December 21, 2013 (JUBA)- The community in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal state have reiterated calls for immediate removal of their governor, Paul Malong Awan.
- Northern Bahr el Ghazal governor Paul Malong Awan (paulmalongforgovernor)
"We would like to inform the people of South Sudan and the global community that our community does not support violence as a means to remain in power or get to power”, the community said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Saturday.
We are peaceful community and this can be proved by the fact that our people have repeatedly been denied constitutional rights to choose their own leaders by the successive leaderships, it added.
The group, in their statement, also denounced any form of violence by authorities in power or those intending to ascend to the helm.
South Sudan has, in the past one week, witnessed various incidences of violence, which initially started in the capital, Juba before spreading to other parts of the country.
Over 500 people have been killed and nearly 30,000 displaced in what government says was a failed coup attempt by groups loyal to the ex-vice-president, Riek Machar, who denies these allegations.
NO ARMY INTERFERENCE
The Northern Bahr el Ghazal community also called on their members serving in both the organised forces and the national army, to not accept any order or directive that contravenes standard code of conducts or goes against the constitution.
“We congratulate our sons and daughters in the SPLA and in the police serve for their participation during the years of liberation struggle. We do so because they did it out of patriotism”, it noted.
“They were fighting a just war for a just cause”, added their statement, which further warned against individual interests.
The leadership of Governor Awan, a close ally of President Kiir, has been in the spotlight for long; with several citizens openly criticising is ability to rule since his controversial election in 2010.
Many have accused him of allegedly running the state like a one man property, without consultation his subjects.
“We clearly stated it very well in the resolutions of our last conference that the only way to unite our people and restore harmony is for the president to remove governor Malong Awan or make him resign,” the community stressed in their statement.
“This position has not changed. Malong must go. This remains our stance and it will never change come what may”, adds the statement.
Analysts and observers, however, say repeated failure by the leadership, particularly the president to promptly and appropriately address concerns by the Aweil community, would have strong political bearing on the relations with the central administration.
The governor’s continuous on the functions of the legislature; frequent arrest and detention of political opponents in an attempt to silence them, among others are some of his political misgivings.
In March 2011, Awan arrested nine political opponents on clumsy allegations that they authored an anonymous memo calling for demonstrations against the performance of the state administration.
The officials, who included a senior military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Garang Jong Akoon, were later released without charge after spending more than three months behind bars, with no legal representation and limited access by their family members.
In 2012, he unconstitutionally removed speaker of the state legislative, Aguer Wol Aguer, claiming his action was necessitated by the need to preserve unity within the house after individual members allegedly acting on his directives, petitioned the removal.
Six other members in the state assembly saw their party memberships terminated in the same year on unfounded allegations that they were collaborating with other political parties in the house against activities of the SPLM. They also lost their parliamentary seats.
President Kiir, early this year, issued administrative directives asking Awan to reinstate the speaker and six other members after a resolution that was passed by the national council of states.
Awan, however, ignored the president’s directives, claiming the speaker’s removal did not involve him. He further said the six suspended members would only be reinstated when given directive from the ruling party’s national secretariat.