By Taban Henry
Western Equatoria State transitional government under leadership of SPLM-IO nominated Governor Lt. Gen. Alfred Futuyo Karaba has been dealt with to blow off political standoff as members of the parties declared withdrawal of participation in the government citing leadership failure.
In a statement issued to the media on Saturday, the representatives of the political parties signatories to the Revitalized Agreement headed by Dr. Kennedy Gaaniko who is the deputy governor of Western Equatoria State and chairperson of the SPLM-IG in the state announced their withdrawal of active participation in Western Equatoria State government accusing the governor of suspending the State council of ministers’ meetings.
“Following the withdrawal of Governor Alfred Futuyo Karaba from the Government of Western Equatoria State Council of Ministers and his indefinite suspension of the council of ministers meeting on Friday the 7th- October 2022, we the members of the SPLM-IG, SSOA, OPP, FDs in the Executive, state Parliament, Independent Commissions and the County Commissioners do here by declare to the public our decision to withdraw our active participation from Western Equatoria State government,” he told reporters Saturday.
Gaaniko added that one of the reasons for the four group’s withdrawal from the state government is because of the “withdrawal of the Governor from the council of minister’s meetings citing reason of being allegedly accused of mismanagement of public fund and will only resume the council of minister’s meetings after the intervention of the national government to address issues in the state.
He however accused his boss of indefinitely suspending the council of ministers’ meeting “without any clear administrative and legal reasons” and claimed that the governor “does not follow the government established system to administer state affairs,” as well as deduction of civil servants’ salaries by at least 30%.
The SPLM-IG chairperson in the State and deputy governor alleged that governor Futuyo has not paid members of the state assembly for at least five months.
“Based on the above reasons, we therefore decided to withdraw our active participation in the state government of Western Equatoria sate under the leadership of Governor Alfred Futuyo Karaba as from today the 8th of October 2022 until the intervention of the national government to resolve issues affecting the state as a whole,” Dr. Gaaniko declared the withdrawal on behalf of the other parties’ members.
The dissatisfied constitutional post holders in the State further accused the governor of unilaterally and illegally arresting and investigating all the state ministries cashiers when they were paid 70% of the employee’s salaries as released by the state ministry of finance.
They also stated that the governor has withheld the operation cost (OC) of all ministers for reasons well known to him, grabbing and selling of public land.
The group faulted Gen. Futuyo of deliberate failure to integrate the civil servants of the three defunct states into the public services system and the deliberate refusal by the governor to implement the council of ministers’ resolution as enshrined in the conduct of business regulation of the council of ministers.
“There is no good cooperation and collaboration between the office of the governor with the executive and the state assembly which is against the spirit of the Revitalized peace agreement. The citizens of Western Equatoria State holds the First Vice President and the Chairman of SPLM-IO Dr. Riek Machar Teny for appointing and maintaining the incompetent and misinformed governor inspite of the continuous cry of the people of Western Equatoria State against the governor,” Dr. Gaaniko echoed the group statement.
The Western Equatoria State deputy governor underlined that the governor is restricting the right to political space for the other political parties to the Revitalized Peace Agreement to exercise their political mandate, citing that an SPLM political rally in Anzara County was allegedly blocked on the 6th of October 2022 by the state governor.
However, in response to the declaration made on Saturday, the South Sudan opposition Alliance (SSOA) senior members in Western Equatoria State issued a contrary press statement yesterday distancing SSOA from the purported withdrawal of active participation in Governor Alfred Futuyo’s government.
“Reference to the Press release dated 8 October 2022, leaders of SSOA in Western Equatoria State would like to distance themselves from the press release and make it clear to the members of SSOA and the entire citizens of Western Equatoria State and the public that SSOA wasn’t invited nor consulted for any meeting that resolved to issue such a press release,” the SSOA senior members in WES stated in a joint statement
They reiterated that SSOA has not contributed whatsoever to the content of the press release of 8th October.
It however noted that SSOA as an umbrella of 8 different political parties believes in the formal and constitutional approach as a means to address issues or concerns necessary to public, adding SSOA is a political entity guided by principles and is committed to the implementation of the revitalized Peace Agreement.
SSOA representatives in their joint statement clarified that the designated signature in the 8 October press release doesn’t represent SSOA whatsoever stating that the individual who claimed to a member of SSOA is not one.
“SSOA as one of the signatories to the R-ARCSS must be respected not to be pulled or pushed to any mess by any other party to the agreement for their personal interest, because we are here to work for the peace not for division of the people in the State,” the joint statement partly reads.
SSOA added that the outstanding issue between the SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO was resolved in the three days meeting about two months ago and all the members promised to work together for peace and unity for the people of Western Equatoria.
Meanwhile No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper efforts to reach the Western Equatoria State governor Alfred Futuyo Karaba for comments were futile by press time.