In a statement issued on April 15, the SPLM-IO, the chief opposition party to South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and his SPLM party, reiterated its opposition to forming a caretaker government for the country’s ten newly redrawn administrative districts. Under the peace agreement that formally ended the civil war, the SPLM is to govern five of the ten districts, the SPLM-IO three, and the remainder going to other political factions.
Last week, Kiir raised the proposal of forming caretaker governments to claim six of the districts, a proposal that was flatly rejected by Vice President Riek Machar, who heads the SPLM-IO.
South Sudan has the largest refugee crisis in Africa.
The opposition also pushed back against President Kiir’s decision to form three new administrative areas for Pibor, Abyei, and Ruweng, where intermittent bouts of violence continue to threaten South Sudan’s tenuous peace deal.
Crisis Upon Crisis
The South Sudanese people need their government to resolve these disputes and quickly form a functional unity government, particularly as the youngest country in the world confirmed its first case of COVID-19 at the beginning of April. South Sudan also has the largest refugee crisis in Africa—and the third-largest in the world—with more than 2 million people displaced. As the pandemic spreads, refugee communities are at an especially heightened risk of contracting the disease and spreading it quickly given the cramped living conditions of refugee camps.