence from the political branches) and adherence to separation of powers, cultivating a culture of respect for judicial independence and rule of law.

The commission of inquiry has, however, recommended that the appointment and removal of the country’s vice president be subjected to the approval of the legislature.


South Sudan

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – The leader of South Sudan’s new rebel group said his forces would lay down weapons and accept negotiations if president Salva Kiir and his government cancelled the establishment order expanding the current 10 states to 28, despite signing a peace deal to end over 20 months of conflict with the armed opposition.

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Rebel fighters protect civilians from the Nuer ethnic group (not seen) walk through flooded areas to reach a camp in UNMISS base in Bentiu, Sept. 20, 2014 (Photo AP/Matthew Abbott)

“The desire of the people of South Sudan is peace but the desire of the president and his group is totally different. They are preaching war instead of peace and their actions speak much about their intentions. He [ Kiir] has the lost control over the current situation,” General Yoanes Okij said Sunday.

“This certainly will be a wake-up call for the international community and the region which mediated the settlement of the conflict. Conflicts like this are not going to be localised; it’s not going to be in Chollo land alone. It will be extended because the people of South Sudan were not consulted”, he added.

The rebel leader told Sudan Tribune some of their demands were for the South Sudanese leader and his government to cancel the establishment order and form a border demarcation committee to delineate community boundaries.

“The agreement is very clear. It spells out clear what should be done and when. The agreement does not talk about creation of more states. It talks about implementation which should now be the priority but Salva Kiir and his group of the Dinka council of elders are derailing and frustrating the implementation. For them they want the country to continue to be at war even though they know war is a fatal project. Nobody likes it,” said Okij

The oppressed have always gone for it as a last resort. It is never a pleasurable choice but only when other ideal means is exhausted”, further explained the rebel leader.

Okij said the South Sudanese leader and his government must implement the agreement, cancel the establishment order and form community border demarcation committee in accordance with the 1956 boundaries with neighbouring Sudan from which South Sudan seceded in July 2011, if they were to lay down their weapons.

A group calling itself Tiger Faction New Forces (TFNF) announced in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune last Friday that they had decided to take up arms to fight the government of President Kiir until he reverses the order on creating 28 new states.

“The un-constitutional Presidential Order decree by Kiir has left us with no choice but to wage a protracted armed struggle against his government and the corrupt clique in Juba,” said the TFNF’s Okij who identified himself as the rebel’s commander in chief.

He vowed to fight the government in Juba until President Kiir revoked decree 36/2015.

The group, which is predominantly composed of ethnic Shilluk members, charged that the order was a desperate attempt to derail and frustrate the implementation of the peace agreement reached last August.

The statement said the new territorial administrative division was a “flagrant violation” of the constitution particularly articles 55 (3), 59 (a), 86 (1) 85 (2) and 86 (5), 162 (1), (2), (3) and 101 (f).

The new rebel group accused President Kiir of allegedly attempting to give the Chollo (Shilluk) land to the Dinka, threatening the national security of South Sudan, further warning that the order opened the door for conflict and Balkanization of the country.

“The establishment order adversely affected the tribal territorial boundaries of people of South Sudan including, the Chollo Kingdom. One of its ramifications is the division of Chollo kingdom into two parts with some in one state west of the Nile and others east of the Nile. The overall objective of such division is to ensure tribal domination of others tribes including Chollo in the newly established Dinka’s states,” noted the statement.

The new rebellion, if confirmed, may threaten the ongoing efforts to implement the security arrangements specially in the South Sudan’s oil-rich Upper Nile state.

In July this year, another Shilluk group commanded by Major General Johnson Olony, merged with the SPLM-IO opting for a national agenda instead of tribal claims.


South Sudan rebel Oloni’ threatens to take up arms again


South Sudanese man whose home was burned by soldiers and militiamen.AP Many South Sudanese have known little but war and some, like this man, have lost their homes

A major rebel leader in South Sudan has told the BBC he may have to take up arms again, despite the signing of a peace agreement six weeks ago.

Gen Johnson Oloni said the government was undermining the deal with attacks on civilians and a plan to re-draw state boundaries in the country.

Tens of thousands of people have died and millions have been displaced since the civil war began in 2013.

South Sudan gained independence from neighbouring Sudan four years ago.

‘Naked power-grab’

Gen Oloni told the BBC the peace deal was unlikely to work.

He said he was incensed at what he saw as the wrongful occupation of his tribe’s land by government forces.

He also said he was angered by a plan – announced earlier this month by President Salva Kiir – to turn South Sudan’s 10 states into 28.

Gen Oloni portrayed the move as a naked power-grab, the BBC’s Tim Franks reports.

The rebel leader said land appropriations had pushed his tribe to use force in the past and they could do so again.

Many people in the world’s youngest country appear weary and traumatised by the war, but few are confident of peace, our correspondent says.

South Sudan’s elusive peace:

  • At least seven ceasefires agreed and broken since conflict started in December 2013
  • Nearly one in five South Sudanese displaced by the current conflict, from a total population of 12 million
  • Former rebel leader Salva Kiir became president of South Sudan, the world’s newest state, when it gained independence in 2011
  • South Sudan has been at war for 42 of past 60 years

Five obstacles to peace in South Sudan

The conflict erupted in December 2013 after Mr Kiir accused Riek Machar, his sacked deputy, of plotting a coup.

Mr Machar denied the allegation, but then formed a rebel army.

Much of the fighting has been carried out along ethnic lines, between Mr Machar’s Nuer group and Mr Kiir’s Dinka, the two dominant ethnic groups in South Sudan.

South Sudan – Kiir unilaterally splits 10 states into 28

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has unilaterally decreed expansion of the current 10 states to 28 federal states in the country in an unexpected move announced on South Sudan Television (SSTV) Friday evening, prompting reaction from the armed opposition leader, Riek Machar, that the unilateral move was a serious violation of the peace agreement.

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South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (seated) signs a peace agreement in Juba, August 26, 2015. (Photo Reuters/Jok Solomu)

President Kiir, in order read on SSTVat 8:20pm, criticized his current governance system which he said has been holding the people’s power in the center in Juba, saying there was need to adopt a federal system of governance in the country, surprisingly in line with the demand of Machar’s rebel movement which the government had been rejecting at the peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for nearly two years.

“Over the last ten years, the power which was given to you by the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement] has remained in the center,” said Kiir, referring to the peace deal signed on 9 January 2005 with Sudan by then SPLM rebels to end 21-year long civil between north and south of the former Sudan.

The CPA granted South Sudanese a referendum on self-determination which resulted to overwhelming vote for secession from Sudan in 2011. He said his rationale for delaying creation of more states in devolution of powers to the people was because he was allegedly busy preparing for referendum from 2005 to 2011.

“My administration in the center was busy with issues to do with your self-determination such that you become free and sovereign state. Now, indeed you are free, therefore, there is no reason for me to retain your constitutional right for self-governance, self-reliance, self-development and determine your through free, fair and democratic elections in three years to come,” he claimed.

He went on to say that the creation of 28 states, which shall come into effect within 30 days, will provide an opportunity to “develop your locality, your home villages through mobilization of local and states resources.”

“We should therefore abandon culture of war and embrace culture of peace, co-existence and hard work such [that] you and I together develop our country because our country is a country of opportunities,” he said.

The order number 36/2015 AD for creation of new states of South Sudan said the president will now have the chance to nominate more state governors and additional members of the state assembly in his newly created states.

The sitting state members of parliament (MPs) will be maintained at 21 members in each state and there will be no more than 21 lawmakers.

The president acknowledged that his administration has been facing economic declines, surging unemployment as a consequence of the war which erupted on 15 December 2013.

It is not clear where more resources will be mobilized to fund the development of the states as the creation of 18 more states has become as a surprise to the nation and the international community.

In the breakdown of the states, Kiir created 8 states for greater Equatoria which included Imatong, Namurnyang, Maridi, Budi, Amadi, Jubek, Terekeka and Yei river.

For greater Bahr el Ghazal he decreed into being 10 states namely, Wau, Aweil, Ngor, Aweil East, Twic, Gogrial, Tonj, Eastern Lakes, Western Lakes and Gok.

In greater Upper Nile he also decreed 10 states to include Leer, Northern Guit, Ruweng, Eastern Nile, Jonglei, Western Nile, Eastern Bie, Lajor, Buma and Western Bie.

Kiir also acknowledged that the new states will create difficulties or conflicts in determining their respective boundaries, but added there shall be state border disputes committee to address issues that may arise.


The leader of the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), Riek Machar, in response to the abrupt unilateral change, said the move by president Kiir was a violation of the peace agreement he signed with him on 17 and 26 August, respectively.

Machar questioned the rationale behind the initial rejection by president Kiir of his demand to adopt federal system of governance which initially sought to create 21 states based on colonial districts which had clear boundaries so that the expansion of the states should have been incorporated into the peace agreement and in the constitution of the country.

He said although creation of more states based on federal system of governance has been a popular demand of the people of South Sudan since 1947, the unilateral way has been decreed by president Kiir after the peace agreement is a violation of the peace deal.

“The creation of more states in the Republic of South Sudan is the cornerstone of the vision of the SPLM/SPLA in the process to realizing a “Democratic Federal State” in South Sudan. The SPLM/SPLA, before the Peace Agreement, established 21federal states based on the former “British Colonial Districts.” The twenty one (21) colonial districts have clear delineated borders that were demarcated before 1st January 1956,” Machar said in a statement released on Friday in response to the order.

“The Presidential Decree issued unilaterally today, Oct 2nd 2015, by President Salva Kiir Mayardit creating 28 states in the Republic of South Sudan is a clear violation of the Peace Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan signed on 17th and 26th August 2015 by myself and President Kiir respectively. The peace agreement is based on 10 States,” he said.

President Kiir and his government had been rejecting the rebels proposed adoption of federal system of governance and creation of 21 states in the peace talks, dragging the talks for nearly two years. Government’s argument has been that South Sudan is not yet ready for federalism or more states, but the abrupt change of mind has come as a surprise.

Due to the disagreement between the government and the rebels at the negotiations table, the peace agreement was therefore based on the current 10 states until a permanent constitution making provides for creation of more states. The current transitional constitution also says South Sudan is composed of 10 states.

The agreement also gives the rebels 40% of power sharing in the two oil-producing Unity and Upper Nile states as well as Jonglei state, which president Kiir has now split into 10 states. It is not clear whether the governors of the new states coming out from Unity and Upper Nile will be nominated by Machar’s group.

The agreement also restricts national cabinet to 30 ministries with some having deputies and that no new ministerial positions should be created in the 30-month of the transitional government of national unity which will be formed in December.

Machar said the sudden unilateral move by president Kiir was a clear message to the world that he is not committed to the peace agreement and can violate it at any time of his choosing.

“In the light of the action of President Kiir, we call upon the IGAD Plus and the international community to take a position,” he concluded.

Analysts say the abrupt change of mind by president Kiir was to try to score a number of things: to claim credit for creation of more federal states, thus federalism, dismantle the oil-producing states given to the opposition by the peace agreement and set Machar against the people in case he opposes the creation of the new states.

Creating more states without historical known boundaries, they say, will likely create further crisis in the determination of new boundaries from the scratch as majority of them will not be based on of the colonial 1956 boundaries.