October 14, 2013 (JUBA) - The governor of South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal state, Rizik Zachariah Hassan has dismissed allegations of an existing dispute with his education minister, Morris Yel Akol.
- Rizik Zachariah Hassan, Governor of Western Bahr el Ghazal State (Photo UN)
Earlier reports, prior to the governor’s response, had alleged that he recently instigated a petition opposing Akol’s ministerial appointment.
The new education minister previously served as deputy governor.
“The general security situation in the state is quiet and peaceful. There is no problem at the moment. The new cabinet represents all faces of our communities and they have mandate to deliver services and unite our people,” Hassan said on Sunday.
Peace and unity among our people is one of our priorities so that there is stability in the area for the people to pay maximum attention to the development, he added.
The governor made these remarks at a graduating ceremony organised for Juba university students from his state, who recently completed studies. Several lawmakers and senior military officers attended the occasion in the capital, Juba.
Governor Hassan in September removed Akol from being his deputy and appointed him as education minister despite protest by some politicians he allegedly instigated to lodge a complaint against him.
The petitioners, all from Jur River County where the minister hails from claimed the latter was not a native of the area and that he came from neigbouring Warrap state making him ineligible for appointment.
“It is our hope that the entire people of Western Bahr el Ghazal shall absolutely reject the appointment of Morris Yel in that key position in the state government as our representative”, the petitioners said in a release signed 12 officials, who included MP and cabinet ministers.
The petitioners also accused Akol, who served as state minister of finance and physical infrastructure of allegedly causing divisions among citizens in Jur county, a claim we Sudan Tribune could not independently verify.
Between 2005 and 2007, new education minister was reportedly the secretary general for Warrap under its former governor Tor Deng Mawien, a fact the petitioners says makes the former unfit to be appointed a minister in Western Bahr el Ghazal.
"We the people of Jur River County would like to ascertain and confirm our solid stand behind the leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) under the leadership of Salva Kiir Mayardit, president of the republic of South Sudan and the chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)", the petition read in part.
It however remains unclear what steps the governor will undertake in response to the petitioners’ demands.