The South Sudanese leader, in a decree issued over the weekend, created seven additional states, raising the number of the states in the young nation to 32.
The order creating new states, which was announced over the state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) on Saturday, saw Eastern Nile states divided into Northern Upper Nile state with Renk as its capital.
Others are Central Upper Nile state with Malakal as capital, Maiwut and Tumbura states. Also split was Latjor into Maiwut state with Maiwut as its capital.
The state comprises of Koma, Longuchuk, and Maiwut counties. It further divided Gbudwe state into Tumbura state with Tumbura as its capital. It comprises of Tumbura and Nagero counties.
However, in their statement, the SPLM/SPLA (IO) called on the people of South Sudan to be vigilant as President Kiir is “only trying to kill federalism by giving the impression that he is for federalism”.
“The regime in Juba has failed over ten (10) years to take towns to people within the context of ten (10) states and have failed more miserably within the context of the contentious and divisive 28 States, it logically follows that the addition of seven (7) new states is not the solution,” further reads the statement signed by Mabior Garang.
It added, “This establishment of weak states, without the participation of the civil population in demarcation of local borders and the appointment of their leaders by decree is not federalism, but centralization of the state in disguise and is reminiscent of Nimeri politics in the old Sudan, it can only lead to more border disputes at the county and payam levels”.
According to the armed opposition faction, the ‘system of governance debate’ in South Sudan should be held within the context of a constitutional making process and guaranteed in a political settlement that would first bring an to end the current civil war.
The SPLM/SPLA (IO) says it has been advocating for and are committed to dialogue as the only way to resolve the internal contradictions of South Sudan and would continue to be committed to finding a peaceful resolution to the civil war in the young nation.
“The SPLM/SPLA (IO) has demonstrated this commitment on several occasions, including going to Juba under regional pressure, despite security provisions of the ARCISS being circumvented by the guarantors,” further noted the armed opposition faction’s statement.