August 14, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s former vice-president, Riek Machar Teny, said he was filing a court case against the caretaker governor of Lakes state, Matur Chut Dhuol, over his allegations which he said falsely accused him of corruption and incitement of violence.
- South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar speaks during a news conference after meeting Sudan’s Vice President Ali Osman Taha in Khartoum in 2011 (Reuters)
The caretaker governor in a statement to the media on Wednesday reacted to Machar’s Monday statement which advised him against ordering the organised forces to shoot anyone seen to be carrying a rifle in his state.
Machar said the order violated the constitutional right of legal owners of the rifles and reminded the caretaker governor about his recent state policy which called on the citizens to legally register their rifles.
However, in a press statement published by The Citizen newspaper on Wednesday, 14 August 2013, General Matur Chut overreacted by accusing and attacking the personality of the deputy chairperson of the ruling party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
The caretaker governor accused the ex-VP of allegedly involving in corruption when "he did form a committee to distribute the land right from JIU [Joint Integrated Units] HQRS to Jebel Buma, which have collected a lot of money that was neither remitted to government’s chase nor returned back to the land owners".
Chut who said he was by then the commander of the JIU could not mention the date, month or year or any other factual references related to the alleged committee formed by the ex-vice president with the responsibility to distribute land including ‘Jebel Buma’ in Juba.
Further, the caretaker governor accused the former vice-president of allegedly "using many illegal firearms possessed by citizens along the borders of tri-states [Lakes, Unity and Warrap] as his political weapons to destabilise the administration of the three states inform of cattle raiding and killing of innocent people".
Machar in response to the accusations said they were "rubbish" clarifying that he never formed any such committee before to distribute land in the capital, Juba, adding that he was going to sue the caretaker governor on these false accusations which clearly amounted to an act of defamation punishable by law in accordance with the Penal Code Act, 2008.
He further explained that the national government does not own land in Juba and therefore Central Equatoria state has been the custodian of the land and may only allot a piece of land to the national government through the ministry of Land, Housing and Physical Planning.
On the accusation that he incited violence in the three states, Machar said he was instead very instrumental in promoting peace and reconciliation as well as initiate disarmament processes among the communities in the three states.
The former vice-president and SPLM deputy chairperson informed the general public that the "falsified" accusations uttered by the caretaker governor of Lakes State are baseless and unfounded, stressing that the accuser will have to face the court and provide evidences.
He said he had already consulted his lawyers and shall, without any prejudice to the due process of the law, sue the caretaker governor Major General Matur Chut Dhuol, in order to prove the alleged accusation before a competent court.
The caretaker governor, who signed his name as Governor on his press release, was appointed in February this year by the president of the republic, Salva Kiir Mayardit. He should have organised a gubernatorial election within 60 days (two months) in office in accordance with the provision of the Transitional Constitution of the country.
However, Chut is seven months in office with no sign of organising an election, a matter that observers say, questions the constitutionality and credibility of his office.
Machar while in office as vice-president had been reminding president Kiir as head of state to protect the provisions of the transitional constitution as well as those of the states.