April 14, 2014 (RUMBEK) – A groups of activist and civil society groups in the Lakes state capital, Rumbek, have put more pressure on the caretaker governor, Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol, to resign over the way he has run the state since he was appointed in January 2012.
The past 14 months have seen the harassment and intimation of young people and the public, Lakes state activists say, as well the resumption of inter-clan clashes.
Juol Nhomngek, said that “the problem is not the people of Lakes State but leadership. Leaders are the problem because mostly leaders concentrate on what they think to be best for themselves not the community. Leaders build big houses and swimming pools and marrying with many cows but people are dying of preventable diseases."
Since South Sudan’s independence from Sudan in 2011 there has not been any transformation in the lives of people in Lakes state.
Lakes state’s democratically elected governor Chol Tong Mayay was removed from power by president Salva Kiir under his constitutional powers that allow him to replace governors for reasons of national and internal security.
An election should have been held within three months, according to South Sudan’s transitional constitution but no elections are planned until the 2015 general elections.
Manyiel Wugol, a student from Lakes state says he is annoyed but not surprised by the atmosphere in Lakes state.
With no fact-finding committee formed to investigate incidents of lawlessness in the state, he says beating and looting has become a daily routine.
“[I] am not at all surprised; four years ago senior government officials, including military officers, were thoroughly beaten up by the same unprofessional soldiers during Gen Daniel Awet Akot time,” he said.
The recently appointed advisor for gender and human rights affairs in South Sudan’s Lakes state was severely beaten last Saturday after security agents raided her home as part of a weapons search.
According to eyewitness accounts, Mapuor was beaten with a gun after she questioned why her bodyguard was being disarmed without prior warning from the governor. Security officers also reportedly threatened to kill her bodyguard during the incident.
Mapuor was evacuated on Sunday to Western Bahr el Ghazal state for medical treatment.
Manyang Mador Koch, said that “this is unlawful and unacceptable behaviour from our security forces. First, violent against women is condemned internationally. Madam Adak Mapuor falls in this category being a woman. Secondly, our country is fighting itself, if government forces continue by committing such brutalities against citizens, then possibilities of forcing people to join the rebellion are there”.
However, Lakes state minister of information and communication said that state governor Dhuol has instructed the police commissioner to arrest those responsible for Costa’s humiliation. As yet nobody has been arrested.
“The government under governor Matur Chut Dhuol is investigating the cause of how Advisor was beaten, there is already instruction by Governor that those involved should be arrested,” said Nanga
A Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer, who requested anonymity, said that they did not receive any instructions from the governor for any arrests to be made.
“We are not inform by governor to arrested any person in regard to advisor Adak Costa Mapuor being beaten – everyone in CID is not aware,” said the officer.
On Friday, 4 April, a group of 57 lawmakers launched a reconciliation process in a bid to quell inter-clan clashes in South Sudan’s Lakes state as calls grow for the governor to resign.
A team of lawmakers from the nation’s capital, Juba, joined state MPs in Cueibet county where about 50 people were killed last week in clashes between the Panyar and Waat at Tiatiap payam (district).
Pastoralist youths, however, have rejected the efforts of lawmakers, demanding that Lakes state’s military caretaker governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol be removed.
Community and traditional leaders in Lakes’ state’s Rumbek North county subsequently convened a special reconciliation meeting last month aimed at easing tensions between the to ease tensions between the two clans, in which parties resolved to work together for “stability and togetherness as brothers”.
Police insist that young people and the wider public refuse to share information with them, blaming the poor relationship between the administration and the people of Lakes state.
Under South Sudan’s constitution, an election should be held within 90 days should the president remove a governor. However, this has yet to occur in the country’s three states where governors were removed last year.
Meanwhile, in a communique issued on 31 March, Lakes state’s administration condemned the outbreak of violence in mid-December last year, which has plunged the country into crisis, reiterating its support for the Salva Kiir-led government.