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Kiir agrees to return the country to 10 states

Author: Jale Richard, Okot Emmnuel, Kelly Abale | Published: Saturday, February 15, 2020

President Salva Kiir in his office. PHOTO: South Sudan Presidential Press Unit

President Salva Kiir has agreed to return the country to the former ten states, and create three administrative areas in order to agree with opposition groups to enable formation of a coalition government this month.

The three administrative areas are Ruweng, Greater Pibor, and Abyei.

This was announced by the Minister in the Office of the President, Mayiik Ayiik at the State House J1, following last evening’s meeting between Kiir and his two deputies-Taban Deng Gai and Dr. James Wani Igga.

The decision is in line with demands of opposition groups  that  have been pushing for annulment of the 32 states which they say were “illegally” created by Kiir.

A closed door meeting on 16 on this month between President Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar, attended by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, and Sudanese Prime Minister Mohamad Hamdok ended without an agreement with Machar holding to the ten states while Kiir insisting on the 32.

Upon return to Juba, Kiir told his supporters he would consult them on whether to return the country to 10 states or maintain the 32.

There were pro 10 states demonstrations mostly in displaced persons camps across the country but they were overshadowed by demonstrations in favor of the 32 states.

A consultative meeting in Juba on Friday was largely attended by pro-32 states. There were reports other invited peace stakeholders did not turn up for the meeting.

The meeting unanimously agreed to maintain the 32 states.

But in a turn of event this morning, the Minister in the Office of the President, Mayiik Ayii told invited senior government officials that President Kiir and his two deputies had a meeting last evening and agreed to return the country to the former ten states.

Addressing senior government officials, Kiir says the decision was one of the toughest he has made to ensure there is peace in the country.

“This decision was reached by the presidency after weighing several options and we thought lets us compromise to preserve the unity of the country and move the people of South Sudan out of this imposed senseless conflict which has affected the livelihood of many of our citizens for the last six years,” Kiir said.

“We must put a stop to this suffering because our people deserve the best. The compromise we have made today is one of the painful decisions I have ever made but it is necessary if that’s what will bring back peace and preserve the unity of our people.”

Some members of the public welcomed the news, saying it is a good move for peace and stability in the country.

The dispute over the number of state s and boundaries has been one of the issues that impeded the formation of the unity government twice-in May and November last year.

The parties are expected to form the long awaited unity government next Saturday.

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