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South Sudan’s Kiir seeks to contain growing political crisis in Upper Nile state


February 19, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s president has asked Upper Nile state’s governor Simon Kun Puoc to reverse the expulsion of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s (SPLM) secretary-general at the branch office in the state, a move seen as an attempt to resolve a simmering political dispute between the two officials, according to a senior government source.

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South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir (Reuters)

The presidential source, who spoke to Sudan Tribune on condition of anonymity, also quoted Kiir as calling on the governor not to be influenced by emotions and to retract his decision to expel SPLM secretary-general John Kor Dieu.

He also asked for the reversal of a number of other contentious decrees, including the closure of the state assembly and dismissal of parliament members.

In a letter dated 28 January 2013, which was copied to various senior figures in the ruling party, the governor asked Dieu to leave Upper Nile state within 72 hours, warning that he would face severe consequences if he failed to do so.

“Call and sit down with him so that you resolve it peacefully. Do not let other things be added. I have been told that the secretary-general has already asked you to resolve it. I think this is the way it should be handled, just retract [the decision] so that it avoids creating tension”, Kiir reportedly told Puoc.

The president is said to have given the advice at a meeting with Puoc on Tuesday, during which he was briefed on the general situation in the state and measures being taken by the state administration.

Speaking to reporters shortly after meeting Kiir on Tuesday in Juba, Puoc said he had briefed the president on security and other issues, including construction of a road linking South Sudan with neighbouring Ethiopia from Fangak, food production in the area and internal administrative matters.

Puoc acknowledged that Kiir had asked him to retract his decision regarding the secretary-general before adding that the matter was related to internal administrative issues which he did not want to discuss with the media.

“These are administrative issues. We will [keep] them as administrative matters and I believe a solution will be found. They will be addressed”, Puoc told reporters, without providing further details.

Attempts to expel Dieu came after the governor accused him of collaborating with members of the country’s main opposition party - the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) - to destabilise the state.

The SPLM frequently accuse the SPLM-DC, which broke away from the former rebel movement in 2009, of being backed by the government of neighbouring Sudan, from which the South seceded in 2011.

In an interview with Sudan Tribune earlier this month, Dieu said the governor’s allegations against him were “nonsense” and had been “cooked up”, adding that Puoc wants to run Upper Nile like his “personal property” and had no regard for the rule of law.

The state governor is yet to react to an ultimatum by senior government officials giving him four conditions to resolve the conflict in a reasonable period of time, otherwise they will recommend his removal to the president.

Among those on Monday to petition the president to intervene, in what has been described as a crisis in the state, were South Sudan’s minister of national security in the office of the president, General Oyay Deng Ajak, chairperson of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission Peter Lam Both, deputy minister of water resources and irrigation Ali Keta, as well as ambassador Ezekiel Gatkuoth Lol.

Members of parliament in the National Legislative Assembly in Juba representing different counties in the state were also on the list of top-level government officials calling for the president’s immediate intervention and accusing the governor of unilaterally closing the state parliament and dismissing the heads of specialised committees and the deputy speaker without legal basis.

“If the governor cannot comply, we would be left with no option but recommend his [dismissal] from the state before [the] situation could escalate further”, the letter which Sudan Tribune has seen reads in part. Some of the conditions which the president is asked to address include:

• Resolving the problems in Upper Nile between the governor and SPLM secretariat
• Reinstating of chairpersons of the specialised committee who were dismissed by the governor and deputy speaker without due process of the law.
• Reinstating of the government chief whip in the state parliament.
• And withdrawal of his letter ordering the SPLM secretary to leave the state within 72 hours.


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  • 20 February 2013 03:36, by Michael Angelo

    Dear readers,
    As it often said, absolute power corrupt absolutely. I have to express my disappointment start with the president himself.Giving too much power to the president and governors was wrong in the first place. The so called South Sudan transitional constitution ought to be reviewed and have some powers that the president and governors have reduced if we want to lives peacefully.

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    • 20 February 2013 04:46, by Bolman

      I confuse I don’t understand what kind of position Salva Kiir have he the President or a Governor to dictating all the entired Country this Guy he don’t know what to do by himself as the President he doesn’t even understanding the term of presidency he better to go back to Gorial Couty and testing there to be a chiefdom of Gorial Community not "ROSS" he better to rule Gorial not even all Dinkas

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      • 20 February 2013 05:18, by Mi diit

        Governor Simon Kun Puoch has no right to expel from state the SPLM party secretary since he is not the chairman of the party in the state. But confusions as usual arise among the governors and president.

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      • 20 February 2013 10:36, by Peter Mading

        This is not the issue of SSTC or powers of President but this is an issue with barbaric nature of your Governor Pouc and politicians from UNS please read the letter seen by Sudan tribune and resolutions made to HE the President. Your are wrong adviser to Pouc. Otherwise Pouc is creating more havoc. Remember Complaint from Donjol community has not be addressed. Pouc should also resolve it.

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      • 20 February 2013 13:35, by Turism

        Bolman, your hatre to this nation will let you not achieve what you want, how can you talk of the president to rule gogrial not s. sudan, [pliz try to partriot to your nation not to discriminate people like such expression you made, kiir is not the president of gogrial but south sudan in general avoid that act if you have ears.

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    • 20 February 2013 08:36, by MJriaksdca

      The SPLA is ruling with a tight rope the country. the more this way of ruling continue, SPLA will loose support comes election. If they want to succeed, let them rule according to laws. Remember,in a bureaucratic government people are not serving a political slave master, but the law and the country. Starting with president all the way to commissioners, they want themselves served and honored. No!

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  • 20 February 2013 03:59, by JAMES KUOI STEPHEN

    Mediators should be increase,because the country become independent country,which demand more Mediators to solve the problems.The president and Vice should also,be active and proactive decision making,where their proposals will be productive and prosper among the community.Solve all problems with the Spirit of liberation.Don’t loose camradeship suffering from external crissi.

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  • 20 February 2013 05:06, by master

    at the brink of collapes

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  • 20 February 2013 05:18, by ksimon

    It good step by president to let state itself work on that issue. What is connection with governor and SPLM secretary? If they do know, why not stop that before escalate. Huuuuum, I wouldn’t blame any of them because they all are above the laws not guide by a laws of the land. Simply above the South Sudan "constitution" that is why government of South Sudan always have a problem.

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  • 20 February 2013 05:20, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    I saw deeply crises in upper nile over politic. They forgotten of Arab invade their montherland of Upper Nile.

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  • 20 February 2013 05:40, by ksimon

    I do think none of them knows what is doing special "parliamentary" (LA)in Upper Nile state. never heard a Legislative assembly of the country or states can shutdown because the governor left the country.its big threat to government itself by allowing the governor to do so except an emergency.Otherwise Upper Nile state is going to have a problem very soon.

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    • 20 February 2013 06:36, by julia

      simon kun Puoc,said he cann,t reveal the matter of expulsion of SPLM sec. From Upper Nile is internal adm.issue he cann,t share it with the media,then there is no problem with SG state at all.
      It is a food issue,he have taken huge amount for his personal food purchasing.bro,s in upper Nile pls be carefully,defend ur son John Koor Dhieu.simon ,ve miss the point.

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    • 20 February 2013 06:47, by viper

      What do you expect to happen if you are in a vehicle driven by a blind man? Every one will do what pleases him/her because the driver is not seeing. They may start sitting randomly, touching sensitive machines, taking off, and even stopping the vehicle without reason. Kiir is a blind driver that has allowed those thugs under him to give natives an ultimatum to leave the state within 72 hrs as was

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      • 20 February 2013 06:53, by viper

        Done by this illiterate governor of upper Nile state. Can you believe this! A native of the state given the ultimatium to leave the state! Where will he go to? Will he go abroad? Or join the murle militias? What of his family? Will they go with him? Shame on miyardit

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        • 20 February 2013 08:22, by omoni jr.

          you are only intellectual i see here bro.
          One day one time you will rule this beloved country.
          God bless brother.

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          • 20 February 2013 09:10, by Son of Upper Nile

            It’s unfortunate that my beloved state which is only second to Central Equatoria in qualified cadre & the richest state in the whole South where we have oil, Irrigated farming, Gum & livestock, beside two among the best Airports in South Sudan is let down by SPLM by forcing Simon Kun to be it’s governor. A man with no vision, no administrative & security capabilities, dictator & tribalist.

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            • 20 February 2013 09:21, by Son of Upper Nile

              Were people like Prof. Adwok Nyaba, Gabriel Changson Chang, Stephen Dieu, Dr. William Othowon, Duer Tut, Yuanis Yor Akol better possible governors than him, or Gen. Oyay Deng Ajak, Gen. James Hoth Mai or Gen. Gatluak Deng if the matter needs a military governor

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        • 20 February 2013 08:28, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

          Foolish like you can just blame the wrong person even if he don’t have anything to do with it,
          What direction have your poor and uneducated food lover father ever achieved? Jealousy will never leave you alone menth Aguac, you are fake to insult long time leader for no reason, where were those educated ppl during the war? They all want to Khartoum for food,
          Death to food lover, if we know idiot?

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          • 20 February 2013 08:46, by Kurnyel

            Cheap policies of Lakes State cannot be transported to Upper Nile that is a zone of men this little man called Kiir cannot joke with El Nile people. What make people of Lakes State to be push around is because they do not have rebels to threat Kiir and his waraps cabinets

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          • 20 February 2013 10:24, by julia

            Dinka dominated splm/a.
            U re really a employed Abyei agent to create hatred amongst s.sudanese after ur bro Luka Biong aka Rommel withdrawed in the web.if u re nof so fool,trawling mouth munching pug,u won,t say u ve inked now.re u better off in liberation more than those u insut mention about like Oyai &Hoth mai.change ur atitude dude.

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        • 20 February 2013 10:02, by Jalaby

          I believe Mr. Viper is Dinka Ngok, I believe he studied and got part of (if not all) his education in the north and interacted with northern people deeply that’s why he writes what makes sense and not close minded like the majority of southerners on this forum who are so naive people and you can easily buy their brain with small piece of candy!!

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          • 20 February 2013 11:44, by okucu pa lotinokwan

            Jalaby you are always after any bad ideas on the South Sudanes or the leaders,forget soon Omer will run away I do not know whom are you going to follow again as that Arab man coming into power will not have any agreement with you to be in Khartoum again or I will Host you under Loti ranges.

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  • 20 February 2013 08:50, by Wad Pwodh

    What the government officials either at the state or at the national level should understand there was an election which was conducted in this country even thus most of them were brought in by hand they should respect that process through which they were brought in

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  • 20 February 2013 09:30, by Turism

    what a great mess btn governor and the president? is so called SPLM party for some people or for all members? if party is for individuals then party will soon be collapse!

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    • 20 February 2013 13:44, by Pure Nationalist

      Foriegners serving in diplomatic missions are given deadline to leave the country incase of polical raw b/n the the countries, while citizens are always given arrest warrant by their authorities. Can these group who sieze power without knowledge get a copy of civic used by their neighbor Ethiopia to prevent them from abusing their power? God give them wisedom to rule us properly.

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  • 20 February 2013 15:33, by Positive Thinker

    Guys what is happening in uns is not good for splm party and the nation. Kunpuoc must learn to respect other leaders. Team work is needed than working individually. Two brains are better than one. Wisdom does not come with being senior, but with humility.

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  • 21 February 2013 21:31, by Peter Malith

    Sorry for misleading Leaders who do not read and analysis the interim Constitution for the south Sudan.
    There is a need for the governors to be given Leadership skills orientation on how to manage the people not posing their own interest to people by acting maliciously with out analysis the situation and complication of the cases.
    The government has three wings,Executive,legislation & Judiciary.

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