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South Sudan’s Kiir relieves Unity state governor Taban Deng

July 7, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir Mayardit, has relieved Taban Deng Gai from the governorship of Unity state.

Unity State Governor Taban Deng Gai speaks to the media in Bentiu, November 15, 2011 (ST)

Deng has been the governor of the Unity state since his appointment in 2005 and was re-elected in April 2010 elections.

He is the second elected governor to be relieved by a presidential decree after Chol Tong Mayay of Lakes state. Officials in Lakes state said Tong was seen to be closer to the vice-president, Riek Machar.

Kiir has appointed Joseph Nguen Minytuil as Unity state’s caretaker governor.

In a presidential decree issued today, Kiir did not explain the reason for removal of an elected governor.

There have been rumors that the two have fallen out recently as Deng, member of politburo of the ruling pary, SPLM, has opposed to additional term for president Kiir.

The party Secretary General, Pagan Amum, on Friday criticized the president’s decree which suspended the minister of finance, Kosti Manibe Ngai, saying it was politically motivated as Manibe was seen to have been opposed to Kiir’s bid for a third term.

Amum said Manibe was not responsible for the transfer of nearly $8 million allegedly transferred to a bank account abroad per request by former minister Deng Alor Kuol.

The party top administrator warned that such action of relieving officials based on political motivation may generate tensions and even violence.

The South Sudanese constitution allow the president of the republic to relieve the elected governor on national security grounds, but provides that a new election should be organised within 60 days.

President Kiir last January removed Lakes state elected governor, Chol Tong Mayay, on the ground of inter-communal clashes, but the interim appointed governor Matur Chut Dhuol is still in place since six months.