February 28, 2013 (RUMBEK) – The newly appointed governor of South Sudan’s Lakes state, Matur Chut Dhuol has banned the sale of alcohol; a move that will deprive citizens, mostly women of their daily income source.
In an order issued on Monday, Dhuol also instructed members of the security forces to arrest on sight anyone found drinking, either in town or in the cattle camps.
However, several women groups, mainly comprising those who lost their husbands during the long civil war with Sudan, have protested the governor’s decision to ban their alcohol brewing businesses in the state.
Rebecca Ayen, whose husband died in last year’s fight between South Sudan army (SPLA) and the northern army in the disputed border region of Heglig expressed dismay at the governor’s orders.
“I have four children and I use to sell alcohol so that I get some money to pay for their school fee and their clothes, I buy food and drug through this selling of alcohol. It is very difficult to get another source of income to help my children,” Ayen told Sudan Tribune.
The arrival of the new governor, she alleged, has worsened life in the state, citing the arbitrary arrest of youth by security forces and restrictions posed on people in the state.
Ever since his appointment a month ago, the new governor vowed to put in place a number of security reforms to restore peace and stability in Lakes, a region prone to conflicts and cattle raids.
Moses Ater, a member of the court in Rumbek, the Lakes states capital wondered under what law the governor imposed the ban on alcohol sale in the region.
He said, “Which law did he [governor] apply? Is it sharia law or any other law?”
Meanwhile, more than 10 people were on Sunday arrested inside Rumbek Central market, on suspicion of drinking alcohol. Reports, however, indicated that the Rumbek Central county commissioner, Abraham Mayen Kuc ordered for their arrest, a claim he denied.
“I did not give any order for arresting any person under [the] influence of alcohol and [at] the same-time, I will not tell you who gave order”, Kuc told Sudan Tribune.
The commissioner, however, said all these were efforts the state government was putting in place to combat all forms of insecurity in the region.
“We will not allow any chance for those who break the law”, he stressed.
In Rumbek East County, for instance, authorities have issued a ban on drinking of alcohol in social gatherings and ceremonies to curb the rising levels of insecurity in the area.