Is Consensus by ARCISS’ Parties Possible on 28 States?

By James Okuk, PhD, JUBA, JAN/16/2016, SSN;

Last few days after a positive step was taken by the parties to the August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) regarding consensus on selection of 30 national ministries, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan thought that the same honeymoon should be extended to the issue of 28 states.

The request was officially placed to the JMEC in its second meeting after having heard the progress report from the National Constitutional Amendments Committee. It was decided thereafter that the issue of 28 states is not purely a legal matter but a political one that could be resolved by dialogue until consensus is reached on how to go about it.

However, ‘consensus’ is a porous term because it could be understood from perspectives of different directions.

Firstly, it could be that ARCISS’ parties would agree on endorsement of the Republic Establishment Order Number 36/2015 for creation of 28 States in the decentralized governance system in the Republic of South Sudan by including this in the structure and composition of states governments.

Secondly, it could be that the parties would agree that the issue of 28 states be endorsed for further deliberation and modification but within the mechanisms provided in Chapter Six on Parameters of Permanent Constitution after the transitional government has taken up its duties fully.

It is already provided that the TGoNU would initiate a federal and democratic system of government that reflects the character of South Sudan in its various institutions taken together with guarantees of good governance, constitutionalism, rule of law, human rights, gender equity, affirmative action, stability, national unity, ethnic diversity, territorial integrity and people’s participation via devolution of powers and resources to the states and counties.

The permanent constitution is supposed to be completed not later than 18 months from the time of launching the transitional period.

The reconstituted National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) shall include political parties, Civil Society Organizations, Faith-based groups, Women bloc, Youth, Ethnic Minorities, Private Sector, Academics and other professionals who should carry out wide consultations and conduct civic education on the permanent constitution-making.

Not only these, but also the TGoNU shall seek assistance of regional and international experts to benefit from the experience and best practices on this constitutional making endeavor. Hence, consensus on the second option is likely possible within ARCISS’ mechanisms.

However, consensus on the first option seems impossible, given the diverting public positions of the parties. The GRSS continues to push for the endorsement of 28 states because it assumes this to be a popular decision that would never be revered by President Salva Kiir Mayardit thought it could be amended by another Republican Order.

The SPLM-IO has come out openly against the adoption of the 28 states for kickstarting the government of national unity of the transitional period, and insists that the dissolved 10 states should be the way to start as provided in Chapter One of the ARCISS because 28 states is a recipe for permanent ethnic conflicts and more continuation of instability in South Sudan.

The SPLM-FDs and Other Political Parties have objected even to sitting down to dialogue for a consensus on the 28 states because this is a violation to ARCISS as well as to the constitutional procedures.

The JMEC’s Chairperson, H.E. Testis G. Mogae have also voiced out his fear that the 28 states is creating unnecessary further delays to implementation of the ARCISS because it is a violation and un-procedural move by the GTSS on the trust of peace.

As this is the case, it would be miraculous how a consensus could be reached on the crisis of 28 states even if it is declared by the JMEC to be a political issue. What is expected to happen then?

The JMEC has suggested that the formation of Government of National Unity at the national level could go ahead based on reference to the ARCISS while dialogue on the composition and structure of government of national unity at states level continue till a political consensus is reached.

The GRSS tends to be comfortable with this thought because it gives it more time to buy while its de facto 28 states and governors are operational on the ground.

The SPLM-IO may be half-heartily welcoming to JMEC’s suggestion as long as its 21 bush federal states and governors continue to exist at the same time, though not necessarily at the same places with the GRSS’ 28 states. But the difficulty with this mediocre comfort is that Dr. Riek Machar and other SPLM-IO hardliners may not accept to step feet in Juba until the the crisis of 28 states is resolved by the JMEC finally.

This shall, of course, be considered by the international community and its regional allies as obstruction and delay to the implementation of the ARCISS; an act that has already been red-lined by the UN Security Council Resolutions 2206 and 2241(2015) with targeted sanctions and other methods of interventions.

If the ARCISS raveled, the GRSS shall feel much heat of hit for a failure because of serious economic crises that may get created to add to the already existing hard currency bankruptcy. People’s outcry shall dangerously get louder with SPLM factions losing popularity both nationally and internationally, despite the fact that there is no Tarir Square in Juba to demonstrate the frustration. The SPLM-IO may not escape the blame too, especially if its advance team decide to get out from Juba or seek refuge in UNMISS as a sign of resumption of more rigorous civil war against SPLM-IG regime.

Why would leaders of the warring parties want to continue humiliating themselves in the face of their citizens and the world by delaying the implementation of ARCISS because of the issue of 28 states that could even be resolved shortly within a year after starting with 10 states first?

To resolve this problem H.E. Salve Kiir is not obliged to issue another Executive Order to reverse the 28 states. What he needs urgently is to allow the NCAC to incorporate the 10 states into draft transitional constitution (2016) as agreed in ARCISS, pass the transitional constitution in the Council of Ministers, endorse it in the expanded Transitional Legislative Assembly and then sign it into supreme law.

This would drop indirectly the GRSS’ 28 states and SPLM-IO’ 21 states by revitalizing the defunct 10 states for kickstarting the ARCISS period on right footing. From then the government of national unity would get formed with Dr. Riek and all SPLM-IO arriving in Juba hurriedly so that sanctions and other embarrassments could be avoided in time before it is too late after January 2016.

Viva ARCISS implementation Viva!
Dr. James Okuk is lecturer of politics reachable at


  1. Dr. Okuk,

    You and president Festus absolutely got it wrong, good Doctor! The 28 virtuals states must first be revoked and totally dismantled by the highly incompetent-power-hungry-greedy-traitorous, killer NyanKiir and the Lunatics-fanatics Jenges council of evils, prior to formation of the government of national unity period. Any thing short of that is imminently a peace killer period

    • GatCharwearbol says:

      Patriot, Gatdarwich,

      You and Dr. Okuk are on the same page. He is for revocation of 28 states and installation of the defunct 10 states to jump-start the implementation of CPA II. Right move by SPLM-IO. A sign deal is a sign deal and you cannot renege after you have sealed it. Salva Kiir and his cohorts need to understand this. SPLM-IO didn’t get their wish of 21 states and why should they get their wish of 28 states. Popular demand of SPLM-IG is a lie and it does carry any substance. Let people of South Sudan vote on it but it will have to be after peace. The most important issue in the menu right now is peace.

      • Gatdarwich says:


        I fully understand that Dr. Okuk is not in favor of the virtuals 28 states establishment, but my disagreement with him lies on his highly contradictory wordings of this article, because in the first paragraphs, he seems clearly to be against the 28 pseudo states, but in the last paragraph, he concluded that Killer Nyankiir is not “obliged” to revoke the 28 fake states!

  2. Itikwili says:

    “To resolve this problem H.E. Salve Kiir is not obliged to issue another Executive Order to reverse the 28 states. What he needs urgently is to allow the NCAC to incorporate the 10 states into draft transitional constitution (2016) as agreed in ARCISS, pass the transitional constitution in the Council of Ministers, endorse it in the expanded Transitional Legislative Assembly and then sign it into supreme law.”

    I don’t think how this will work and have had to rush because the quasi-nation-state is facing all odds at this critical moment of few days. This may serve as a plausible face-saving option for Kirr to avoid the embarrassment of having to come up on decree-overly abused state TV, barely a few days with another so called “republican decree to erase the 28 ethnic states. what will he tell the ethnic governors he just sworn in, the likes of Philip Aguer and Augustino Jadalla who have just started solving Bor cattle issues in equatoria and the 26 others as this should be our main preoccupation as a nation all the years, solving cattle issues? as we are used to decrees, it will still take another decree to erase the 28 states together with the governors; the likes of Aguer may then need to come back to the SPLA and continue his war support as the spokesperson or lecture in U. of Juba. another R decree of course will be embarrassing as if this quasi nation-state is not putting rationality at its service in conduct of business! let the sanctions come with all its oddity if they have to!

    • Dutajiengdit says:

      So Itikwili you are saying that 28 states are ethnic states than what have we being looking for, you know of korkor policy that you Equatorians encouraged back in the days, this is exactly what happened in 28 states why complaining or it is b’se Machar or another brainless Equatorians has not issued it ? SHAME on those p’ple who do not want their state, for us we are happy with our New Jonglei state though there is not money we know it will come with time we are just tired of Dinka name taking all the positions in state gov’t in national gov’t as claimed by non Dinkas why are other people complaining if itz coz of boundaries no an inch of land will be taken from anybody people should just waiting for before making noise for nothing period

      • Itikwili says:

        yaa Dutajiengdit,

        Equatorians are not brainless. South Sudan is alive because of Equatorians, equatoria in the sense of a region whose people are civilized and peace loving. Do know that equatoria is not ethnic state, equatoria is not even a tribe the way you think. you may be happy with your Jonglei but why are your stolen cattle hidden in equatoria, the land of peace? in any case we should be thinking of building a country that can stand upright and proud and for you the only thing you could do is to think of new jonglei. all the same the 28 states have never existed and will not! crude oil now is 29 dollars per barrel, Sudan takes 25 USA dollars per barrel for renting of the pipeline; South Sudan gets 4 USD dollars per barrel. where will New Jonglei state get the resources to even pay their governor leave alone others when all your time is spent on stealing and fighting over cattle? stop day dreaming! let us build a nation not ethnic state!

        • Dutajiengdit says:

          Why then if you are talking of building an upright country which isn’t bad then, begin building in your civilized state as we also start ours in New Jonglei and you know what the results will be, what we called development other than pushing for non-existing unity we are not united we hate each other so the solution is to be your in state and us in ours as we learn brother and nationhood period.

  3. All types of empty threats by GRSS are doomed due the status situation the economy has reached:

    How will they face all the armed opposition if they shut down Pallocoich

  4. Garango says:

    Dr. James, Out of 28 states the following states are in support of the newly created states:
    (1)-Lotjor state (9)-Gok State (17)-Wau State
    (2)-Ruweng State (10)-Eastern Lake State (18)-Nymornyang State
    (3)-Junglie state (11)-Weastern Lake state (19)-Maridi State
    (4)-Buma State (12)-Tonj State (20)-Mundri State
    (5)-Eastern Bieh State (13)-Gogrial State (21)-Terkaka State
    (6)-Western Bieh State (14)-Twic State (22)-Jubek State
    (7)-Eastern Uppernile State (15)-Aweil State (23)-Yei River State
    (8)-Northern Lich State (16)-Aweil East State (24)-Imatong state

    Neutral States Are:
    (1)-Lol State (2)-Gbudwe state (3)-Western Lich State (4)-Western Uppernile state

    Opposing states: Zero

    Dr. Riak Machar needs to come into has senses and follow the order of the day in South Sudan.
    Dr. Riak Machar will not escape justice this time internationally for 1991 and 2014 atrocities he committed in Bor, Malakal, Bailet, Nasir, Bentiu, Ruweng and Leer his home town. God bless their souls. Justice must be served.

    • Eastern says:

      Now where’s the link between these states you have listed and the need for justice? The antithesis of the euphoria of ‘supporting’ these states clashing with those opposing them will lead to unnecessary bloodshed for which the proponents and the architects of the 28 states will end at The Hague, not the other way round!

      Dr Riek’s 21 states remain largely his proposal and it’s a proposal with bases of the former colonial 21 districts. Where did Kiir and JCE get their 28 states from?

  5. Jerad says:

    Dear Balang tutute, the one facing the arm opposition is not the palloich oil, it is the S. Sadan Army, Also to remind you there is a solution to everything regarding oil problem, so don’t worry about it.

  6. Amum Machar says:

    All of you have heard again, Mr. President’s remark of his speech that the Government of the Republic of South Sudan have the full responsibility and obligation to change things in ways people wanted them to act before national unity government. According to Mr. President’s speech cited by Sudan tribune, “the Government will go where they are requested, where people are spoken.” said Mr. President with positive tone that might angry people of interest and particularly the rebel. In fact, if they meant it, it appears that their works have just began in right directions that they will go where people needed the government the most to renders the services needed. The people who have one clear visions of how they should or wanted to run their services, the government would immediately support them as government of South Sudan had have been working together with Equatorians as well as highly members of Bentiu State and New Latjor State better than Padang educated members or communities. There are many evidences that illustrated or supports those citations , members of others tribes have been highly considered as well functioning better than Padang communities and despite of Rebel ‘s life threatening, fueling violence, and encouraging destruction in Padang Jieng! Therefore, Mr. Itikwili, Mr. President with respected decision believed to be supported not only Jieng Council, but even many members of the Nuer Supreme Council as well as Equatorians in general might like that statement. Please beware that he is not acting alone on those decisions. However, one clear message that Rebel must know or should have realized is the fact that in this era, war after the revolution, others and Dinka too sub-tribes wanted to be free under cool blood and bad politics of the Greater Upper in which Dr. John Garang had hard time correcting under Dr. Lam Akol and Dr. Riek Machar!. As a result those groups could be upraising powers because they remained under dominant powers struggled for such a long time in decade, considered them to be free by Kiir, so the issue of 28 states must or should be approve by a majority votes before the rebel entered into the Capital. It will crystal be cleared that the idea of giving power back to the people is real, and clear sign of power sharing, distributions of powers and responsibilities means the sharing of resources and equal of opportunities. Worthlessness,does ti mean thing are going in right directions, of course not, but those bold decisions indelicate that his clear objective mind even though without Jieng Council influence, there are sense acting of responsibility and obligation involved. With those remarks that provoked peace, some the rebel supporters, misunderstood and had panic that they declared tribe wars militarily confrontation as the only ways than peaceful resolution which peace makers and patterns contributed for! Firsts, of all what they should know In the agreement, there re sensitive, burning issues left hanging, many others civil societies whom were victims war, and violence in South Sudan ever since their voices, greater responsibilities in war were ignored and neglected by both sides. The Rebel and as well as Nuer community are dragging Padang community to incited violence, inflicted its values to brutality murderous ambiguous of power struggles and long conflicts between its neighboring while abandoning their common interesting, stability and peaceful coexistent. It is obvious that Nuer and Shulluk community have problems,no matter what than Padang people will never live in peace, a clear evidence any leaders or viewers should know! Shunting of country resources Pallocoich, and Bentiu oil is not worthy, even the enemies of South that have been distributing guns to Rebels and the government would economical collapsed. Thus, despite posting threats, encouraging opposition to run to enemies of South Sudan to bring guns so that they can continued in blooded shed, is better than open dialogues and peaceful negotiation with part on power. More importantly, it would be better for Diaspora political organizers or any part of this movement, or South Sudan government, members of civil society whom were involved in discussion to urge all viewers as well as concerned citizen to listen to Mr. President with his executive organs and the people of South Sudan civil administration to involve Padang high respective members represent their voices to bring that lasting conflict to an ended.

  7. alex says:

    Dear all
    we need to know that we should no create the war for other countries to shoulder it. We have created the mess and we should clear the mess by ourselves. Imposed solutions can no work. If the world powers impose their will on us and their are a sizeable number of people not willing to stay with other people, will the transitional national unity constitution be able to impose their will on this people. It’s time we change such cheap thinking. It was not triko AU or UN who created all the mess and
    stupidly we are crying the UN to intervene while we are the ones preaching the hatred. If you have dedicated somewhere , it is you to clean your faces do not expect someone to clean it for you. This time we move away from our personal interest first. The opposition should not under mind the demand of the people. You should leave this issue of 28 states to be carried to the permanent constitution to iron it out. If 3 current states accepted the formation of the 28 states then this is a big political issues that deserve to be looked at. It is not just a matter of argument that the peace was sign on the basis of 10 states. Whether the opposition is Brought to power by force, they will not be able to suppress the legitimate demand of the people. You will face resistance and it is a legitimate democratic demand that must be respected. So all these demands should be incorporated into the transitional unity government constitution to be tackled in the permanent constitution. If we want to live in peace,we must learn to compromise with each other.

  8. FYI, the 28 State is a very obvious tactical ploy/plan by the SPLM-IG to control Parliamentarian outcomes during the transition period leading to the so called elections. It is an open design to preserve “the status quo” that started the current war in the first place. So to accept the 28 state is to accept defeat from a dying horse. It is slap in the face for the coalition to reform the totally deformed regime! Salva Kir is bribing the desperate unqualified position-seekers to stand with him in his useless struggle to evade the ARCIS implementation and preserve the living hell S. Sudan is going through. God will not accept this, so brace yourselves because he will soon respond to this 28-state-madness in
    The crumbling oil sales is one of the responses.

    Stay tuned!.

  9. Peacemaker says:

    Enough is enough, we should all make an inference as to what really the government of Jieng is up to. The fear of the aftermath which is ” accountability” for the violations of human rights committed against innocent civilians. So they will do all that it takes to remain in power. The only way out now is to force them out by imposing sanctions and putting the Country under UN Mandate for a certain period.

  10. JOK lual says:

    South sudan minus Riek macahr equal South sudan he go to Khartoum in 1991 no think happen in spla now he have two yeras in Ethiopia and South sudan go head so we dont care about him he come or not
    long live South sudan long live SPLA

  11. Dear all,
    When people cry that means something is wrong, and it needs to be addressed. The issue of the 28 states is a hot cake to South Sudanese that the government needs to look into it seriously and fix it. Those states that cry fault for its creation and the legibility of some of the state are still contested needs to be re-visited and changes to the borders needs to be made. Because cutting the sum of land from one tribe and giving it to another tribe is wrong. We can’t have peace when some of our people are crying. We need harmony with one another and peaceful co-existent. To say that “those who don’t want the creation of the new states should go and complain to those capitals” is really wrong. The government should have gone first to the capitals of those state and consulted with the people before its creation. And there should be no red line drawn because the creation of those states is not Biblical nor koranic, it can be change according to the wishes of the people. It is shame to see our country going from one error to another before even fixing the first one. If we are really for peace, let make it attractive and that means: the president should listen to the cry of people and not the advise of Jieng elders. But from the way things are going in South Sudan, it seems that the government in Juba is not ready for peace.

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