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JUBA - 17 Jun 2020

South Sudan's parties agree on state allocations

File photo: Presidential affairs minister Nhial Deng
File photo: Presidential affairs minister Nhial Deng

The parties to the South Sudan peace deal on Wednesday agreed on the allocations of the country’s 10 states, and will now be expected to name governors.

President Kiir’s side will nominate governors for six states, namely: Lakes, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Eastern Equatoria, Central Equatoria, Warrap and Unity.

Dr Riek Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In-Opposition (SPLM-IO) got Western Equatoria, Western Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile states, while the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) will nominate the governor for Jonglei state.

International pressure had mounted on Kiir and Machar to agree on the appointment of governors after intercommunal conflicts escalated in some states.

Disagreement between President Kiir’s group and opposition parties over the states has been a major obstacle to completing the formation of the unity government. The rival parties had been locked in a three month-long impasse over the sharing of state leadership positions.

“Matters pertaining to the composition of the executive and the legislative branches of the governments in the states shall be discussed and agreed to at a later date,” said Nhial Deng Nhial, Presidential Affairs Minister.

 For his part, Machar’s spokesman James Gatdet Dak confirmed all parties to the peace agreement have unlocked the stalled talks, saying the move paves the way for the formation of long-awaited state governments.

“The agreement came as a result of meetings which also involved the president and the first vice president. We agreed that the SPLM-IO will take Western Bahr el Ghazal, Western Equatoria and Upper Niles states,” said Gatdet. “We agree with the deal reached on the allocations of states. The next step is the nomination process.”

Edmund Yakani, a South Sudanese observer, said: “The agreement on the issue of states is a great move. Now the parties will need to incorporate the agreement into the constitution.”

He added, “The compromise has been made today on the issue of states but there are other challenges ahead. So I appeal to the parties to appoint the state governors, incorporate the agreement into the country’s constitution and reconstitute the parliament.”