July 21, 2016 (JUBA) - The Governor of Lol, one of South Sudan’s new states, has sacked several officials from their posts over defections and switching of allegiance.
- Members of South Sudan’s parliament sing the national anthem during the reopening of parliamentary sessions in the capital, Juba, on 11 June 2012 (Photo: Giulio Petrocco/AFP/Getty)
Governor Rizik Zachariah Hassan, according to an order issued on Tuesday, has removed Sumeya Adut Deng from her position as deputy governor without replacement.
The Governor, in a separate order, also relieved information minister, Francis Piol Bol Buk. The minister was replaced with Angelo Wol Mawien, former press secretary in the office of former Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, Kuel Aguer Kuel, Governor Rizik’s ally.
Two other officials were also affected by the changes which occurred less than six months since the appointments were made. It remains unclear what prompted the governor’s decision and his office has not issued any official statement from his office.
The changes occurred at the time senior government officials in the area, who have not returned to Raja, the administrative headquarters of the new state, when it came under the attack of armed gunmen, declared to have switched allegiance and joined armed opposition faction under the leadership of the first vice president, Riek Machar.
The defected officials, all from Raja, include mayor of Raja town James Benjamin, Sebastiano Kornelio, Karlo Augustino, the director of police in Raja, and the medical director of Raja hospital Benson Taban. 25 other people from the military and the citizens also left with the officials.
The motives of their defections remain a subject of speculation. Some sources interpreted the defection to mean protest of joining the area with the two counties inhabited by members of ethnic Dinka Malual who were carved out of the defunct Northern Bahr el Ghazal and joined with the raja to form Lol state.
The natives of Raja had preferred to remain in Wau or be allowed to have a state of their own without annexing them to ethnic Dinka. Traditional leaders have argued that they have nothing in common with the Dinka.
Others attributed the cause to personal ambitions and differences with governor Rizik.