The leadership of the Women League of the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), led by former vice-president, Riek Machar, has condemned the recent unilateral creation of 28 states and appointment of their governors by president Salva Kiir in violation of the peace agreement signed in August.
“The SPLM/SPLA-IO Women League office condemns that decree made by President Kiir in continuation of implementation of his establishment order of creating 28 states and appointment of the governors in South Sudan. We as women, mothers, children and the elderly bear the burden of the conflict that claimed more than 50,000 lives and displaced more than 2 million people,” said Sophia Pal Gai, chairperson of the SPLM-IO Women League, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
She called on president Kiir to reverse his decrees and show respect and commitment to the peace agreement and its implementation in accordance with its provisions.
She also warned failure to reverse the decision will have negative impact on the peace deal and called on the East African regional bloc, IGAD, and its international partners to put maximum pressure on president Kiir to stop violating the agreement by reversing the negative course.
We call upon IGAD Plus Countries which are guarantors of the IGAD Plus Compromised Agreement on Republic of South Sudan to use their good offices to convince and pressure Salva Kiir to implement peace agreement instead of creating more conflicts by annexing some land of certain ethnic group to others.
“We appeal to international community to back the people of South Sudan in the implementation of the agreement otherwise all investment exerted to bring stability and stop the fighting will be in vain,” she lamented.
Gai called on the people of South Sudan to not allow the president to destroy the peace agreement to return the country to war and suffering with the increasing economic hardship.
President Kiir on Thursday evening decreed appointment of 28 governors to the controversial 28 states in decreed on 2 October and pushed through in the national legislature for endorsement, despite sharp criticisms from opposition parties, civil society organizations and the international community.
SPLM-IO leader, Riek Machar, condemned the latest move in a statement on Thursday evening, saying president Kiir should have instead tabled the 28 states proposal to the meeting of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) for discussion.
During the peace negotiations to end the 21 months of civil war, the opposition faction proposed 21 federal states based on the former colonial districts, claiming that federalism was a popular demand of the people of South Sudan. The government rejected the proposal, saying South Sudan was not ready for creation of more states or for federal system of governance.
However, less than two months later after the signing of the peace agreement in August based on the constitutional 10 states, the government decreed creation of 18 more states, saying this was in the interest of the people.