September 10, 2013 (AGOK) - The governor of South Sudan’s border state of Western Bahr el Ghazal, Rizik Zachariah Hassan, unexpectedly sacked the mayor Wau town on Monday.
- Governor of W. Bahr el Ghazal Rizik Zachariah Hassan speaking in Wau, 15 December 2012 (Source: Justin Saleh, Press Secretary to W. Bahr el Ghazal Governor Rizik Zachariah Hassan)
Mayor Michael Gaeba Ukel, was replaced by Arkenjelo Anyar Anyar the state’s former minister for youth, sports and culture in an order signed by Hassan.
The move follows allegations that Ukel was part of a group purported to have conspired to remove Hassan from the office in 2012, through the instigation of youth protests in rejection of the relocation of the Wau county headquarters to Bagari, some 12 miles southwest of the state capital.
A separate order saw appointment of former minister of local government, Angelo Taban Biajo as the new Wau county commissioner, replacing Elia K. Kamilo, who was appointed in 2012 to replace John Peter Miskin, who resigned from the post in objection to relocation of the county headquarters.
No reasons were cited in the order explaining circumstances which necessitated the removal of the two officials and the subsequent appointment of new officials.
An aide to governor Hassan told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that it is the prerogative of the governor to appoint and remove officials in public offices whenever he sees fit.
He pointed to the controversial events of December 2012, where protesters are alleged to have been shot at by members of the South Sudan security forces.
"The governor is not obligated by the state constitution to provide any reason for making changes. He does not need to provide any reason. So I want to state clearly that it is within the prerogative of the governor to make changes whenever the situation necessitates for the benefit of our people in the state”, the aide told Sudan Tribune.
The official, who did not want to be identified, declined to comment on whether the two officials could be given a new assignment in the next cabinet, saying it was not his job to speculate on issues he does not have direct control over.
“Closeness to the appointing authority is one and taking decision is completely another. So I do not need to speculate on whether the comrades who have been affected by the changes would be given new assignments or not, because I do not have direct control of the decision made by the appointing authority. I am just there as one of the cadres”, he said.
The new Wau municipality mayor confirmed his appointment, pledging his readiness to work with the state governor to help him succeed.
"Yes, I have been appointed. I thank the governor for the trust and the new assignment”, Arkenjelo Anyar Anyar, told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday. He did not provide additional comments delving into circumstances behind his appointment.