By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
November 15, 2012 (KAMPALA) – The Governor of South Sudan’s Unity State, Taban Deng Gai on Wednesday sacked two ministers and the Commissioner of Parieng County, after they were alleged to be creating division among citizens and members of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the area.
Despite numerous attempts, Sudan Tribune was unable to reach Governor Gai on Thursday to explain the reasons behind the three dismissals. The contentious issue between the three politicians was the nomination of an SPLM Youth League (SPLM-YL) leader at the county level for which each put forward their own candidate creating tension among the young people in the area.
Last month, the now former Parieng Commissioner, Mabeak Lang Bilkuey, was accused of arresting youth from the area who had criticised him. In an interview with Sudan Tribune on Thursday Bilkuey denied intimidating the county’s youth but confirmed he had been relieved from his position as commissioner.
Bilkuey who currently acts as the chairman of SPLM in Parieng County, said that the Governor has sacked him and the two ministers had because they could not resolve a dispute between them.
The sacked Unity State ministers were, Them Machar Kuol, former minister of education and James Monyjuec former minister for youths and sport. Both ministers were appointed after the 2010 elections.
The reason given by Governor for the triple dismissal, according to Bilkuey, who served as Commissioner for eight years, was the "differences between me and the two ministers [...] could not solved".
"The problem is just within the leadership of Parieng”, he said, adding that after the Governor’s decision the three politicians would "be working toward unity among themselves on party vision rather than to make division".
Bilkuey said, they would hold a forum to iron out their differences. The Governor is said to be consulting on who to appoint as the new Commissioner in Parieng, where the community has long wanted to replace Bilkuey.
The ruling SPLM has never held a state-wide party meeting for its Unity State leadership, resulting in many divisions between top officials in the state.
Members of the SPLM in Unity State complain that the executive often intimidates the caucus of the SPLM at county-level in order implement policies and decisions.