JOSEPH LAGU, Faced with eviction threat

By Jale Richard

Senior citizen Joseph Lagu is facing eviction from a government house assigned to him as his official residence, his son has said.

Lagu who founded the Anya-nya movement served as the second President of the High Executive Council of the autonomous region of Southern Sudan between 1978 and 1979.

In a letter dated 10th September purportedly signed by Paulino Wanawilla Unango, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs gave Benedict Sebit Lagu, the son of Joseph Lagu who is  a caretaker of the house as the father is abroad seeking medical attention, seven days to vacate the government house number J/191 located at Juba Commercial.

However, we could not get confirmation of the letter from the Minister’s office. Part of the letter (see page 10) said, “Pursuant to the powers conferred upon me under section 6 of the Public Premises Eviction Act, Act,, 2006 I am notifying you to vacate the said government house you are currently occupying within seven days from the day of receipt of this notice. Failure to do so will leave me with no option than your forceful eviction, according to the law,” the notice read.

But according to Sebit Joseph Lagu, he is only taking care of the house which was assigned to his father who is on medical leave.

“This house was assigned to General Lagu by President Salva Kiir Mayardit through the then governor Clement Wani Konga of Central Equatoria for his official residence when he was appointed Special Advisor to the President. There was a time he got sick, he was taken to Nairobi by me and took him to London. Until now he has remained in London on a medical leave,” he told Juba Monitor.

Sebit said in the absence of his father, several officials from both state and the national government have been claiming that his father has left the house.

He termed the actions of the government officials as “trying to undermine my father’s legacy.”

“When I took him to London, he went on medical leave; he did not leave the house. It is my understanding he was given the house as a token for his deeds in the past,” Sebit said.

“How can I vacate a house that does not belong to me but to my father? I am just a caretaker waiting for him to return back from is medial leave.”

He said those who want to evict Gen Lagu from the house should produce a letter from the President but not from any other person.

“The house according to my understanding is directly to my President. If Lagu is to move out, the official notice has to come from the presidency not from the ministers, not from civil servant, not from any junior staff because in government hierarchy, he is above the ministers,” Sebit said.

He vowed not to move out of the house, saying “let them use the force they want because I have no authority to vacate a house that is not mine.”

Mr. Sebit said the 88-year old leader of the Anya-nya was taken to London for treatment three years ago.

He said since Lagu was taken to London for treatment all service offered by the government was stopped.

“All the services for the last three years have not been there. I am paying the guards, this is supposed to be done by the government,” he said.

Last month, Joseph Lagu was one of the recipients of medals awarded by President Salva Kiir for exceptional service provided to the country during the long struggle to independence.

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