South Sudan Opposition Say New-States Plan Violates Peace Deal

South Sudan’s political opposition said the government’s plan to create 18 more states violates the constitution and an August peace deal that seeks to end nearly two years of civil war.

President Salva Kiir on Oct. 2 decreed a rise in the number of states to 28, from 10, altering boundaries, names and capitals, a move Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said would reduce “tensions” in a country where tens of thousands of people have been killed since December 2013.

The decision conflicts with the constitution, which stipulates 10 states, and is being enacted without parliamentary approval, David William Tut, the spokesman for an alliance that includes 15 opposition parties, told reporters Monday in the capital, Juba. It also violates power-sharing ratios set out in August’s peace agreement between Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar based on a country of 10 states, he said.

Creating more states is necessary to solve unspecified problems, the president’s legal adviser Lawrence Korbandy said Monday at a briefing of foreign diplomats. He denied the order, set to come into effect by early November, violates South Sudan’s charter.