Machar’s office dismisses meeting Acuil over suspension of exams

By James Atem Kuir

The Office of the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar has refuted reported meeting of their leader with the Minister of General Education and Instructions, Awut Deng Acuil over the suspension of primary eight exams in the opposition controlled areas.

The statement released by Machar’s press unit disputed that the leader met minister Acuil as alleged by reported statement released by some individual MPs last week.

The document from Machar’s office explained that the two leaders only had a phone conversation about the matter and that there was understanding in their conversation.

“We in the Press Unit in the Office of the First Vice President have just learned, with dismay, that about five individual MPs from the Transitional National Legislative Assembly of the ‘former’ government under the defunct ITGoNU, have released a misleading statement,” the statement reads in part.

“The statement, said to have been written on ‘Monday, 5th February, 2021 (incorrect date) was trying to informally and unjustly justify the basis for a decision by the Ministry of General Education and Instructions to deny over 800 children from sitting for Primary 8 Examinations in a number of selected counties in Upper Nile and Jonglei States, or areas under the control of the SPLA-IO,” it continues.

The statement continued that “Honourable Minister Awut Deng Acuil spoke with the First Vice President on phone about the matter. It was neither a meeting conducted in person nor did they meet many times as the letter falsely alleged. In that phone conversation, the Minister was reassured by the SPLM/SPLA (IO) leadership that the safety of the Examiners and Examinees including the conducive atmosphere for the Examinations will be fully taken care of. There was that understanding in their conversation,” it further reads.

Seven counties mostly under the control of SPLM/SPLA-IO in Jonglei State and Upper Nile State missed the primary 8 final examinations that began this week. This was after Minister Acuil announced that security related concerns had forced the ministry to suspend exams in the areas.

The decision drew wild backlash from the SPLM/SPLA-IO leadership, education sector donor community, activists and the public among others.

In a joint statement issued Tuesday by the heads of mission of United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Sweden and European Union expressed deep concern that the children in the areas could not sit for their exams and urged the unity government to find swift solution to the concerns.

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