Lakes state, News

SPLM-IO decries dwindling working relation

By Yang Ater Yang

Senior officials of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) serving in South Sudan’s Lakes State Transitional Assembly have decried lack of political working space.

The constitutional post holders in the state government said that as sons and daughters of Lakes State, they are only working for the sake of maintaining peace and stability.

They complained over lack of political will and a good working relationship between members of the SPLM and the SPLM-IO.

Lakes State’s minister of peace building, Beny Matur Mathiang, whose appointment was under the SPLM-IO ticket, said they face hardship due to shrinking political space in the government.

“Although there are challenges, but those challenges cannot prevent us from working together as sons and daughters of Lakes State to maintain peace among the community,” he said.

He observed that power sharing ratio has not been implemented in Lakes State, as accorded in the agreement.

“We are supposed to share some responsibilities like municipality and other areas; these positions were supposed to be shared, and they were agreed upon in the previous governor’s forum in 2021,” he said.

“It was agreed but up to now it has not been implemented by the governor,” he continued.

According to Mathiang, there is also some resistance somewhere in the working relationship that prevents other institutions from running well.

“Institutions that were created under the revitalized agreement are not working well…. I don’t want to say it’s because of a budget,” he stretched.

“But with the willingness of the government of the state, if there is a political will, they should be established,” he added.

Mathiang noted that his ministry of peacebuilding is one of the most neglected institutions without a budget or funding to execute its activities in the state.

He further cited that the state minister of health suspended the director general, and the governor refused to accept the suspension and instead decided to reinstate the suspended director general.

“We should put blame on the governor, and it is his failure to sabotage it. That failure should not be counted on another person, but it is counted on the governor,” he lamented.

Another opposition member, Philip Taban Chir, the state minister of cooperative and rural development also concurred with his colleague in lamenting of political sabotage by the state leadership.

He listed numerous challenges facing working relationships of political parties in the state interim unity government, including lack of mobility for some ministers and low pay for civil servants, among others.

Taban called on political parties, signatory to the 2018 R-ARCSS agreement to implement the current Roadmap agreement without further extension to allow people to vote for their leaders in December 2024.

Meanwhile, William Koji Kirjok, the acting minister of information and communication in Lakes State, on SPLM party ticket, refuted the claims of limited political working space in the state government.

Koji said in Lakes State, they are working as one government with all the political parties.

“We are working as a cabinet, managing the affairs of Lakes State and don’t have issues with SPLM, SPLM-IO, or other political parties in the state,” he said.

“We are being guarded by the governor’s slogan of “Lakes State First,” he added.

According to Koji, the governor’s slogan of “Lakes State first” does not allow anyone to do something contrary.

The acting information minister said he has never seen anyone from another political party protesting against the SPLM in the state.

“Lakes State is not like other states where other members of political parties do complain against the SPLM.

The minister said that in Lake State, political parties have their motions discussed and passed freely without threat or intimidation.”

He noted that an incident between the state minister of health and the director general was an administrative issue, addressed by the governor, and the two are back to normal working relations.

In the absence of the state governor, Koji said the SPLM-IO deputy governor takes charge as acting governor, and all of them do report to him.

However, Daniel Laat Kon, a civil society activist in Lakes State, and Rumbek insist there is a shrinking political atmosphere, which has become a concern in Lakes State.

He said since SPLM-IO opened a secretariat in Rumbek last year, resulting to detention of some of its members, the ruling SPLM party has been busy doing its own activities in the state.

“The current SPLM-IO does not even have a right to use the State flag or motorcade emblem in the absence of Governor, let alone SPLM ministers reporting to or listening to him,” Laat claimed.


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