8 February 2014

South Sudan: S. Sudan President Orders Resignation of Warrap Information Minister

Juba — South Sudanese president Salva Kiir ordered Warrap state's information minister, Nyenaguek Kuol Mareng, to resign over allegations she had links to government opposition forces led by former vice-president Riek Machar.

South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has ordered the resignation of Warrap state's information minister, Nyenaguek Kuol Mareng, reportedly over her alleged links to his political opponents (AP)

According to her letter of resignation extended to Sudan Tribune, Mareng said the president had reportedly expressed disappointment over her association with former cabinet affairs minister Deng Alor Kuol, who angered Kiir after failing to attend a meeting of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the capital, Juba, in December.

The former minister said she became aware of the president's concerns following a meeting attended by attended by Warrap state governor and the director general of internal security for South Sudan, Akol Koor Koc in Warrap capital Kuacjok.

"Gen. Akol said that the president was annoyed by this dialogue and that he does not want me in his government", Mareng said in the letter, which is dated 7 February.

The exact nature of the discussions between the two former officials remains unclear and it is not known precisely what triggered the president to demand the junior minister's resignation.

However, supporters of president Kiir, as well as critics of the Warrap administration, have linked her to a group within the ruling SPLM advocating Kiir's removal from power.

Mareng has denied the claims, stressing that her discussions focused only on why the former cabinet affairs did not attend the senior members meeting held from 13-15 December.

Comments she made in relation to the president's speech at the same function also generated discussions on social media networks.

After being summoned to a meeting with government officials on 1 February, Koor presented video and telephone records of her activities.

"Gen. Akol displayed an unauthorised recording from the judiciary as dictated by the law. That record contains a phone conversation between me and Hon. Deng Alor Kuol, the ex-minister for cabinet affairs. The conversation was on Sunday evening, 14 December 2013, before the outbreak of the recent violence [in Juba]. The summary of that conversation was on why Hon. Deng Alor absented himself from meetings of the NLC [and] we commented on the speech of the president, as well as on some of the negative comments circulated in social and electronic media", she said.

Mareng said she had personally discussed the matter with the president following the meeting before submitting her resignation the next day.

She has condemned government's "eavesdropping", saying it amounted to a violation of the constitution.

A qualified journalist, Mareng worked as SPLM's director of information and telecommunication until her ministerial appointment in May 2012.

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