News / Africa

    South Sudan Rebels Urge President to Rescind New States Decree

    FILE - South Sudan's President Salva Kiir addresses a news conference at the Presidential palace in Juba.
    FILE - South Sudan's President Salva Kiir addresses a news conference at the Presidential palace in Juba.
    James Butty

    An official with South Sudan’s rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar said South Sudan President Salva Kiir’s decree creating 28 new states violates the spirit of the August peace accord. 

    In his Christmas Eve decree, Kiir also appointed 28 new governors, all of them loyal to him.

    The president’s announcement came as rebel advance teams are in Juba to work with their government counterparts on modalities for the joint implementation of the August peace agreement.  

    Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth is the secretary for foreign affairs of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition.  He said the rebels are urging President Kiir to rescind his Christmas Eve decree.

    “Our position has been very clear. We have an agreement signed on the 17th and 26th of August 2015, and the agreement clearly states that there will be only 10 states in South Sudan for the next three years. So creating 28 states is basically not in line with the agreement that we have signed. So we are basically stating clearly that President Salva should stick to the implementation of the agreement which says 10 states for the next three years,” he said.

    August agreement

    Gatkuoth said in addition to 10 states, the August agreement calls for the formation of a government of national unity, reconstituting the parliament and restructuring South Sudan government institutions.   

    “So if you are going to operate outside the agreement, definitely you are violating it. We are calling the government and the president of Republic of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit to implement the agreement. Two, to reverse the decision he has taken,” Gatkuoth said.

    Gatkuoth said the rebels believe in federalism and do not reject the creation of new states per se, but they are rejecting the creation of more states when it is in conflict with the August agreement.

    “More states can be created as long as the boundaries are delineated and clearly we know that those boundaries reflect the British colonial districts of 1966, the districts that were created when the British handed over Sudan into the new republic,” Gatkuoth said.

    Constitutional concerns

    But South Sudan Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said President Kiir’s decree creating 28 new states is within the bounds of the country’s constitution. 

    Benjamin said all South Sudanese are on the path to peace.  He said rebel foreign affairs secretary Ezekiel Gatkuoth should stop preaching war and join the peace "bandwagon" instead.

    “I think Ezekiel is behind time. We are talking that peace has come and that we are going to implement the agreement. If there are any issues that he thinks are being violated, let him come and we will discuss them internally here. President Salva Kiir cannot do something which is not in line with our transitional constitution,” he said.

    He asked how the rebels could criticize President Kiir when they themselves had announced in exile the creation of 21 new states and named governors - decisions they have yet to rescind.

    “I think Ezekiel should behave like an ambassador. The issue reconciling our people, bring them together and then bringing peace and stability under the umbrella of peace, solidarity and brotherhood,” Benjamin said.

    Benjamin said South Sudan, a country of about 12 million people, cannot be held hostage.

    “The government will continue to do the things that are entrusted through the transitional constitution of this country. The country with parliament, a country with government, a country with judiciary cannot put everything on hold because somebody called Ezekiel is outside the country,” he said.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Pajang Tut
    December 30, 2015 5:21 PM
    How can you be wrong and in violation of peace if you killed thousands of innocent Nuer and still the region that mediated the said peace let you maintain the Presidency you once used to commit crimes against the citizens of this country. With Marial Benjamin, this coward could not be expected to be indifference with his criminal boss. Mind you, there is nothing called contradiction in South Sudan government officials since their checkers (Dinka council of elders) will send them to hell should they dare opposing their program of land taking for other communities.

    by: Johnjal Wuor
    December 29, 2015 12:54 PM
    President kiir has again declared war against the people, his intention on 28 States will caused a dilemma in South Sudan, on land disputes dimension.
    Hence, the international community should immediately advice Salva Kiir, to reserve his intended deliberate action otherwise.

    by: David Gatkek Tap
    December 29, 2015 3:48 AM
    The creation of 28 states is clear violation of August Agreement signed on 17 and 28 respectively. Hence, such random move is deplorable and national disaster. It may leads to worst sectarian violences and bondaries conflicts between good neighbors . The Dinka led Goverment want to isolated their say opponents tribes and forcefully annexed their land without their consents. The cross bred named Dr Marial should stop campaign and domestic or international lobbying against Nuer . He is very sellout Dinka _ Nuer mongrel. He is warking hard to eliminated Nuer tribe and annex their ancestors'land to his uncles the Dinka ethnic group. What a treacherous acts?

    by: robanson
    December 29, 2015 1:27 AM
    i think the government and the president are not ready to implement that peace agreement .is very clear

    by: James Gatluak wur
    December 28, 2015 6:32 AM
    I think the chance for peace to prevail is too narrow if president Salva Kiir and his group claims their actions to be right. They are not sincerely to put their words into action, they are now blindfolding the world leaders and South Sudanese people for what they have already dishonor.
    In Response

    by: Kual james
    December 28, 2015 3:28 PM
    YOU thinking what happened to South Sudan political issues due to Dr Machar who absolutely blind fool his own community wrong War as well as due to his ideologues.

    by: Anonymous
    December 28, 2015 2:49 AM
    Can you say 'corruption on the grandest scale imaginable?'. I'll give this miscreant about three months before local investigative journalists are found dead in alley's. I'll give six months before he's barricaded in a burning statehouse cut off and surrounded by rebellious palace guards and a few young army Colonel's. Whatever the hell is wrong with South Sudan, this audacious smelly gangster isn't the remedy. Remember folks; you read it here first.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora