November 24, 2016 (JUBA)- South Sudanese presidency is yet to decide whether to reduce or increase the number of states, citing financial constraints and fear that it could spark new rebellion.
A presidential advisor on decentralization affairs and intergovernmental linkage told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that consultations were still continuing to come out with a well-researched solution.
“There is no new information that I know to confirm to you now. I told you last time that the consultations are continuing. The first vice-president is still talking to the people. He has not yet finished with consultations. When he finishes, he will report back to the president and after that they will discuss it as the presidency and with other stakeholders. So let wait for the outcome of consultations,” Presidential Adviser on Decentralization and Intergovernmental Linkage, Tor Deng Mawien said Thursday.
His comments follow statements in which the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai has hinted at increasing the number of states, saying many communities have gone to his office to express their desire for more states.
Gai said the total number of new states asked by different communities during a series of meetings with him could reach 14, raising the number of states to a total of 42 states if the presidency approved. He said was waiting the president to return from a foreign trip to hold a meeting with him and the Vice President, James Wani Igga to address the matter.
Gai was speaking at a meeting with religious leaders in Juba on Wednesday.
“I have finished with my work, I’m waiting for the president to return and when he comes we will discuss it. Because the sooner we resolved this issue of states is better, it will actually cement our peace,” he said.
“So you see this issue of more states of course it is a problem regarding the current economic situation in our country, but what is important is peace. If it can bring us peace, give them their states,” he added.
“For example Baria and Lotio with their brothers in Terekeka, I think they are now living in peace, they have now settled. If this can bring peace, give the people what they want, but they must work, they must go and develop that area which they want to be their state,” he concluded.