By William Madouk
As elections approach, political parties are increasingly cautious about their members’ behavior to secure votes and gain public trust.
The stakes are high, and the competition is seemingly getting fierce, leaving no room for negligence, one small mistake could cost a leader dearly and lead to an exit a position.
Such a cleanup may have been the impetus for the fall of former Minister of Youth and Sports Dr. Albino Bol Dhieu.
Just days after a controversial squabble ensued between the latter and youth leader Gola Boyoi over plan to hold youth convention, President Salva Kiir issued a decree relieving Dr. Albino from duty.
The head of state instead appointed Dr. Joseph Geng Akech as the new minister for youth and sports, although the president did not disclose the reasons for firing Dr. Albino.
To many, Kiir’s move is seen as a charm to cement trust and bolster relationships with youth, who constitute 75 percent of the total population, as per statistics.
Bol, the ex-minister of youth and sports, wholeheartedly welcomed the decision by President Salva Kiir to relieve him and called on South Sudan youth to rally behind the new minister.
“I call upon all the youth to rally behind your leadership and support our newly appointed Minister of Youth and Sports, Cde. Dr. Joseph Geng Akech, and work together for the peace and betterment of our beloved country, South Sudan,” he said.
Dr. Bol, a member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) was appointed in March 2020, when the president formed the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU).
However, the upbeat National Youth Union chairperson, Gola Boyoi Gola, straightaway hailed the sacking of Dr. Albino Bol, calling it exoneration for the youth.
Gola took to social media to praise President Salva Kiir for the changes in the youth and sports ministry.
“Thank you! My President, the youth of South Sudan can now breathe,” wrote Gola.
In social media posts, the youth union claimed gathering in several locations in acceptance of appointment of the new minister.
“South Sudan General Students Union, SPLM Youth League, and young ministers’ representatives converged at various locations to show their appreciation for the appointment of their new minister, Honorable Dr. Geng Akech,” the post reads.
To them, this was a milestone in transforming the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the beginning of a new era.
“It is the first of its kind for the Minister of Youth and Sports to have general acceptance of its subjects, as seen in yesterday’s aura on different social media platforms,” the statement continued.
The youth also showed unreserved endorsement of the decrees.
“The reaction communicates volumes on its own. Social media has been bustling with aura and excitement for this particular decree,” it post added.
They also said President Kiir eventually answered the prayers of the youth who have been oppressed unjustifiably for unknown reasons.
The two youth leaders have locked horns since May 2022, when Bol suspended Gola, accusing him of violating protocol and exceeding his authority.
Gola was later reinstated in office on December 7, 2022, after publicly apologizing to Dr. Bol, on November 25.
Although Bol overturned the suspension and reinstated Gola to allow him to resume his duties, their working relationship never improved.
Fresh spats erupted between the two in recent days, with Gola accusing the minister of undermining their efforts to host youth elections in December.
He claimed that Bol had a plan to hold the union in order to disrupt the convention.
“The Union will brief the media and explain to the youth fraternity the efforts being egocentrically exerted by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Albino Bol, in an attempt to divide the Union and completely frustrate and paralyze the process of the 3rd National Youth Convention,” Gola said in the statement.