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Activists speak out on states consultation

By: Opio Jackson

Civil society’s activists have called on the government to observe freedom of speech during the consultation on the number of states.

“Let people speak freely their views without any threats since President Kiir has called for consultation of the citizens’ opinions on the number of states,” said Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO).

“People may have diversion of opinions and that diversions should not result to restriction that puts one’s life at risk,” he said.

He was speaking to Juba Monitor yesterday ahead of the planned citizens’ consultation on the number of states called by President Salva Kiir.

Over 100 delegates have been invited to attend the tomorrow’s consultation in Juba.

Edmund expressed his readiness to attend the consultation but stressed on the need for the media to cover the event without any restriction, “Even if there is opposing opinions people should be allowed to express themselves freely to the media without any fear. The media should be allowed to do their work to reflect all views that will come out of the consultation,” he stressed.

The activist said the consultation offers an opportunity for citizens to decide on how they want the peace to prevail. He added that people should respect the provisions of the agreement and the mandates of the Independent Boundaries Committee (IBC).

“I am appealing to whoever will be engaged in the consultation tomorrow, the spirit of compromise and consensus should reform our position. Let us not stick but give chance for peace to prevail,” he said.  

Edmund urged all political parties’ delegation to the consultation to avoid political confrontation and that they should argue with maturity and politics.

“I expect the final result of the consultation to be transparent and democratic,” he said.

Rajab Mohandis, Executive Director for Organization for Responsive Governance (ORG) who doubles as the chairperson for the Voluntary Society Taskforce on Implementation of the Peace Agreement said they were yet to present a draft of their position paper and promised to disclose it to Juba Monitor once it is done.

However, according to the statement released by the Voluntary Society Taskforce on Implementation of the Peace Agreement, the group said it received with disappointment the failure of the parties to reach consensus on the outstanding issues on the number of states and boundaries.

“Having keenly followed the discussion on the number of states and boundaries, the taskforce have analyzed the matter in light of economic viability, institutional capacity and necessary human resources required to drive such a wide spread governance structure based on the remaining time frame and the demonstrated challenges in performance of the multiple states. We wish to remind the parties, the mediation team and regional heads of state and governments’ failure to anchor decision on this matter to the previous R-ARCSS potentially may result to collapse of the agreement,” the statement read in part.

 The Taskforce commended for adoption of the IBC report as the basis for formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU).

They said the issue of the number of states and boundaries is a constitutional matter and should be carried out during the constitutional making process which is provided for in Chapter six (6) of the R-ARCSS.

The taskforce civil society comprised of Organization for Responsive Governance (ORG) Organization of Non-Violence and Development (ONAD) South Sudanese Network for Democracy and Elections (SSuNDE), Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance (FODAG).

According to the Revitalized Peace Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan 1.15.7 indicates that IBC shall be to consider the number of states of the Republic of South Sudan, their boundaries.

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