Referendum proposal to determine number of states

By Jale Richard

The Sudanese mediators yesterday revealed a newly revised governance arrangement draft, proposing a referendum to settle stalemate on the number of states.

According to the draft proposal seen by Juba Monitor yesterday, within two weeks of signing of the Revitalized Agreement for Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS), an Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) for South Sudan shall be formed to determine the number of states within a maximum of ninety (90) days.

“In the unlikely event of the IBC failing to make its final report before the end of its term, the IBC shall be automatically transformed on the 90th day of its term into Referendum Commission on Number and Boundaries of States (RCNBS) of the Republic of South Sudan,” the proposal read in part.

The number of states has been one of the main sticking issues at the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) between government and opposition groups. President Salva Kiir created more states midway during implementation of the 2015 Agreement. The move sparked criticism from opposition leaders, claiming the agreement was violated by creating the more states.

Throughout the HLRF, opposition groups have maintained their demand for a return to the former ten states, while the government insists on maintaining the current 32 states.

Last week President Salva Kiir directed the government negotiating team to ensure that the stalemate over the number of states should not hinder the peace process. The new proposal also maintains that incumbent President Salva Kiir should lead the transitional period with opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar deputizing him as the First Vice President. Dr. Riek (Machar) would also lead the Governance Cluster.

The mediators also maintained that, four other Vice Presidents, with the incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) nominating two,  The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), and the Former political Detainees (FDs) nominating one each.

The mediators proposed for 35 ministers with the incumbent TGoNU nominating 20, the SPLM/A-IO 09 Ministers, the SSOA 03 Ministers, the FDs 02 Ministers, and the OPP 01 Minister. There shall be 10 Deputy Ministers in the following Ministries: Cabinet Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Defense, Interior, Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Finance, Agricultural and Food Security, General Educational and Instruction, Public Services and Human Resource Development, and Lands, Housing and Urban Development.

Deputy Ministers shall be nominated by the Parties by rotation with the TGoNU: nominating five (5) Deputy Ministers, SPLM/A-IO three (3) Deputy Ministers, SSOA one (1) Deputy Minister, and the OPP one (1) Deputy Minister.

In the Transitional National Legislative assembly, it shall be composed of 550 members, with the incumbent TGoNU nominating 332 members, the SPLM/A-IO 128 members, the SSOA 50 members, the OPP 35 members, and the FDs 5 members.

The Speaker of the TNLA shall be nominated by Incumbent TGoNU and one Deputy Speaker to be nominated by OPP and the other, a woman, to be nominated by Incumbent TGoNU.

At the beginning of the Transitional Period State and local governments shall be dissolved and reconstituted. The Incumbent TGoNU to take up 55%, SPLM/A-IO 27%, SSOA 10%, and OPP 08%.


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