Weekly States Round-up, Gok governor operates under a tree
Gok State Governor Madhang Majok Meen
Compiled by Jale Richard
After a photograph of the governor, Madhang Majok, was widely shared on the social media over the weekend, authorities in Gok have confirmed that the state governor is operating under a tree.
In the picture, the governor is seated behind a big plastic table which have writing materials, office stamp and table nametag flanked by two flags.
“We are operating under the trees since you know Cueibet was one of the counties that didn’t have any infrastructure,” said John Madol, the Gok State information minister.
“We are all operating under the trees – the governor and the ministers. We don’t have offices completely but we are now constructing [offices].”
Gok is one of the created from the former Lakes when the 10 states were subdivided into 28 in 2015.
The state minister of information said the office of the former commissioner of Cuibet, now the state capital, is being used as the state assembly and therefore the rest of the government including the governor have been operating under trees.
As a result, the community raised funds for the last two years to construct the state secretariat and offices.
Mr. Madol said the construction, which is always supervised by the governor under the tree, will be completed in two months.
Being a new state, Gok faces a lot of challenges including infrastructure and mobility of government officials, according to him.
The ministers and the whole cabinet don’t have vehicles and “they walk to the office and this cannot stop mobility”.
However, Mr. Madol said the state has formed a three year master plan to improve the state.
He called on the public to be patient and calm as they execute their ideas.
In Yei river State
Parliament to summon ministers, police boss over rising rape cases
Members of parliament in Yei River State are lobbying to summon the state ministers of gender, law enforcement and local government as well as the police commissioner to answer questions over increased rape cases.
According to the state women MPs, there were 27 cases of rape cases recorded in late 2017 and three other cases between March and April 2018 allegedly perpetrated by men in military uniform.
Joy Kwaje, Lainya County MP addressing the assembly accused law enforcement agencies of failing to act against perpetrators saying women suffer abuses without justice.
“We want to hear that the perpetrators of such crimes are arrested and taken to books of law. We have heard many cases of women being raped in the community but nothing was done to the perpetrators. As women of Yei, we are very sad and we want the rapists to face justice,” she said.
Earlier this year, women and human rights activists in Yei River State called on state authorities to improve the judicial system and apprehend human rights violators.
Since the outbreak of the conflict in July 2016, Yei River State has witnessed widespread human rights violations including rape, killings, looting and displacement of civilians by armed men.
UNMISS Investigates Alleged Sexual Abuse in Aweil
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan on Tuesday said it has started investigations I to alleged sexual exploitation by some members of its Nepalese contingents in United Nations base in Aweil.
In a statement issued by the spokesperson yesterday, UNMISS said on 13 April, four teenagers were caught trying to enter the United Nations base in Aweil through the perimeter fence.
“It was alleged that one of the teenaged girls had been touched inappropriately by a member of the Nepalese contingent in exchange for money. There was no allegation made of rape,” the statement said.
This latest allegation of sexual exploitation perpetrated by United Nations personnel comes in the wake a major scandal sparked by Ghanaian police who were accused of sexually abusing women in the un base in Wau in February.
UNMISS recalled the unit of Ghanaian police officers from Wau and confined them to base after a preliminary investigation into allegations of sexual exploitation.
The government, civil society and women groups criticized the UN mission for the alleged sexual exploitation given that the mission was supposed to protect vulnerable groups such as women.
However, to the latest allegation in Aweil, UNMISS said it deployed a Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Immediate Response Team (IRT) to Aweil to gather information and preserve evidence prior to the launch of an investigation by the Troop Contributing Country concerned.
The matter has also been reported to the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), an agency that is independent from UNMISS.
The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal has also been notified by the UN of the allegation and is in the process of appointing a team of National Investigation Officers who will conduct an investigation as per normal procedures relating to military contingents.
“UNMISS has a zero tolerance, no excuses and no second chances approach to sexual exploitation and abuse. It is committed to putting the victims’ rights and dignity first and ensuring that there is transparency and accountability for such actions,” the statement said.
Peace and reconciliation conference begins in Gogrial
A three-day peace and reconciliation conference started on Friday in South Sudan’s Gogrial State to diffuse tribal conflict between the tribes of Gogrial who have been fighting each other over land and livestock.
Gogrial Information minister Amet Amet Kuol told Radio Tamazuj on Thursday that the communities of Kuach, Apuk, Aguok, and Awan.
“The conference will target the four tribes of Gogrial in order to reach peace and reconciliation among themselves and it will bring together religious leaders, women, youth, local leaders and representatives from diaspora,” he said.
Amet further said that the conference which has been organised by the national and state government in collaboration with humanitarian organisations in the region will also include representatives from neighbouring Twic, Aweil, Wau and Tonj states.
No child soldiers in Torit State-Governor Oromo
Torit State governor Mr. Tobiolo Alberio Oromo
Torit State governor Mr. Tobiolo Alberio Oromo said there are no child soldiers in the State.
The governor said his government was working together with the partners such as United Nations Children Agency (UNICEF) to ensure that no child solider was recruited in the army.
“The government of Torit State is very keen on the issue of child soldiers, that’s why there is no any single child in the army,” Mr. Oromo said while addressing a team of UNICEF staff in his office.
The visiting team from Juba was led by Mr. Obia Ochieng the Chief Field Operation of UNICEF South Sudan.
Governor Oromo praised UNICEF team for coming to assess whether there was any child soldier in the army.
“We are pleased with the services being rendered by UNICEF in the field of education, health and others,” he said.
The governor assured the team of maximum security, saying all the schools across the state were functioning due to relative peace in the area. He urged UNICEF and other NGOs in the state to operate freely.
The Chief Field Operation of UNICEF South Sudan, Mr. Obia Ochieng said that their objective of the visit was to discuss with Torit State governor the issues regarding education, child protection, health and Wash.
In the meeting four line ministries such as health, education, gender and social welfare, and physical infrastructure hailed UNICEF delegation for their visit.
Each ministry elaborated on its respective challenges and appealed to UNICEF and other related partners to help government in implementing its policies.
Jonglei State detains salaries of “ghost” names
Jonglei State Ministry of Labour has detained salaries of some staff working at the state legislative assembly, saying they were “ghost” workers.
Mr. Taban Simon Thok Jonglei State Minister of Labour Public Service and Human Resource Development told juba monitor on Sunday that that what exist in the state assembly pay sheet were ghost names as there were no physical employees to be paid salary.
“We have discovered that there were some names whose persons were not physically present. We shall pay the assembly supporting staff after we have completed the screening exercise,” Mr. Thok said.
He said the salaries will be kept until the employees were discovered in person.
The minister said some of the MPs were not happy with him. “They tried to use their immunity to revoke the order to detain the salaries,” he said.
However, MP Juach Makuei said the minister was supposed to appear before the parliamentarians before taking actions to detain the salaries of some of the staff.
Relief operations postponed after gunshots fired at ICRC compound in Leer
A distribution of seeds and farming tools for approximately 24,600 people was interrupted after armed men attacked the International Committee of the Red Cross’ compound in Leer, South Sudan, forcing staff to evacuate and program activities to be suspended.
“We are shocked and disappointed by this attack, which is not only an attack on the ICRC, but also on the people we are here to assist”, says Francois Stamm, ICRC’s Head of Delegation in South Sudan.
Gunshots were directly fired at the ICRC field base in Leer just after midnight on April 10th. One ICRC guard suffered minor injuries to his leg and received medical care in Leer.
Eight ICRC staff were evacuated to Juba the following morning.
The team was in Leer to distribute seeds and farming tools to families so that they could plant their crops in advance of the country’s rainy season. As a result of the attack, only 8,600 persons were able to receive the much needed assistance. The area was one of the locations where famine was officially declared last year and has been a flashpoint in the country’s nearly five-year-long armed conflict.
“This attack has meant that 16,000 people have now been left without the supplies they need to plant their crops at a time when food security is worsening across the country”, says Stamm. “While we will do everything possible to ensure that the remaining families receive seeds and tools in time for the planting season in May, the security of our staff is paramount and it is not clear yet when we will be able to return.”
The security conditions for humanitarian workers have deteriorated in recent weeks in former Unity state, where Leer is located. “We take this opportunity to remind all parties to the conflict that any attack on humanitarian aid workers is unacceptable and a violation of international humanitarian law”, says François Stamm. “Aid workers are not a target and attacks such as these only compound the suffering of the South Sudanese people.”