Juba — South Sudan's Wau county commissioner, Elia Kamilo Dimo, on Friday urged those protesting against the moving of the county headquarters to observe the law.
Wau county of Western Bahr el Ghazal state had its headquarters in Wau town since the Sudanese civil war which ended in 2005. However, the state cabinet in October passed a resolution instructing the county commissioner to move the headquarters to its original location in Bagari, following creation of municipality and appointment of a mayor.
Jur River county, which had its headquarters in the same town was relocated to Nyinakok on 22 October after it was also instructed to move.
Former Wau county commissioner, John Peter Miskin, rejected the call to move the headquarters, describing it as "unconstitutional" and resigned.
His move prompted the subsequent protests by youth groups.
Officials from the government including governor Rizik Zachariah Hassan argue that the cabinet decision was constitutional, as it was meant to take services to closer to people in the rural areas in order to manage rural-urban migration.
"There is this mentality of using local people as scapegoats by some politicians to cover up their failures when they are dismissed from the government. This practice is killing a lot and must not be allowed. There are people using youths to cause chaos [...] to draw the attention of the government, so that they can get what they want. They see violence as an easy way to get it," said Dimo.
Dimo made the remarks in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Friday during which he explained that some youths from the area have "unilaterally" decided to block major roads in the area and "falsely" reported the government to the United Nations mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
"They have forgotten that this is the government which they elected themselves. It is their government and they have the right to sit down and discuss with authorities issues of concerns instead of going to outsiders with false accusations, just because some people are using them," said Dimo.
He claimed one of the reasons why the headquarters of the two counties was moved was because they were occupying school premises.
He also accused his predecessor and other high-level politicians from the area of instigating the youth to demonstrate and block roads leading out to Western Equatoria state and areas including Baggari and Raja county.
According to Dimo, Miskin "did not call meetings with chiefs and intellectuals from the area to clearly explain to them the decision to relocate the headquarters of Jur River and Wau counties."
Dimo said he held a successful meeting on Friday with chiefs, payam [district] administrators and intellectuals from the area to brief them on the cabinet decision to relocate the county headquarters and why he thinks it will benefit the local population.
According to Dimo despite invitations being sent out, some chose not to attend the event. However, "they have heard our call and the road to Raja has now been opened. We are also in discussions with them so that other roads are opened."