Federalism on Steriods: President Kiir Decrees 28 States for South Sudan

Posted: October 2, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Editorials, Featured Articles, History, PaanLuel Wël

Making Sense of the 28 States Decreed By President Salva Kiir Mayaardit

By PaanLuel Wel, Juba, South Sudan

Map of the 28 states decreed by President Kiir on 2 October 2015

Map of the 28 states decreed by President Kiir on 2 October 2015

October 2, 2015 (SSB)  —  New campaign euphoria has engulfed Juba, and the entire country, for the new posts of 28 governors and 21 new MPs decreed by President Kiir effective today, 2 October 2015.

Among the 28 states, with their capital cities, decreed by President Salva Kiir Mayaardit are:

28 states for South Sudan decreed by President Kiir, Oct. 2, 2015

28 states for South Sudan decreed by President Kiir, Oct. 2, 2015

(A) Greater Equatoria States (8 states)

1- Imatong State (Torit) —  Lopa, Torit, Ikotos and Magwi counties

2- Namorunyang State (Kapoeta) — Kapoeta North, Kapoeta East, Kapoeta South and Budi counties

3- Maridi State (Maridi) — Maridi and Ibba counties

4- Amadi State (Mundri) —  Mvolo, Mundri West and Mundri East counties

5- Gbudwe State (Yambio) — Yambio, Ezo, Nagero, Anzara and Tambura counties

6- Jubek State (Juba) — Juba county (Bari, Lokoya, Nyangwara communities)

7- Terekeka State (Terekeka)– Terekeka, Jemeiza, Gwor, Tali and Tigor counties (Mundari community)

8- Yei River State (Yei) —  Yei, Lainya, Morobo and Kajo Keji counties

(B) Greater Bhar el Ghazal States (10 states)

9- Wau State (Wau) — Jur River and Bagari counties

10- Aweil State (Aweil) –Aweil South and Aweil Center counties

11- Lol State (Raja) –Raja, Aweil North and Aweil West counties

12- Aweil East State (Wanjok) — Aweil East county

13- Twic State ( Mayen Abun) –Twic county

14- Gogrial East State (Kuacjok) –Gogrial West and Gogrial East counties

16- Tonj State (Tonj) –Tonj North, Tonj East and Tonj South counties

17- Eastern Lake State ( Yirol) — Yirol East, Yirol West and Awerial counties

17- Western Lake State (Rumbek) — Rumbek North, Rumbek East, Rumbek Center and Wulu counties

18- Gok State (Cueibet) — Cueibet county

(C) Greater Upper Nile States (10 states)

19- Northern Liech State (Bentiu) — Mayom, Koch, Rubkona and Guit counties

20- Southern Liech State (Leer) — Mayendit, Leer and Panyijiar counties

21- Ruweng State (Pariang) — Panriang and Abiemnhom counties

22- Eastern Nile State (Malakal) — Baliet, Malakal, Akoka, Pigi, Melut, Renk and Maban counties

23- Jonglei State (Bor) –Duk, Bor, and Twic East counties

24- Western Nile State (Kodok) — Panyikang, Kodok and Manyo counties

25- Western Bieh State (Ayod) —Ayod, and Fangak counties

26- Eastern Bieh State (Akobo —Akobo, Uror, and Nyirol counties

27- Latjor State (Nasir) — Nasir, Maiwut, Longuchuk and Ulang counties

28- Boma State (Pibor) — Pochalla, and Pibor counties

According to Minister Makwei Lueth, it is not the decision of the government to proliferate the states, but the demand of the people for federalism. The gov’t is simply implementing the will and wish of the people, he insists.

According to those in the KNOW, this is a strategy by the government to counter the IGAD-plus peace agreement which allocates two governors to the rebels.

“We rather give 2 governors out of 28 to Riek Machar than 2 out of 10. Let IGAD go and hang themselves,” said the insider.

“Some people have been singing that people want federalism, people want federalism; well, here it is, get it. We shall beat them at their own game. Let them have the taste of their own medicine.”

Another person confide that the president was under tremendous pressure from his allies in Greater Upper Nile, especially the Bor and Pandang Dinka and Bul Nuer of Mayom.

There was a fear that having a governor from the rebels side lording over them would tantamount to betrayal from the government.


President Salva Kiir’s Presidential Decree for the Establishment of 28 States (PDF)


Thus, in order to protect the interest and security of his allies, the president agree to a plan to re-demarcate the borders of states not just in Greater Upper Nile region but also across the country.

What is interesting about this decree is how he appears to have effectively implemented ethnic federalism=tribocracy. Nuer and Dinka communities of the Greater Upper Nile region have been separated and put into different states comprising of either Nuer or Dinka only.

The 21 federal states proposed by Riek Machar

The 21 federal states proposed by Riek Machar

In other words, the whole decree appears to be a statement, a salvo, against IGAD, the Americans, Troika and the international community, all of whom are perceived by Juba to have taken side–allegedly, supporting the rebels of Riek Machar in the current civil war.

It remains to be seen what reactions, if any, will come from IGAD, Troika, Americans and the international community.

Meanwhile, immediate reactions from South Sudan has been registered on social media and on the street of Juba.

I think General Dummy has ended his nasty leadership on his own. Has he been overwhelmed by Dr. Desperate and his American masters? What he does not know is that he will be made to return the 6 billions that he stole from our oil money.We will get our good leader out side the decomposed SPLM,” said one South Sudanese, in reaction to the decree.

This view perfectly reflects the general public frustration with South Sudanese leadership across the political divides: SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SPLM-FD etc.

“When they agree, they loot our resources, and when they disagree, they kill us,” South Sudanese veteran journalist, Nhial Bol Aken, once said.

As for the government, the joke goes, this is all about taking town to the people, a mantra of the SPLM/A during the war. It is a devolution of power struggle, greed, corruption and conflict, said another.

Among the immediate problems the creation of new states would trigger is inter-communal border disputes, and more particularly over Malakal which is highly contested between the Padang Dinka and Chollo communities.

Said one South Sudanese analyst, “most controversial is the idea of making Malakal the capital city of Eastern Nile state. Makal or Malakal County is predominantly Shilluk and they have been annexed to eastern Nile state of Jieeng and mabaan communities.”


PaanLuel Wël, the managing editor of PaanLuel Wel: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB), graduated with a double major in Economics and Philosophy from The George Washington University, Washington D.C, USA. He is the author of Return in Peace (R.I.P) Dr. John Garang and Who Killed Dr. John Garang and also the Editor of the essential speeches and writings of the late SPLM/A leader, Dr. John Garang, published as The Genius of Dr. John Garang, vol. 1-3. You can reach him through his email: paanluel2011@gmail.com or Facebook page 

  1. Chol D says:

    I need all the firsthand information


  2. Simon Garang says:

    LOl, haaaa,haaaaaa.
    What is this?
    Let Makuei and Kiir demarcate the borders and boundaries of their tribal states.One cannot be a tribal extremist and when tribalism catches up with you, you resorted to separate tribes to advances your tribal failed agenda. Their decision is not an escape root from the SPLM-IO and the the international community. They got them by their testicles.


  3. Simon Garang, if you are not comfortable with your state, you better swallow your silver and let who is convinced go a head with his or her state. Don’t be myopic, analysis thing in detail. What you are preaching will be very Ugly then 2013. As you claims. If you think you are alienated or deprived off your right, please log case in the court of law. And you will get your right either South Sudan or international court since you people believe much in white as if they are God of truth. Ruweng state is a red line to temper with, we had been partitioning president Kiir mayardit since 2008 but he use pay deaf ears, now is our duty to defend our ancestors land and developed without fair from a known enemies who had intruders for decade, we can’t be intermindated by your empty threat. Long South Sudan. Long live 28 state. Long live Ruweng state. Long live Gen Salva Kiir mayardit. Long live Biemnom County.


  4. St.Monywiir says:

    Iam So Happy For You Have Done For Your County


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