Juba — The governor of Western Equatoria state, Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro, has denied reports that South Sudanese president Salva Kiir was allegedly planning to arrest him alongside his Central and Eastern Equatoria state counterparts over their support for federalism.
Western Equatoria governor Joseph Bangansi Bakosoro (Photo: Larco Lomayat)
Bakosoro, Central Equatoria's Clement Wani Konga and Eastern Equatoria's Louis Lobong Lojore were recently criticised by the South Sudanese leader for supporting calls for the establishment of a federal system of governance in the young nation.
Security service members have recently advised the media in Juba to avoid reporting on the ongoing debate on federalism, as Kiir accused the three governors of failing in a trap set up by the rebels to draw the support of Equatorians to their own agenda.
Bakosoro also eluded to widespread speculations by some individuals that president Kiir allegedly intends to arrest the three governors from the greater Equatoria regions after they called for federalism during a conference held two months in the South Sudanese capital.
"These rumours are not unfounded and intended to tarnish the image of the president and the country's image alike, and should be stopped immediately," he told reporters at Juba airport Monday.
The Western Equatoria governor said his life was not in danger and nor was he being threatened in any way.
"If there is any person who threatens me, he should kill me instead of distorting the image of the president and the image of the whole country," Bakosoro said.
Different news portals and social media forums published reports claiming that the Konga was recently intercepted by members of the presidential guards who attempted to question him, triggering tensions between them and the governor's bodyguards.
Unconfirmed reports claimed the Central Equatoria governor was on his way to meet the South Sudanese leader when his vehicle and security escorts were allegedly stopped by presidential security.
Bakosoro refuted reports that his Central Equatoria counterpart left the country for fear of his life after the incident.
He urged the leadership to positively address the problems facing the country, acknowledge the existence of the ongoing crisis and embark on efforts essential for resolving the skirmishes.
"The issue of federalism must be discussed, it is a demand that people can accept or reject," said Bakosoro.
He further reiterated his support for the federal system, saying "it gives people the freedom to govern themselves".
During the 2010 elections, Bakosoro was the only governor elected as an independent candidate without the support of the ruling SPLM. However, he went on o join the party following his election.