Juba parties urged to agree on allocation of states’ leadership

South Sudan's First Vice President Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir shake hands in Uganda on November 7, 2019 after talks on proposed unity government in Entebbe. PHOTO | FILE | AFP

A South Sudanese political analyst has urged peace parties to compromise in order to end the deadlock on states allocation, citing that delays threatens the accord.

Ting Mayai, a researcher at Sudd Institute in Juba, said on Monday that lack of authority on the ground is a security threat to the nation.

“Apart from the delayed appointment of governors, we still have not reconstituted Parliament…We have intercommunal clashes, threats of Covid-19 and floods. Those issues would have been addressed by states governments,” he said.

Some parties have rejected last week’s announcement on the sharing of state leadership positions.

A communique from South Sudan’s presidency dated May 7, 2020, signed by President Salva Kiir and released last Friday, indicates that a consensus has been reached on the allocation of states. But First Vice President Riek Machar and a coalition of political parties distanced themselves from the document.

According to the communique, President Kiir’s former administration will steer leadership of six states, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) under Dr Machar will lead three states, while the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) will head one state.

Those under President Kiir are Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Lakes State, Warrap, Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Unity states.

The SPLM-IO has been selected to lead Jonglei, Western Bahr El Ghazal and Western Equatoria State, while SSOA takes the Upper Nile State.

However, hours after Kiir’s announcement on Friday, Dr Machar distanced himself from the communique, describing it as Mr Kiir’s lone decision. 

In a letter addressed to Amb. Augustino S.K Njoroge, the interim chairman of the peace monitoring group, The Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), Dr Machar said President Kiir’s decision is a violation of the peace agreement.

The Other Political Parties (OPP) also rejected President Kiir’s move, saying they were not represented when the decision was being made.

However, SSOA welcomed the allocation of Upper Nile State, saying it’s the only neutral group to the agreement that can unite communities in Upper Nile in order to end intercommunal clashes.