9 February 2013

Sudan: Dismissal of Lakes' Information Minister Ordered By Kiir

Rumbek — The military caretaker Governor of Lakes state has distanced himself from Friday's sacking of Lakes state's former information minister, after a letter has emerged from South Sudan's president to the previous Governor demanding Mayen's dismissal.

Lakes State's Minister of Information and Communcations, Charles Badiri Mayen, in Rumbek, October 23, 2012 (ST)

In a letter send to the former Governor Chol Tong Mayay on January 17 president Salva Kiir wrote: "I am ordering you in strongest terms to forthwith relief the Minister of Information in Lakes State, Ho. Charles Mayan Badiri."

Kiir accused Mayan of denying the Deputy Speaker of South Sudan's parliament Daniel Awet Akot, "access to the media to address the citizens of Lakes during his recent visit."

The Director of Radio Rumbek had been "arbitrarily suspended", Kiir's letter said, for allowing Akot to deliver his message of "goodwill".

Akot, who doubles as the chairperson of of South Sudan's ruling party - the SPLM - in the state, caused controversy in September when sacked the Moses Malou Majok as the SPLM's secretary general in Lakes state and replaced him with Mabur Ater Dhuol.

After a four-month delay, Dhuol was sworn in this week in a ceremony that was boycotted by the SPLM's State Liberation Council making it unconstitutional according to some politicians but this has been refuted by Akot.

Earlier this week Akot said that he would never forgive Mayen, after he did not allow the state chairperson to broadcast a statement about his reasons for appointing Mabor Ater Dhuol as the new SPLM state secretary.

Akot said Thursday ahead of Mayen's sacking: "I will forgive everyone who had objected [to] my decision to appoint [Mabor Ater Dhuol as SPLM state] secretary but I will not forgive that man, Charles Badiri Mayen, no matter whatsoever. If God come from heaven to earth, Charles deserves not to be forgiven."

The former Lakes state Governor Chol Tong Mayay had not executed the order before he was himself was dismissed by Kiir a fews days later. No reasons have been given for Mayay's sacking but it is believed to be due to his inability to improve security in the state, which has been blighted by cattle raids, banditry and revenge attacks between armed youth.

Kiir' in his capacity as the national Chairperson of the SPLM order Mayay " to desist from interfering with activities of the SPLM Party in the State, and give chance for the elected officials to their assigned tasks."

Mayay was replaced by Matur Chut Dhuol in late January, who issued a decree relieving Mayen and the commissioner for the state headquarters in Rumbek, Mangar Matoc Machar.

The caretaker Governor has showed hardline tendencies since his appointment, warning politicians not to discuss politics in the state parliament and insisting that those arrested in connection with recent clashes be kept in secret detention centre allowed to see their own lawyer or human rights officials.

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