National, News

Lakes State deputy governor faces court over forced marriage

By Gladys Fred Kole


A high Court in Rumbek will now decide the alleged forced marriage involving the deputy Governor of Lakes State Akol Mathiang and one Ms. Jenifer Bill Maker.

Mr. Akol found himself at the center of controversy as news of his arranged marriage and now the matter has reached the Rumbek County High Court, where a judge is expected to rule.

The public’s attention was captured by this marriage, particularly due to reports that the young woman, Ms. Jenifer Bill Maker, had refused the proposal, expressing her desire to prioritize her education instead.

Over the past few days, the case of the forced marriage involving Deputy Governor Dr. Akol Mathiang and the family of Miss Jenifer Bill Maker, also known as Nyanwat, has gained widespread attention on various social media platforms.

This compelled the Lakes Government to issue a statement to address the public and clarify its stance on early and forced marriages.

According to a statement obtained by this outlet, the family of Akol Mathiang entered into a marriage arrangement with the family of Miss Jenifer Bill Maker back in June 2022.

“Hon. Akol paid his dowry to the family of Jennifer, but the mother and the maternal uncle refused the arrangement on the basis that Jennifer must continue with her further studies since she just graduated from high school,” the government statement partly read.

According to the state government, the robe-pulling between the paternal and maternal families of Jenifer Bill Maker and the family of Akol Mathiang continued until the case reached the attention of the Governor.

“The Governor advised both parties to adhere to the young lady’s wish to continue her studies and referred the matter to Rumbek County High Court under Judge Justice Akel Alex Akok to settle the matter legally,” the government statement noted.

As such, the matter is now in court, and the Lakes State government has assured that there is no interference from either the deputy governor or anybody else in the state leadership, as some elements attempt to propagate and misinform the public, according to the government.

Lake State leadership under Gen. Rin Tueny Mabor is very deliberate and vocal against early and forced marriages, it stated.

“We have both state and national legislation that clearly prohibits such practices. We believe that empowering girls means empowering our families and society as a whole.” The statement read.

However, in 2022, the Lakes State Transitional Legislative Assembly passed a customary law on early, forced child marriages that would now criminalize the act and also reduce the high bride price to 30 cows.

Gen. Rin Tueny Mabor has been kin on issues regarding prioritizing education in Lakes State, especially girl child education, not forced marriage.


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