South Sudan’s incumbent government has toughened on a resolve to retain 32 states, as President Salva Kiir urged regional governors to support retention of the current states.
Opposition groups have demanded a reversion to the old administrative units of 10 states.
A meeting between President Salva Kiir’s officials and 32 state governors in Juba on Friday recommended that South Sudan maintains the current number of states, as well as an additional special region of Abyei whose border with Sudan is under discussion.
The 32 regional chiefs met with Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth and voted to uphold the status quo.
Mr Kiir had been directed by mediators, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) to seek public views on the suitable number of states and return to Ethiopia for a final solution with his former vice president Riek Machar. Kiir is expected in Addis Ababa on Saturday to table the proposal.
If I had time, I would even make these states not only 39, but 40. We as South Sudanese are not alone, there are people amongst us who think they know better than us but when we fought for more than 50 years, did they come to help us,” Kiir said in Juba after the meeting on Friday.