S. Sudan Cabinet Approves 28 State Plan
South Sudan’s cabinet has approved controversial plans to turn the country into 28 states, from the existing 10.
The council of ministers approved the proposal in a meeting, chaired by President Salva Kiir, on Tuesday. The plans will now go before parliament with a view to amend the nation’s constitution.
President Kiir’s announcement that he would push for 28 states was met with criticism, both from opposition parties in South Sudan and international voices. Opposition members claim the move would be unconstitutional and some suggest it is little more than an effort to solidify his power in the country.
Last week Troika nations and the East African regional bloc (IGAD) called on the South Sudanese President to reconsider his plans for creating the new states. Armed opposition groups have claimed the plans are in direct violation of a peace agreement, which was only signed in August, and further political unrest in the country is a genuine concern.
Kiir to push ahead
President Kiir insists his decision is in the interest of South Sudanese people. He claims populations in rural parts of the country will benefit from a decentralised government, with resources placed closer to them, on a more local level.
Members of the cabinet echoed these claims on Tuesday and the country’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, confirmed a formal decree will soon be tabled before lawmakers.
“The council of ministers applauded the decision of the president and directed the minister of justice to table an amendment bill before parliament,” he said. “The amendment bill will be presented to parliament as soon as possible.”