By Tor Madira Machier,
Oct 4, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — The South Sudanese government had last year rejected a proposal by the SPLM-In-Opposition in which the armed opposition proposed the creation of eleven (11) more states based on the former colonial districts. The government went on to attack and accuse the armed opposition of seeking to setup a system that pursue the policy of divide and rule. Similar rejection occurred in 2011. While the parliament was working to indorse the then Southern Sudan Interim Constitution 2005 to become the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011, president Kiir, along with some law makers in the then Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly, rejected the incorporation of Federalism in to the new Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011.
However, in an abrupt change of vision, president Salva Kiir Mayardiit, on Friday evening, through a degree read by himself live from the state house via the state owned South Sudan Television (SSTV), ordered the creation of eighteen more states – a figure almost twice higher than the SPLM-In-Opposition’s last year proposal of eleven (11) more states – in contrast to his last year suggestion that the rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar would have left the decision to the ordinary citizens instead of imposing it on the people.
In this regard, some constructive questions would need a productive answer, such as; what motivated President Salva Kiir to change mind and opts to create more states when he has been in odd with the same vision until Friday? What does the message means to the international community? Does it have implication on the embattled peace agreement?
As a matter of fact, Kiir’s initiative to create more states promotes ethnically based political hatred among tribes easing the possibility of returning to war even if the recent IGAD-plus peace deal is implemented.
Generally, as an answer to the above questions, president Kiir want to reinforces his embattled legacy by forcing himself into the history where he may claim credit for the transformation of the nation into a country governed on the base of federal system, while not knowing that the move also pave the way for further international isolation given its negative stance towards the recently signed IGAD Compromise peace deal.
Furthermore, the move by president Kiir undermines efforts for the South Sudanese people to reconcile because the extends at which the president transformed and divided the states is based on ethnic classification thereby promoting anti-ethnic sentiments among the South Sudanese communities which in return undermines the enhancement of the social fabric of the South Sudanese people, hence living no room for peace and reconciliation.
As a conclusion, the president must put in mind that taking town to the people is neither the priority nor an argent need of the South Sudanese people. Instead, at the current state of nightmare and bloodshed, the policy of taking town to the people should be left behind and the president should embark on bringing and achieving peace at the first place which will, in return, pave ways for the rest. Because the decision will cause huge controversy from both within and outside the government, it will jeopardizes efforts to achieve peace because the more the government is engaged in heated debates with opponents, the more likely the suffering of the South Sudanese people is forgotten.
Tor Madira Machier is a South Sudanese columnist and the head of the department for peace and reconciliation of the SPLM (IO) Youth League Chapter in Egypt and can be reached through, firstname.lastname@example.org