Press Statement – The newly created 28 states by President Kiir to Phow Community, is a serious violation of recent peace agreement signed by First Vice-President designated Dr. Riek Machar Teny and President Salva Kiir on 17, and 26 August respectively. As a Chairman of Phow community in Nairobi, Kenya on behalf of my community, rejected the whole idea of 28 states. The President and his group in Juba should focus on the implementation of peace agreement to halt the suffering of South Sudanese citizens who are taking refuge in UN Camps across the country. Salva Kiir as a President should prioritize the lives of his dying citizens first than his personal ambitions of retaining power through such means. The creation of 28 states clearly underlines how reluctant SPLA/M Juba is, towards realization of a viable peace in the Country.
As Phow community in particular, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the name shift from Phow to Western Bieh State. The name Phow underscores some significant historical and geographical meanings. Besides, Bieh State belongs to Lou-Nuer. Salva Kiir and his council of destruction are clearly building a “divide and rule policy within the Nuerland. We therefore, reject this plan. The concerned public should also follow suit. The idea of going federal has been every South Sudanese’s wish. It is not Salva Kiir’s making. We are all aware of how opposing his regime has been for the past 21 months of war. Why was he refusing for instance, the proposed 21 states of Dr. Riek Machar during the peace agreement in Addis baba and only accepts it now. On 26 August 2015 in Juba, Salva Kiir, in his signing speech said, “The document is neither a Bible nor the Quran and can be changed”. This indicated that he was not serious about the signing of peace agreement and he is violating it now in a broad day light. Besides, he signed the peace under pressure because he refused to sign it on 17 August during which time, SPLAM/IO chairperson Dr. Riek Machar and SPLM former detainees boss Pagan Amum signed their part of bargain.
The Phow community in Nairobi, Kenya called upon President Salva Kiir to retract this idea of 28 states and instead pursue the path of implementing peace for the betterment of South Sudan. When you look at the whole idea, the structure of the so-called 28 federal states, it needs no further contemplation of what Salva Kiir and his cliques are planning. In our own individual capacity as concerned citizens and on behalf of the entire nation, we feel that the creation of 28 states by Juba does not only pose dangerous effects towards peace but also underscores long-term future instabilities in the nation. Border crises for example would obviously spring up due to unclear boundary markings. Communal conflicts would result because communities from varied background would be amalgamated. There would obviously be disequilibrium in the sharing of national wealth. This is so in the oil producing states of Unity and Upper Nile. It would too lead to a massive displacement, which would cause discomfort within the affected communities. The outcomes would be many. They would be disastrous for every one of us.
Lastly, we urge the international community, the United Nations, the regional bloc IGAD to act with expedience and put this to an immediate end. As guarantors of peace in South Sudan, you have every power at your disposal to make the peace shine. Salva Kiir did sign the peace with some reservations, when such were rejected, he had to come up with a completely different approach. This approach if allowed to proceed will put the nation side by side with Somalia. The nation will be victimized, chaos will outnumber what we already saw.You have the powers to act now. As citizens, we want to make it very clear that, we are not anti-federalists. However, the federal system we advocated for, the system that was also attached to the peace document is a complete opposite to Salva Kiir’s. The timing too, is fragile and we are not ready to embrace it.
Gatkuoth Gatluak Paar,
Phow community, Nairobi, Kenya.