Sudan: Western Bahr El Ghazal Governor Denies Intimidation Over Wau County Transfer

Juba — The governor of Western Bar El Ghazal state, Rizik Zachariah Hassan, has vehemently denied reports claiming that he has been using suppressive measures to impose the transfer of Wau county headquarters to Bagari payam [district], 12 miles south west of the state capital, Wau.

Hassan made the remark during a press briefing shortly after meeting South Sudan's president Salva Kiir on Monday in Juba. Hassan said he is in Juba to brief Kiir on the general situation in the state including objection to the state council of ministers resolution instructing Jur River and Wau county commissioners to relocate outside the town.

Hassan said he gave Kiir "clarifications on some of the reports which have been circulating around in the media and general public, particularly the objection of Wau county community to the transfer of the county to original its original place in Bagari," Hassan told reporters after meeting Kiir on Monday.

He dismissed claims that he is threatening members of Wau county opposed to the transfer of the headquarters, explaining that moving Wau headquarters was an implementation of the constitution in line with the vision of the country's governing Sudan People's Liberation Movement which advocates taking services to the people.

"The national and the state constitutions spell out clearly that city and municipalities are to be based within the towns while county headquarters, payam and boma [sub-district] down to other low levels of the local government must be in place accessible to the rural population. So this decision to transfer the country headquarters is constitutional. The decision was also endorsed by the council of ministers and majority members of state assembly," Hassan explained.

He accused unspecified people of mobilising the citizens against the cabinet's decision by deliberately refusing to explain the benefits which the transfer of the headquarters brings to the rural community.

He explained great efforts were being made to sensitize communities to restore calm and to implement the decision after the parliament puts it into law.

"I will meet with all community members from Western Bahr el Ghazal here in Juba to brief them also about general situation and update them on the same situation and what the government in the state has done to address some of the issues like the issue of the transfer of county headquarters to the rural areas so that they are near communities," said Hassan.

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