S. Sudan’s President Kiir Accused of Violating Constitution Over 28 States

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir has been accused of violating the constitution after dividing the country into 28 states.

Kiir’s announcement last Friday will see the nation split from 10 states into 28, but opposition leader Reik Machar has condemned the deal as unconstitutional – and a violation of the peace deal they recently signed.

 

Decentralising South Sudan

President Kiir insists the decision was guided by the nation’s Transitional Constitution – a move that is designed to decentralise power in the war-torn country and place resources closer to the rural population.

“Decentralisation in our big country is welcome because it will lead to authorities bringing services closer to the people,” said veteran politician, Ambrose Lukudu. “In most cases it is not easy for those living far from the capital to get in touch with leadership, and this will be solved by creating more states.”

 

Question marks over 28 states

Critics claim President Kiir has no authority to create additional states, while the ten existing constitutions will be nullified under the new decentralised structure. New constitutions will be drafted for each state, however, it has been revealed that no guidelines exist on how to draft constitutions.

Meanwhile, MPs for each of the 28 states will be selected by the president, raising fears that Kiir is attempting to strengthen his grip on the nation’s government. Opposition leader Machar has called upon the Intergovernmental Authority in Development (IGAD) to intervene and stop the action, while other opposition figures have also condemned the move.

“What he has done is not in the spirit of building peace. It is a violation of the agreement we signed,” said secretary of foriegn affairs of the People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), Ezekial Lol Gatkouth. “According to the agreement, there are 10 states, if the change was in good faith he should have first consulted us.”

 

Featured image:

Salva Kiir, the president of southern Sudan – Flickr – Al Jazeera English” by Al Jazeera EnglishSalva Kiir, the president of southern Sudan. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.