After a presidential decree, stating that the number of regional states in South Sudan will be increased from 10 to 28 was announced on the South Sudanese state radio Tamazuj on Thursday, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir announced the names of the new governors for the 28 regional states.
According to another announcement broadcasted on a state-run TV channel, Kiir reappointed seven of the 10 governors, in addition to 21 new ones.
Critics stated that the government’s move erodes the peace deal signed in August between the government and rebels affiliated with Sudan's Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) to end the two-year conflict.
They say the core of the deal was power-sharing and the creation of 28 new regional states erodes the agreement, which came into effect based on the 10 original regional states.
A statement released by Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, an activist group based in Juba, criticised Kiir’s decision which came several days after around 150 rebel delegates arrived in the capital Juba to begin the implementation of a transitional government of national unity.
In October, Kiir had unveiled his intention to create 18 new regional states but faced criticisms by both rebel factions in South Sudan and several countries.
The United States, Britain and Norway have stated that such a move would “directly contradict” the government's commitment to the peace accord.
The civil war in South Sudan began in December 2013, after Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of attempting a failed coup.
Although more than 12,000 UN peacekeepers have been deployed in the country, at least 10,000 people have been killed so far while more than 2.2 million others have been forced to flee their homes.