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.

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    Comment Sorting
    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.

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