South Sudan government rejects IGAD proposal to establish 23 states

Sudan's PM Hamdok chairs a meeting of the IGAD leaders in Addis Ababa on 9 Feb 2020 -IGAD photo)
February 9, 2020 (Thessherald) – South Sudanese government has rejected a compromise proposed by the IGAD special envoys to adopt 23 states as a solution to end the disagreement over the number of states.

The South Sudanese government on Sunday issued a statement saying that the IGAD Council of Ministers on Saturday 8 February adopted a proposal made by the IGAD envoys providing to establish 23 states in the absence of the South Sudanese foreign minister.

The statement which was released late during the night from Addis Ababa where is held the annual summit of the head of states and governments of the African Union further added that the proposal was rejected by the South Sudanese president during a meeting of the IGAD head of states and governments.

“The Government of the Republic of South Sudan objected and argued to maintain its position of 32 States,” said the statement.

“Moreover, the Government proposed that the R-TGON (revitalized transitional government), which will be inclusive of all the signatories, be formed in time and given the responsibility to resolve the outstanding issues including the number and boundaries of the States,” it further said.

Before the issuance of the statement, Information Minister and Government Spokesperson Michael Makuei told the official TV that his government rejects the IGAD’s proposal on the 23 states.

He further said that the SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar instead of standing with his initial proposal of 23 states went further to call for a 10-state territorial administrative system.

“But our position is clear, we are not ready to even change a single state,” he said before to add that this a popular demand, not a government’s decision.

Makuei further said that when they saw Machar backing the 10 states they stopped the discussions.

“We told him that we are no longer ready to continue and the only thing we can do is to suspend the talks and go to inform the people about your position and the position of the government”.

He stressed that the government will accept whatever the people decide.

Accordingly, the information minister announced that they will go back to Juba to inform people and hold a consultation with them before to decide.

Also, he called on Machar to be ready to defend his position before the people of South Sudan.

UN Secretary-General on Saturday made a very strongly worded message to the South Sudanese leaders on Saturday as he called to end quarrelling on the critical issues and to end the suffering of South Sudanese.

“So, I have one with one simple message to the leaders of the country: think about your people. Respect your people”.

The parties have only 13 days before the end of the 100-day extension of the pre-transitional period as they have to form the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) on 22 February 2020.

In a statement on Sunday, the IGAD leaders said they agreed to the request of the President Salva Kiir Mayardit to conduct further consultations with his constituents and report back to the IGAD Chair on 15 February 2020.

The decision was taken after a meeting including, Presidents Salva Kiir, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok of Sudan and Riek Machar SPLM-IO leader.

The South Sudanese government disclosed that IGAD heads of states and governments will meet in Juba “on/or before the 18th February 2020, for a final decision on the number and Boundaries of States”.

The Troika countries on Friday called on the peace parties to make the needed concessions on the sticky issues and stressed that the IGAD and the African Union meetings on South Sudan in Addis might be the last chance to get the process back on track before the deadline

Gov’t informs citizens to be ready for nationwide consultations on states’ issue

Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister of Information and Broadcasting addressing the press after the African Union heads of state and government summit held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

February 10, 2020 (Thessherald)—South Sudan government has requested all citizens to get ready for nationwide consultations on the number of states they would prefer, as the government and the opposition were unable to reach a compromise during a closed-door meeting held on Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Addressing the media following the meeting, the Information Minister, Michael Makuei clarified that their stance on the states’ issue has always been clear that they will never make any concessions on the number of states and that even a single state would not be compromised.

“Our position had ever been clear that we are not ready to change even a single state… we are not ready to remove even a single state from the 32 + Abyei. We’re saying this because this is not a decision of the government, this requires decisions from the people of South Sudan. They’re the ones who will direct their government to act in the way they want, said Makuei.

Makuei further explained that when the opposition leader, Machar decided to change his mind from their usual position on the number of states, by resorting to the 10 states, the matter reached the point of no return.

“And as such when Dr. Riek Machar decided to come back to ten states, he made it even worse than before and we told him in clear words that we’re no longer ready to continue with the talks.”

In that regard, the government decided to suspend talks and requested all citizens to be prepared for nationwide consultations at the grassroots level in order to explore their views on the number of states that will be created in the country.

“The only thing we will do is to suspend the talks and we will go and inform the people of South Sudan about their positions and the position of their government. If the people of South Sudan say, create whatever number you want or if they say ‘accept 10, accept 20, don’t move, keep the 32 [states] increase it or make it 50 or 100 that will be up to them and they are the final authority and the decision-makers” Makuei concluded.