February 15, 2020
By Sudan Tribune
JUBA – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has called for a second meeting on Saturday with the government, army and his party leading members as a first meeting where his supporters voiced their support to maintain the 32 states.
Last Sunday, President Kiir asked the IGAD leaders to give him six days to hold consultations with his constituents before to give them his final word on a compromise they proposed to re-establish the 10 state system during the transitional period.
In a first meeting held with the lawmakers many of them appointed since 2011, appointed governors, religious leaders and dignitaries as well as government members, the participants backed the government position and called to maintain the 32 states.
“We are supporting the 32 states,” chanted the participants after a question posed by information the information minister Michael who asked are you for maintaining the 32 states or want to reduce their number?
And then he called on the crowd to sit down as they continued to chant their support for the 32 states.
The signatories to the revitalized peace agreement declined to attend the meeting, saying that their position is known and that Kiir requested the IGAD to consult his constituents
Last Sunday, Makuei rejected the IGAD proposal of the 10 states and stressed that his government will not accept it
“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.
The South Sudanese information minister is under UN and U.S. sanctions imposed in 2015 for obstructing the formation of the first Transitional Government of National Unity.
On Friday, the South Sudanese presidency called for a second meeting to be attended by all the government officials and the SPLM political bureau members and other political leaders allied to the ruling party as well as army generals.
The media also was invited to attend the event giving the impression that Kiir will announce his position on the IGAD compromised proposal.
For their part, civil society groups called to opt for the 10 states, backing the IGAD proposal.
The South Sudan Civil Society Forum called to revert to ten states as a transitional solution to the deadlock on the number of states saying it “is in line with the number of states as per the provisions contained in the transitional constitution (of 2011)”.
Also, the South Sudanese Community Initiatives Centre released a similar statement enumerating the benefits of the 10 states and stressed it is less expensive and promotes peaceful coexistence.
With the 10 state system “land-related conflicts were minimal and manageable,” stressed the statement.