26 November 2012

South Sudan: Western Bahr El Ghazal Governor Dismisses Calls for Resignation

Yambio — The Governor of South Sudan's Western Bahr el Ghazal has rubbished calls for his resignation from sections of the population in the state, over allegations linked to insecurity.

Rizik Zachariah Hassan, in an interview with Sudan Tribune, downplayed the situation, insisting the state was stable and peaceful, but said he had obtained reports alleging that Sudanese troops were amassing troops in the area.

"I am not in Wau [Western Bahr el Ghazal capital]. I have come to Juba to attend [the] governors' forum. [But] The security situation in the state is normal. We have information that the Sudanese armed forces are amassing their troops in Kifia Kinji, Balbala and all the areas around Raja County, but have not carried out attack", Hassan said by phone on Sunday.

However, a proposal by the state government to re-allocate the state administrative headquarters from Wau County to another location, has attracted a lot of opposition from section the population, majority of who claim the move is unconstitutional.

In October, Peter Miskin, the ex-commissioner of Wau County relinquished his position over the decision to transfer the county headquarters.

"I decided to resign because I did not see any reason I should remain in government which does not accept advice. I personally discussed the issue with governor more than three times and told him in all these meetings that the decision to relocate county headquarters was not constitutional", Miskin told journalists in his first media address after resigning.

The ex-commissioner said the governor was "incapable and indecisive" to rule the state, while urging the central government to quickly intervene and restore peace as well as restore the support he claimed the ruling party (SPLM) was losing on the ground.

"Frankly speaking, the governor is the cause of tension. He is not capable of leading the state and must step down. Many people see that he is incompetent and he should get out", Miskin told journalists.

Meanwhile, the second governors' forum kicks off in Juba today. The four-day event, to be facilitated by South Sudan Vice President, Riek Machar, will bring together the 10 state governors, members of the legislature, key ministers and development partners.

Organized by the office of the president, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the forum provides a platform for discussion and action on policies related to political, fiscal and administrative governance issues.

In addition, however, the event offers a space for broader discussion on important issues such as, corruption, post-independence issues and state-level concerns. Held nine times since 2006, this year's forum marks the second time key stakeholders will be meeting as an independent nation under the interim constitution.

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