Home | News    Monday 3 September 2012

Upper Nile governor denies dividing people over creation of city council

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September 2, 2012 (JUBA) - The Governor of Upper Nile State, Brigadier General Simon Kun Puoc, vehemently denied on Sunday allegations that his decision to create a City Council and appoint a Mayor for Malakal town, was an act indicative of a “divide and rule policy”.

Puoc said his decision to create a city council was not in anyway meant to create division but that it was for the delivery of basic services, to strengthen social ties and create peaceful coexistence among the state’s various ethnic groups.

“Sometimes our people are overwhelmed by emotions to the extent that they do not give themselves time to study decisions”, the Upper Nile State governor said on Sunday.

“I call upon our people not to politicize [the] creation of the city council. It was not meant to create division. The intention was to facilitate delivery of basic services. We wanted Malakal town, which is the capital of our state to be cleaned, so that it reflect[s well] on our cultures. We wanted Malakal town to be more organised”, explained Governor Puoc.

Governor Puoc made the remarks on Sunday in an interview with Sudan Tribune. He dismissed the critics of his decision as being “overwhelmed by emotions” who had not given themselves time to examine outcome.

The senior member of South Sudan’s governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said: “We are in a democratic country. This is what we fought for. Our constitution is very clear on freedom of speech and expression. So I am not upset with anyone. I am not annoyed because in a healthy democracy people can agree to disagree”, he explained.

South Sudan became independent last year after over two-decades of civil war. However, even President Salva Kiir himself recently admitted that the during seven years of governing the region, many senior figures in the SPLM have forgotten the values they fought for. Kiir’s comments came in a letter asking senior officials to return $4 billion of stolen public funds.

Governor Puoc was reacting to reports quoting the SPLM’s powerful Secretary General, Pagan Amum Okiech, accusing him of breaking South Sudanese law by breaking up Makal County to form the Malakal Town City Council.

Last week, while addressing members of parliament representing Upper Nile and Shilluk intellectuals, in the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly, Amum accused Governor Pouch of unilaterally deciding to take away three payams [districts] from Makal County to form the new town council.

Amum, a Shilluk who comes from the area, questioned the legality of the move, explaining it was only the National Government and the Council of States which has the authority to divide counties and redefine constituency and county borders.

He accused Puoc to have not done justice to the community of Makal County, by preventing them from celebrating the first anniversary of South Sudan’s independence in Malakal.

“Frankly speaking, there is no justice done here. Does it mean that a citizen from Makal County need to apply for a visa in order to visit his home town and apply for a license if he wants to celebrate at home? This decision completely contravenes [the] constitution”, Amum said in the meeting broadcast by South Sudan Television.

But the Governor told Sudan Tribune that he categorically denied preventing any ethnic group in the state from organizing or taking part in the celebrations to mark South Sudan’s first year of independence on 9 July 2012.

The ownership of Malakal town is contested by the Dinka Ngok Lual Yak and a section of Shilluk tribe. The Dinka assert that the town was historically inhabited by their ancestors and claim there is historical evidence that the town belongs to them.

The Shilluk also argue that the the town is their area, calling the town as Makal in their own language. In both languages the word means "higher ground", suitable for the cattle herding for which the Dinka are renowned.

Several attempts to address the dispute between the two sides have all failed as neither community is willing to accept the other’s claim on the area.

The new mayor appointed by the Governor is James Chuol Puot, who is a member of the Nuer ethnic group.

The parliamentary leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), South Sudan’s largest opposition party, Onyoti Adigo, on Saturday said Governor Puoc’s formation of a city council out of Makal County without enacting a law and consulting with the local population in the area lacks legal basis and is a clear violation of South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution.

“Governor Simon Kun Puoc is copying what he sees done by other governors in the country. Most of the governors do not respect the law. They believe in their own actions."

Appointing a Mayor and city council was "without legal basis", Adigo said, adding that he "did not consult with the local population nor did he try to enact the law through the [Upper Nile] State Legislative Assembly."

According to South Sudan’s 2009 local government act, changing any administrative unit requires consultations with local population and approval of both the country’s National Legislative Assembly in collaboration with the country’s upper house, the Council of States.

Pagan Amum defended the right of the SPLM-DC to hold the government to account on the matter and denied the political party was politicizing the creation of the Malakal City Council.

Normally the SPLM and SPLM-DC, which broke away from the South Sudan’s ruling party in 2009 ahead of the 2010 elections, have a frosty relationship. The SPLM and South Sudan’s Army (SPLA) often accuse the SPLM-DC of being linked to rebel groups, an allegation the opposition group deny.

In this case, however, Amum said that this was "an issue that crossed political lines".

"The SPLM-DC should not be made a scapegoat for the Makal county issue. The party members have rights as citizens of South Sudan and some of them are representing the County in the national parliament”, he explained.

He encouraged Shilluk intellectuals to deal with the issue together.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 3 September 2012 06:18, by Loko El Pollo

    KUNG POK IS RIGHT HERE,ALTHOUGH HE IS A MAN WHO WILL SELL HIS KIDS TO GET FOOD IN HIS MOUTH.

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  • 3 September 2012 06:46, by George Bol

    Education will help our citizens in the time to come because we are pond of criticizing ideas and planting hatred on every useful decision.And one thing that we have is that every state and counties are habitated by tribes and so when other tribe leader propose idea,others will thing of tribe/nepotism.

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  • 3 September 2012 07:25, by Michael Miyom Minyiel

    Pagan Amum would have gnawed his decision first before blasting out to the governor.Is it Shiluk Vs Ngok Dinka of Luak yak?the ownership of Marakal(the lost calf town) not Makal has been for Lual Yak Ngok Dinka. Shiluk is claiming this town only after the defection of their traitor Lam Akol in 1991 to Arab.The Governor has done it constitutionally.we the other Dinka in the west should come to yo

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    • 3 September 2012 07:41, by Michael Miyom Minyiel

      If the Shiluk want to deal with the matter collectively as they are told by the Country’s most infuential leader Pagan Amum,what does it mean,it means the unleashing of the other tribe to fight other tribe.Pagan these days wants to mess with crucial matters. Ngok lual Yak are the rightful owners of the town.

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      • 3 September 2012 16:39, by Son of Upper Nile

        See this ignorant trying to blind-fold South Sudanese of other states. How can a city surrounded by Chollo villages from all direction belong to Ngok who also claim Abyei. Just to reveal facts North of Malakal there is Makal Shilluk, Ogud then Wau (Were Mathew Obur hails from)& Lul (Village of Luigi Adwok) before you find any Dinka village. To the South you find Awarjwok (were Dr. Nyaba hails)

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        • 3 September 2012 16:54, by Son of Upper Nile

          then some small village till you reach Obel at Sobat juncture then you find Palo (where Dr. Lam hails)in Panyidwai Payam were also Gen. Oyay Deng is from till Pajuu (were D/Minister Rebecca Joshua hails) untill Anakdiar (after which you find villages of Ngok Dinka of Baliet county. All constituencies inside Malakal whether for SSLA or Upper Nile State assembly are won by Shilluk (they are majority

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          • 3 September 2012 17:01, by Son of Upper Nile

            when SPLM SG say the truth about the realities in Malakal. Some who used to praise him while he defends the rights of South Sudanese want him to do injustice to his native county in order to serve their greed. If the Kun is not tribal minded why he appointed his relative to govern a city against the will of it’s vast majority. Why he didn’t appoint a Shilluk, Dinka or Burun to govern Nasir County?

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          • 3 September 2012 20:54, by Nguetbuny de Luelpiny

            Son of UpperNile you for present history, but those Chollo there were Refugee as Ngok see them. Ngok are very nice people that why they let them stay there. These chollo were running from thier King dispute from Pachoda. Some just come due to hervasted and intermarriage relationship with Ngok. Those Chollo are in Lokjieng,they did not carried the Piny with. Kurnam Ngokland the Chollo are in

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      • 3 September 2012 17:25, by Michael Miyom Minyiel

        If Pagan is inciting then he will be indicted instead.He should be responsible could anything flares up there.decentralization is the means to bring services to the people but why Pagan is for this?

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  • 3 September 2012 07:31, by Paul

    If there are no strings attached, forming a city council is actually an excellent idea. City affairs such as city security, celebrations, environmental hygiene,and meetings are best done by city council rather than the governor, whom his/her duties pertain much to the state affairs. Pagan and his cliques should have known that better.

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  • 3 September 2012 07:37, by Guandong

    Pagan defended the right of SPLM-DC.
    Simon kun was right, the only problem is that Shilluk were since complaining to be the Mayor of Makl bcoz its belong to them. if Simon was wrong why dont u come up before? No DC to talk at this moment as Lam is the leader of malitia in North killing our pple in Jonglei. if u want to joint him, leave our post n go.

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  • 3 September 2012 07:45, by Guandong

    Pagan defended the right of SPLM-DC.
    Shiluk are complaining for the belonging of Malakal. thereby, they said (there is no citizen to be given apiece of land the land of state is finished. this is what Amum is defending to be right. Amum ur pple sharpened u via awrong way.

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  • 3 September 2012 09:34, by Jone2

    The Malakal City Council establishment was strategic decision made by H.E. Governor Major General Simon Kun Puoc for peacefull co-existence and survival of the Upper Nile State as viable in the Republic of South Sudan. The anarchy of the Upper Nile State politics among the contesting tribes has caused lot of development challenges to State.

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  • 3 September 2012 10:50, by Just_Saying

    First of all its Major General (Lack of research from the Editor). People are full of poor criticism, ready to take ownership of something that won’t yield fruits. South Sudan belong to the South Sudanese regardless of your tribe or geographical location. No Pagan I think you fell short in of your criticism. No people of Malakal Payams won’t need visas to come to Malakal same as if you go to Juba!

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  • 3 September 2012 21:29, by Nguetbuny de Luelpiny

    Governor kuon Puc is reducing the two party by bring Nuer that are neutral and Maban-Chai can be given the city council to run it for a while while people looks into Ngok chollo claimed of East-west Bank of the Nile. Next time council appionted should put Maban with Nuer to run the town for a while. Ngok must not allow Collo to have a county on the East bank of the Nile anymore. They like or not

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  • 4 September 2012 03:54, by Samuel Malual

    I think this idiot called Pagan Amum deserve replacement. He is just like a night dogs that bark over any moving shadows.

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  • 4 September 2012 03:58, by Samuel Malual

    Live governor alone, he is doing his job as one of the popular leaders in Upper Nile not like Pagan un-elected member of the house and betrayal of his own people in Shilluk Kingdom.

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    • 4 September 2012 19:43, by Ruach

      The SG is defending the right of DC,no doubt about it!

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