STATE-Of emergency on-hold
John Agok and Nema Juma
President Salva Kiir Mayardit is seeking for compromise from opposition groups which are signatories to the revitalized peace agreement to allow him to declare a state of emergency in Western Equatoria, Warrap and Lakes states over the ongoing violence and disarmaments.
However, the presidency are yet to come to an agreement to have Western Equatoria and Warrap put under state of emergency for violence while Lake states in to face the same fate because of disarmament according to Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Atenythat, President Kiir had put on hold the plans to put the three states under state of emergency due to lack of consensus in the presidency.
The situations in Western Equatoria, Warrap and Lakes states is pretty alarming and the president had been seeking compromise from opposition groups to declare emergency which he said they had refused.
“President Salva Kiir is serious with the situation in Western Equatoria. His seriousness is demonstrated by his desire to declare the state of emergency but the (signatory) opposition (groups) opposed the proposal,” he said.
He also revealed that, the governor from Western Equatoria State was summoned by the President pertaining to the ongoing violence in the state and he refused to come to Juba.
“It is almost two weeks now for Western Equatoria Governor to have defied summon from the President”, he added.
Contacted for comment the SPLM-IO Puok Both Baluang, acting Press Secretary in the office of the first Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar said there was no need for the state of emergency as the violence was confirmed tribal between Azande and Balanda which needed political solution, adding the crisis also revolved around land dispute and chieftainship.
However, Religious and traditional leadership in the area had called for intervention by the national authorities. But former opposition groups including (SPLM/IO) have rejected the state of emergency saying other laws could be used to maintain law and order.
They had also argued that, tough emergency powers could be misused to stifle critics since emergency law enables authorities to detain people without warrants, seize property, enter, and search any premises, suspend laws, and issue orders that cannot be questioned in court. Officials who issue such orders are also immune from lawsuits.
Government officials had argued that the emergency is needed to be declared because other options were not working. Further, they said they had no intention to use the emergency measures against political leaders.