By Dak Buoth
OPINION – I’m an interested party or a friend to the Council of States in the case that saw our governor Dr. Joseph Nguen Manytuil Wejang, being grilled and given a vote of no confidence by the Council of states on 22nd August 2022. About three days ago, Council of States’ Speaker, Deng Deng Akon wrote a letter to President Kiir, asking him to remove incumbent Unity State governor.
In March and April this year, we told our governor, to reign on the rogue commissioners of Leer, Koch and Mayendit counties failure to which he should resign or risk being removed. Yesterday, on 25th August 2022, Honorable Cabinet Affairs minister, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin wrote a reply letter to parliament in which he seems smart with how he played with words. On the other hand, he however, appeared to be lacking wisdom because of how he struggled to hide the truth.
Minister Marial’s letter was availed to us, the public on social media, to read and internalized. And because I received and spent time to peruse it, I should as well reply to the sender the way I understood it. Based on what we knew, Dr. Marial is not competent to commend or speak on such an emotive case because he is not pro-Nuer his parental lineage notwithstanding. Evidently, Dr. Marial is always biased. More so, he is not justice oriented.
The things he mentioned in a letter to the speaker mirrors the things he said at the onset of the war of 2013. Clearly, his letter is full of cover up of his ulterior motives. In 2013, when he appeared in the BBC Hard-talk with Steven Sucker in his capacity as Foreign Affairs minister, Dr. Marial denied the fact that Nuer were killed or massacred in Juba. In speaker Deng’s letter to President Kiir entitled ‘‘Withdrawal of confidence from Hon. Joseph Manytuil Wejang the governor of Unity State’’, he mentioned about four incidences and cases that made parliament to unanimously reached a resolution.
In page one of his reply letter, Dr. Marial only acknowledged and mentioned two incidences such as the ambush of SSPDF soldiers who were secretly ferried to Mayom County, and the second was the killing of the Mayom county commissioner, Gen. Chuol Gatluak Manimeh. Minister Marial did not boldly mention the two other cases namely the killing of innocent civilians of Leer County and the recent extra judicial killings of prisoners of war in Mayom County.
Logically, his failure to mention these two incidences was not by accident but deliberate. Dr. Marial’s act of leaving out these two incidences proves his biasness. Furthermore, Dr. Marial tried to interpret the constitutional provisions discriminately and in a manner that favors and advances his biasness against the ordinary South Sudanese people of Unity State.
In his letter, Dr. Marial repeatedly avers that the Council of States acted ultra vires or beyond their constitutional powers by passing a vote of no confidence. This is partly untrue. How could he question or blame council of states for acting ultra vires on doing factual, truthful and popular thing that other legal body had failed to perform.
It’s common knowledge that the State Legislative Assembly which Dr. Marial pointed out as being the right body to pass the vote of no confidence is not functional. Governor Dr. Manytuil has suppressed and made Unity State Legislative Assembly toothless and none existent.
Since Unity State MPs took oath of office I never heard them conducting parliamentary session. In view of these, Dr. Marial should cease from confusing the Presidency by trying to interpret the constitution and the law wrongly.
In my view, what the president could have done was to remove the governor in line with the Council of States’ resolution no. 10/2022. In any case, if the governor and his surrogates feel aggrieved, they should go to the court to seek interpretation and remedy there. But I’m sure governor Manytuil will fear going to court, because his legal suit will be thrown out using the maxim of equity which says ‘‘he who comes to equity must come with cleans hands.’’
A non-believer of court like our governor cannot be granted his right to be heard in the corridors of justice. Minister Marial’s interpretation and explanation on the relevant constitutional provisions are subjective and wrong. Legally, it is not the function of the Executive to interpret the constitution and the laws of south Sudan. The work of interpretation of the constitution is the preserve of the judiciary that is reason why I advised that they should approached the court of competent jurisdiction.
Let alone the bell ranged by the parliament, the Executive if conscious of the constitution could have removed the governor suo moto or on their own motion, because governor Manytuil overthrew the constitution the day he ordered extra judicial killings in violation of the law.
This unlawful action was treasonous, and it was an open affront to South Sudan transitional constitution, 2011. By him taking the law into his own hand, the governor attacked our constitutional sovereignty. Part one section three gives supremacy to the constitution.
The South Sudan transitional constitutional, 2011 is supreme and above the President and the Governor except we, the people that are represented by the Council of States. When we said the governor should be apprehended, prosecuted and taken behind bars is because he acted dangerously and in contravention of the aforesaid constitutional provisions.
The council of states’ resolution is protected by Part one section 3 which reads that ‘‘Sovereignty is vested in the people and shall be exercised by the state through its democratic and representative institutions established by this constitution and the law.’’
GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL
Naturally, leaders are ejected and evicted from office by any means on serious violations of the constitution that placed them into office and our governor is no exception. Administratively, when the governor ordered and presided over the extra judicial killings in Mayom County, he acted inhumanely and in breach of chapter two Article 11 and 19 of South Sudan constitution that give rights to fair trail and right to life and humanity.
REMOVAL GOOD FOR GOVERNOR MANTUIL
Usually, a leader is protected by the people and not necessarily by the police or army. However, if the people lose trust and confidence in their leader, then the leader risks physical elimination. You remember it was the people of Unity State, who first express that they lost confidence in governor Manytuil. In fact, the Council of States is just seconding our documented recommendations for his removal on similar constitutional grounds.
Prior to the barbaric killing of Mayom county commissioner, a senior state official working with the governor was killed in the capital, Bentiu. So, the removal of governor Manytuil is not only good for the people but also for governor’s own life.
Therefore, any autocratic move by the presidency to imposed governor Manytuil is not favorable for the people and the governor himself. Unfortunately, Minister Marial’s response to Mr. Speaker Akon shows he is siding with the governor against our wishes and the council of states’ resolution.
Tactically, Dr. Marial and company knew that imposing governor Manytuil will hurts and makes the people continue to suffer and die from lack of basic services. At the same time, they saw a possibility of the governor going back to live and rule in fear for his life. And so, by doing this dictatorial attempt to impose the governor, Minister Marial wants to kill two birds with one stone. Sadly, this tactic is beyond the existing policy of divide and rule against the people of South Sudan. In conclusion, Minister Marial ended his letter by saying they will wait for the committee report to make a determination on the same. This is nothing but a lie. When was the committee formed, and who heads the committee that he was talking about. I think the honorable minister was trying to kill the case the same way the Leer committee of inquiry chaired by then Water and Irrigation Minister late Manawa Gatkuoth Gual died on arrival.
The Writer is the chairman of Liech Community Association in Kenya, the views expressed here are his own, and he can be reached for comments at email@example.com.
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