Home | News    Sunday 9 February 2014

N. Bahr el Ghazal threatens to arrest teachers over payment demands

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February 8, 2014 (JUBA) - Teachers and auxiliary staff members in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal state have gone into hiding after authorities reportedly threatened to arrest advocates after they submitted a memo demanding payment for unpaid salaries.

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Teachers in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal state say the quality of education has been allowed to decline under the current administration (Photo: UNICEF/Brian Sokol)

Local officials reportedly blamed the central government for failing to provide adequate funds, workers have claimed.

An official at the state ministry of finance who spoke on condition of anonymity told Sudan Tribune Saturday that the said funds had been diverted to manage the current crisis situation, as well as assist those who have been displaced by the conflict, leaving the government “overstretched”.

“These resources would have otherwise been utilised in our normal and daily operations. The central government is overstretched with emergency responses that it does not promptly attend to issues surrounding budgetary deficits in any state at the moment”, the official said.

“And the state government is trying the best to pay our teachers and the support staff, but they also need to exercise patience and show an understanding. Yes, it is their rights to be paid but they should understand the situation in which we are”, he added.

However, multiple lawmakers and teachers have refuted the government’s version, questioning why state authorities had made selected payments to some employees.

LAWMAKERS RELUCTANT

One legislator, who declined to be identified, claimed lawmakers had decided not to press the state administration on the matter over fears they would be framed as supporters of rebel forces aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar.

“We are now in a completely different situation - a period that if you talk about issues you think are not being addressed by the current administration, you will definitely find yourself being framed as the supporter of the rebel [movement]”, he said.

The legislator said he had personally spoken to the minister of education and several officials at the ministry of finance, who confirmed the governor had pocketed about 2 million South Sudanese pounds (SSP).

“We don’t know what he did with that money, although some people claimed [he] used [it] to support the national army in Jonglei [state] where he went”, he said

ARREST THREATS

A teacher told Sudan Tribune that he and some of his colleagues were summoned by government agents and threatened with arrest, should they release another memo.

In further claims, he accused the state minister of public service and human resources, Bol Tong, of reporting them to national security as rebel supporters and demanding their arrest.

He said the accusations had caught lawmakers by surprise, describing the claims as “completely ridiculous”.

“What is the connection between demanding payment and the rebel [movement]?” he said.

FUNDS SIPHONED

Another teacher said the state government was taking advantage of the current situation to perpetuate malpractice and the embezzlement of public resources in the name of supporting the national army.

“They think we are a fool to be fooled and believe what they say. You cannot bully everyone into your own way of thinking”, he said.

“They are talking of coup, coup, coup and rebellion but who does not know that this was just a plot to continue the looting [of public funds]”, he added.

He claimed presidential officials, including governor Paul Malong Awan, wanted president Salva Kiir to remain to in the office at any cost, despite the erosion essential public services, including education.

“The system of education has been destroyed and they do not want it to be improved because their children [are] in Kenyan and Uganda. They want to be let off the hook. We will not let them off the hook because the people of this country want change”, he said.

(ST)

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  • 9 February 12:12, by blesssing

    I am from Northern Bhar el Ghazal State, the problem is that Director General of Finance Mr. Sebrino Majok (Mr. Smooth) jointly with the Minister of Finance and the others officials are running the business of 25% profit out of civil servants salaries which regularly delay the state salary. It is because traders withdraw the staff salary using replacing the previous loan and refused to give anothe

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    • 10 February 14:45, by kuac Agol

      Blessing, you are either among the traders or among those whom you said to be giving out loans with 25% to do fair business, which I thinks there is no point of calling a good person because that business is not good at all, if the children of teachers are starved due to the lack of 12 SSP to buy 4kgs of sorghum then what is the different between Jonglei and the world of teachers in South Sudan

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  • 9 February 12:20, by blesssing

    The fact is that traders who were issued a cheques have withdraw the staff salary replacing the precious loan and refused to give another loan for payments of the staff fearing the government stability due to December 2013 failed coup attempt. The blame is totally to Director General of finance.

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  • 9 February 16:29, by Whortti Bor Manza

    This is the S.Sudan theoretically advocated for by the SPLM. Malong is busy paying the UPDF. Soon he will find himself at the Haig testifying for war crimes. My fellow country men the Dinkas from Northern Bahr Ghazal, this is the Government you desperately support and die for. After 10 yrs. Aweil will be full of illiterate people. Shame on the SPLM. This is the freedom you fought for.

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  • 9 February 23:53, by Tango Alpha

    why waste time if there is no payment. We do the job to get pay and we get off at works and there will be no payment. However, Northern Bahrel Ghazal state should do the same thing to it own people that if the teacher is in the classroom teaching the student he suppose to get pay.

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  • 10 February 15:49, by Activist # 25

    What do you expect. When a government is run by savages who cannot understand simple ethics of humanity? This is exactly the replication of your SK government. Savages everywhere on this part of South Sudan. So anything from any disgruntled citizen over his or her right deserve arrest???? You people are doomed forever!!

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