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Opposition petitions court to declare state decree invalid

Deng Machol
South Sudan’s National Alliance has petitioned the South Sudan Supreme Court to halt the creation of 28 states ordered by President Salva Kiir.
16.10.2015  |  Juba, South Sudan
South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit addressing the press in Juba, June 10, 2013. (photo: The Niles | Waakhe Simon Wudu)
South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit addressing the press in Juba, June 10, 2013. (photo: The Niles | Waakhe Simon Wudu)

The Chairman of the National Alliance, Lam Akol, said in a press statement: “This morning, October 15, 2015, the National Alliance submitted to the Supreme Court a petition asking for the invalidation of the establishment order number 36/2015 AD.”

It violates the Constitution.”

“It violates the Constitution, lacks legal basis, usurps the powers of the National Legislature and contravenes the provisions of the peace agreement,” Akol, who is also Chairman of the Sudan People Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), added.

Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny said the order is a popular demand and no one should stop it. “Anyone who wants to go to court has a right, but we trust that if it is challenged, it will go in favour of the government,” Ateny said, adding “the President’s order is here to stay”.

The petition came shortly after the South Sudan Cabinet has unanimously approved the order, which Kiir decreed via state-owned SSTV on October 2, splitting the current ten states into 28.

The decision was received with mixed reactions by people and opposition parties, ranging from commendation to condemnation. Citizens who welcomed the decision called it an important step toward federalism and “grassroots empowerment”.

The international community, including the US, EU, IGAD and others, criticised the decision, saying it could jeopardise the August peace deal between the government and rebels, led by Riek Machar.

According to Sudan Tribune Machar described the move as a violation of the peace agreement brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

The presidential order is expected to come into force in early November. Meanwhile, the National Alliance is optimistic that the judiciary will exercise its responsibility with absolute impartiality as the “custodian of the constitution”.

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