South Sudan leaders reach key deal on control of states : International de Ghana
Riek Machar, left, and Salva Kiir [File: Sam Mednick/AP Photo]
South Sudan’s president and his former rival have reached a deal on the selection of governors for the country’s 10 states, an issue seen as the biggest threat to peace since a transitional unity government was formed in February.
President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, a former rebel leader and now vice president, had been at odds over the allocation of states, especially those producing oil, the country’s main earner.
International pressure had been growing, with the United States, the United Kingdom and Norway in a joint statement this month saying “any further delay creates uncertainty that undermines the [political] transition process”.
On Wednesday, a statement by the Minister of Presidential Affairs Nhial Deng Nhial said Kiir’s camp will nominate governors for six states, including the oil-rich Unity State and Central Equatoria, which includes the capital Juba.
Machar’s camp will propose governors for three states, including the largest oil-producing area, the Upper Nile state, while a third signatory to the peace deal, the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, will nominate a governor for Jonglei state.”With this development, a fresh impetus has been given for the process for the implementation of the agreement,” said Nhial.
“We are very hopeful that with this development, the road is now paved to further positive developments that we hope will be carried out expeditiously.”
The number of states is contentious because the borders will determine the divisions of power in the country.
When it gained independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan had 10 states, as set out in its constitution. Kiir increased that in 2015 to 28, then 32 – and has now reduced them to 10, plus three administrative areas.
The composition of the executive and the legislature in the states “shall be discussed and agreed at a later date”, the statement said.