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Peter Gai Joak

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Peter Gai Joak, Unity state’s minister of education during an interview in Bentiu, 19 Sept. 2013 (ST)

Name: Peter Gai Joak


  • Unity state’s minster of education
  • Deputy Chairperson of South Sudan’s ruling SPLM in Unity State

Career: Joak was appointed as the Commissioner of Payinjiar County in Unity State by the then Governor Taban Deng Gai in 2011. He served until January 2013.

Political Affiliation: Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)

Background: Community members from Nyuong north have criticised Unity State’s Governor Taban Deng Gai for appointing Joak as Payinjiar’s Commissioner.

Some in the area feel that Payinjiar has been poorly dealt with in terms of development and communication networks since the SPLM came to power in the region 2005. In Payinjiar County during the 2010 general elections around six times more people voted for the independent candidate, Angelina Teny, rather than Taban Deng Gai, according to electoral officials. Gai won the overall vote according to the state’s electoral commission but this was strongly contested at the time by Teny and her supporters.

The Payinjiar community has written to the governor many times demanding the removal of current Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Samuel Lony Geng, who also holds the post of deputy chairperson of SPLM in the state. If he was relieved of the one of these positions, people from Payinjiar hope they would be able to have another representative at the top of the state government.

In August 2012 Joak, however, reached a break through in relations in his county by getting the supporters of the governor and the failed candidate for the governorship Angelina Teny, who is the wife of South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, to work together to progress the development in the state.


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