December 24, 2013 (JUBA) - Senior members of parliament from South Sudan’s Warrap state have accused the government’s chief whip of stirring ethnic hatred, allegedly in defence of mounting opposition against the leadership of state governor Nyandeng Malek.
A letter dated 4 December, bearing the signatures of deputy speaker Gabino Kiir and head of the women’s parliamentary caucus committee, both of whom hail from Gogrial East county, argues that comments attributed to the chief whip, Simon Deng Mawien, constitute a national security threat.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by Sudan Tribune, calls on parliamentary speaker Madot Madut Deng to convene leadership meeting so that the issue can be discussed.
Legislators accuse Mawien of inciting conflict between the Twic and Apul communities, after he allegedly declared war.
“We the members of parliament from Gogrial East county request your authority to please table the above-mentioned subject for leadership meeting. The aim is to seek more clarification from Hon. Simon Deng Mawien why he decided to declare war”, the letter reads.
Legislators have expressed concerns that such remarks pose a serious security threat between the two communities, considering Mawien is a community leader.
“Simon Deng Mawien’s words could not be ignored, because he has the authority, and above all he is a community leader, so his decision can go through”, it points out.
Sudan Tribune was not able to independently verify the claims and attempts to reach him on Monday were unsuccessful.
A legislator from Tonj South county said there remained considerable political differences in Warrap, with the majority of parliamentary members from Gogrial East opposed to the activities of the state government.
“There are a lot of problems in this state which require immediate attention from the central government, particularly [the] president himself. Our problems have accumulated to a considerable boiling political temperature. Now the utterances of the government chief whip are a clear threat to the national security as they may deliberately or inadvertently set the stage for subversion”, a lawmaker who did not want to be identified told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.
“It appears that these utterances were politically designed to incite our people from other geopolitical zones against themselves and also calculated to promote ethnic disharmony”, he added.
The local branch of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Warrap state last month demanded the removal of governor Malek, saying the state had lost confidence in her leadership.
The conflict between the governor and SPLM officials in the state stems from the 30 October cabinet reshuffle.
SPLM officials say they requested the governor submit the names of the new appointees for vetting, but she denied, going on to form her new cabinet without parliamentary approval.
While the governor insists the changes she made were “minor”, legislators maintain her actions were in violation of the constitution.