South Sudan: Mediator proposes delay on number of states and boundaries

Thursday January 16 2020

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. He increased the number of states from 10 to 32. FILE PHOTO | AFP

By Garang Malak

South Africa's deputy president has proposed an arbitrated solution of the contentious subject of the number of states and boundaries.

Speaking to reporters in Juba after meeting President Salva Kiir on Thursday afternoon, David Mabuza said the proposal regarding to the number of state and boundaries be discussed over an extended period of 90 days more.

“On the resolution on number of states, the parties have different views but we still need to round up that view. We have presented the view to  president Kiir, we have presented the view to Dr Riek Machar and will present it to all parties. The view is we are going to form R-TGoNU but we are going to subject the question of the number of states to an arbitration, a mechanism that is going to take 90 days. The 90 days will go into the government of national unity,” said Mabuza

For his part, Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Elia Lomuro confirmed government’s readiness and acceptance of the proposal.

“Keep your ears and eyes open when the proposal that has been accepted by the government will be presented to other parties. We hope that the other partners will accept the proposal which has been accepted by the government” said Lomuro.

The opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition led by Dr Machar, however, had presented a proposal to the session asking that a group of African representatives in the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) commonly known as C5 and donors be tasked to determine the number of states.


“The Committee (of C5 and donors called Troika; Norway, UK and US) shall make use of the data and the vast knowledge generated by the IBC, TBC (Technical Boundaries Committee), positions of the parties”, as well as minutes of the Igad-led meetings...” to work out the formula.

An earlier consultative meeting by regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development chaired by Mr Mabuza last December to finalise the issue of the states and boundaries ended in vain due to political parties’ different interests.

Juba maintained its position that any decision to increase or decrease the number of states from the current 32 risked causing instability.

The SPLM-IO blamed the government for blocking several proposals presented by Igad during the meeting, terming the government’s decision as void.

SPLM-IO, who had earlier proposed 21 federal states, tabled a reversal to the original 10 (colonial era) states, while the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOP) led by Dr Lam Akol tabled 23 states.