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RADIO TAMAZUJ - 13 Oct 2015

Explaining the S Sudan peace agreement (11): How is power shared in the states?

'Focus on the Agreement' is a new daily segment broadcast on Radio Tamazuj to explain the contents of the peace deal signed in August 2015 between South Sudan's warring parties.

Yesterday we looked at the process whereby the peace agreement will become law in South Sudan. Today we continue this series by looking at the structure and composition of state governments as defined by the agreement.

Chapter 1, Article 15 of the peace agreement says that the president must appoint transitional governors for Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states within one month of the beginning of the transitional period. This means that the governors of these three states must be appointed before the end of the year.

Riek Machar's opposition group will nominate the governors of Upper Nile and Unity States, while Salva Kiir's group will choose the Jonglei governor, according to the agreement. This means that the government will maintain the governorships of eight states while the rebels will take the governorships of two states.

Meanwhile, the council of ministers in each of the three states of Unity, Jonglei and Upper Nile will be divided according to the following ratios:

46% for the SPLM faction led by Salva Kiir

40% for the SPLM faction led by Riek Machar

7% for the SPLM faction led by Pagan Amum

7% for the other political parties

In the remaining seven states, the rebels led by Riek Machar will take 15% of the executive positions while the current government will keep 85% of positions. In other words, the opposition will take a small share of power in the Greater Equatoria and Greater Bahr al Ghazal regions but will take a larger share of power in the Greater Upper Nile region.

The composition of the state legislatures will not be changed. Only the members that had been dismissed from the assemblies will be allowed to return, but otherwise no changes will be made to these bodies.

It is important to note that the IGAD chief mediator says that Establishment Order issued recently to divide South Sudan's 10 states into 28 states is a violation of the peace agreement specifically because it violates this article of the agreement (15.1-15.3), which considers only ten state as the basis for power-sharing.

IGAD Special Envoy Seyoum Mesfin stated in a memo sent to the warring parties on Saturday that the Establishment Order creating new states “is contrary to the spirit and letter of the agreement.” He called on the government to suspend implementation of the order and advised that such structural changes should only be made afer consultations with the people as part of the process of making a new permanent constitution.