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Rumbek - 5 Nov 2021

Lakes State: Governor fires 3 prominent chiefs

Governor Gen. Rin Tueny Mabor Deng. Radio Tamazuj photo.
Governor Gen. Rin Tueny Mabor Deng. Radio Tamazuj photo.

The governor of Lakes State on Tuesday issued a gubernatorial order relieving and retiring the long-serving Paramount chief of Rumbek East County and two other executive chiefs.

Governor Gen. Rin Tueny Mabor Deng summarily fired Paramount chief Sultan Majak Agok Machol of the Thuyic community and two other executive chiefs, Makur Manyoc Achany and Mabor Mangek from the Maleng-agok Payam of Rumbek East County.

According to gubernatorial order read on the state-owned radio station FM 98.0, Governor Tueny fired the president of the traditional court of Maleng-agok Payam of Rumbek East County, Sultan Agok,  under article 99 (2) (a)citing lack of cooperation between the chiefs and county authorities and their negative role in mitigating communal conflicts among others.

The Governor’s order also said elections will be held on 16 November to fill the vacant positions and that the retired chiefs will not be allowed to contest.

Sultan Agok, when contacted by Radio Tamazuj, however, said that it was the commissioner of Rumbek East County Mapour Malek, who fired him and his colleagues.

“The truth is that the order came from the commissioner and the local government and not from the governor. I also do not know why he (commissioner) did because I was not called and or consulted. I was not given a reason.” Sultan Agok said. “The Governor has no involvement in the issue but since the order has come out, I will remain as a normal citizen.”

He added that he was in Cueibet County where Governor Tueny assigned him to a special court to hear cases.

The relieved paramount chief of Thuyic said he was appointed to serve in the community as an executive chief in 1970 before he became the Paramount chief of the Thuyic community after they spilt from the Athoi community under the late Paramount chief, Aparer Chut Dhuol in 2005.

The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) coordinator in Lakes State, Daniel Laat Kon, said firing chiefs is not a solution to ending inter-communal violence and that the chiefs should have instead been tasked to reconcile their people to make sure they live in harmony.

“I heard about the firing of the three chiefs of Maleng-agok Payam including Paramount chief Sultan Majak Agok Machol and other two executive chiefs by the governor over the government radio 98 FM,” Laat said. “The governor issued out orders relieving chiefs and appointing the electoral committee to organize and take care of the elections. The reason is not known but recently there were some rumors of resumption of tension and mobilization between the two communities of Thuyic and Gony.”

According to Laat, the firing of the chiefs has polarized the community with many people condemning the move and that it could led to unrest.

Makur Gomthai, a member of the Maleng-agok Payam community said they were surprised by the order firing the three chiefs.

“The governor of Lakes State did not consult the community,” Gomthai said. “The community was surprised by the gubernatorial decrees relieving the three chiefs and retiring them, and not allowing them to contest during the election that is scheduled to take place on 16 November. This has caused a lot of confusion in the community.”

He added that many people in the Maleng-agok Payam community want the relieved chiefs to contest in the planned elections so that they are defeated democratically instead of being fired.