Bona Panek, newly appointed governor of the newly created tiny Twic state, curved from Warrap state, said President Salva Kiir had vowed never to revoke the 28 states he unilaterally created against the provisions of the peace agreement he signed with the armed opposition faction led by his former vice president, Riek Machar.
The order issued on 2 October 2015 has divided up the country into 28 controversial administrative units largely reflective of tribal formations with unclear boundaries, prompting condemnation from other parties to the peace agreement who criticized it as a violation of the peace deal which is based on the current constitutionally recognized 10 states.
But the governor of Twic state of former Warrap state in Bahr el Ghazal region, from which the president hails, said the decision will not be reversed.
“Before I came here (Twic), I was in Juba and I attended the extraordinary national convention of the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) where president [Kiir] spoke. The president made it very clear before Taban Deng Gai and Deng Alor that he will not revoke the creation of more states. He repeated that when the three of us, myself, Akec Tong and Abraham Gum met him on Tuesday,” Panek told Sudan Tribune while referring to the governors of Gogrial and Tonj states with whom he met the president for briefing and directives before leaving Juba.
Panek claimed the creation of more states will resolve issues which the agreement did not resolve.
“The creation of more states should not be taken negatively. It should be taken positively because it is solving issues which the peace agreement did not address. For example, you have people like the governor of Northern Liech state who did not rebel and he had the support of the people in the area. You also have the people of Parieng who did not rebel, not even a single person in the area I know had joined the rebellion of Riek Machar. What do you do to these people who demonstrated more than nothing but nationalism,” inquired Panek in his attempt to justify the creation of 28 states.
“The solution is to take into consideration their views and this is what the creation of more states is serving. It is also an answer to the demand of the people who have been calling for more states before South Sudan became independent,” he said.
He said communities from different places in the country including his own people of Twic have for a very long time been asking president Kiir to create more states.
The government and its supporters have not however explained the reason they rejected creation of more states as proposed by the SPLM-IO during the peace negotiations if this had been “a long time” demand of the people as claimed.
The opposition has however rejected the 28 states and said the agreement should be implemented on the basis of the existing 10 states until further resolution on this through the mechanisms in the peace deal.