August 27, 2018 (KHARTOUM/JUBA) – The IGAD mediation team has proposed to hold a referendum asking South Sudanese to choose between the 32,10 states or any other alternative set by the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC).
The disagreement on the number of states remains one of the issues that the South Sudanese parties continue to discuss without reaching a deal on it.
On Sunday, the mediation handed over a proposition providing to make it clear from now that if the parties fail to reach a consensus on the number of states, the referendum, which is maintained as the default option, should give people the possibility to choose between different choices including the current number 32 or 10 states demanded by the opposition.
According to the text of the proposal seen by Sudan Tribune, the referendum commission (RCNBS) will ask the South Sudanese to choose between the following option:
“The IBC (Independent Boundaries Commission) proposal for rectifying the boundaries of the 32 states, the 32 states, the 21 states, the 10 states (or) any other number of states agreed by the IBC to be offered as an alternative”.
The opposition alliance (SSOA) reject the “unilaterally imposed” 32 states and calls to keep the old 10 state as the default solution – not the referendum – if the parties fail to strike a deal within the framework of the IBC.
Aware that local communities in different states reject the 32-states system because it gives their land or a disputed land to another community, the mediation said the Technical Boundary Committee (TBC) will settle this issue first through drawing a map of “tribal boundaries of 1.1.1956 that were violated by the 32 states”.
Once the mapping is done, the IBC will propose rectifications for the boundaries of the 32 states found as violating tribal boundaries of 1.1.1956.
Also, “the IBC shall agree by consensus, and on the basis of its already set guidelines, on number and boundaries of states (…),” further stressed the new proposal.
The South Sudanese parties had to conclude on Monday Morning the discussions of the bracketed issues and initial the final document in the afternoon.
But as late as Monday evening, the mediation did not make any statement about the progress made in the talks.
It worth mentioning that the SPLM-IO, also, expressed concern about the permanent constitution-making mechanism and objected that the National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) be tasked with the drafting of the new constitution.
The organization of the National Constitutional Conference “should be handled as a people-driven process that reflects the aspirations and the will of the people of South Sudan, rather than be a government-driven process,” said the SPLM-IO on Sunday.