JUBA – South Sudan’s main armed opposition, SPLM-IO, has said that recent changes of paramount chiefs in the country’s Unity state and the Abyei Special Administrative Area do not conform with the revitalized peace agreement and urged authorities there to revoke their decisions.
Last month, disagreements emerged between Unity State Governor Nguen Manytuil and SPLM-IO-nominated commissioner of Rubkona County, Gatluak Wichar, over decision by Manytuil to unilaterally replace community chiefs.
In a similar action, Abyei’s Chief Administrator Kuol Diem Kuol last week dismissed Chief Nyot Paguot Deng of Bongo chiefdom sparking anger among social media users from the disputed territory.
In a statement, Machar’s office said it “has noted with concern the arbitrary dismissal of Paramount Chiefs of Rubkona County in Unity State and Chief Nyol Paguot Deng of Bongo Chiefdom in Abyei Special Administrative Area, by Hon. Joseph Nguen Monytuil and Hon. Kuol Deim Kuol, Governor of Unity State and Abyei Chief Administrator, respectively”.
The statement signed by Puok Both Baluang, the SPLM-IO Director of Information and Public Relations and acting press secretary in the office of the First Vice President, stressed that state governors and chief administrators “have no legal mandate to dismiss or appoint paramount chiefs. The change of any paramount chief must be carried out in concurrence with the people of the Chiefdom and local government laws, should the need arise.”
“The SPLM/SPLA (IO) wishes to recall that, the aforementioned areas are very sensitive and therefore must not be disturbed by an arbitrary decision,” the statement extended to Sudans Post this afternoon said.
“In this regard, the SPLM/SPLA (IO) calls upon the Governor of Unity State and Chief Administrator of Abyei Special Administrative Area to revoke their decisions of the dismissal of the paramount chiefs,” it added.