The right leader: The case of Gok State Governor, Hon. Madhang Majok Meen

Posted: November 21, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda

28 governors with president kiir

The swearing in ceremony of 28 governors in Juba, South Sudan, 29 Dec 2015

November 21, 2016 (SSB) —- As South Sudan is faced with many crises due to the lack of effective leadership, Gok State is lucky for getting a right leadership in the person of Madhang Majok Meen. As the saying goes leaders are both made and also born, Madhang Majok is in that category of those borned great leaders.

It is, therefore, not over exaggeration to conclude that Madhang has now proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is a true leader not only for State and Gok people but for the whole of South Sudan. He is the right leader because he puts interests of his subjects above everything else, which is one of the most fundamental elements of a successful leader.

Thus, this article is in response to the recent debate that cropped up on facebook when Hon. Governor of Gok State, Madhang Majok Meen went to meet with His Excellency, the First Vice President, General Taban Deng Gai. The reason for Madhang going to meet the First Vice President was to present his plan to the Central Government. The plan was about how to achieve sustainable peace and development in Gok State.

The contents of the plan included the development of health sector, achieving stable security, promotion of food production and lasting peace in general. As he was presenting his development plan to the First Vice President, the Government journalist, Mr. Poth Johnson Matur, took the photo of the Governor and together with the content of the plan and posted them on his facebook page.

After that post, many comments were in support and against the Governor.  Among those comments, there were those who supported him and those who criticized him for arresting and jailing their relatives, fathers and other members of their families.

Of course, it has to be noted that before we continue with the subject matter of this work, we must observe that one of the strongest qualities of a good leader that not only Gok State wants but South Sudan in general is a leader that does not care of what individuals say about him or her but solely concerns with the protection of the interest of the people in general; a rare quality of leadership which Madhang has.

However, failing to realize the above quality of the good, some people in their comments blindly criticized Madhang for arresting their relatives and other statements that are not much relevant in the context of Gok State.

When I came across the post and those comments, I also, as a citizen of Gok State, added my voice in support of the governor. One of the comments I replied to was that of the son of Aguer Dut Ayuol who was bitter with Governor for imprisoning his father whom he believed to be innocent.

Therefore, before I continue with this article discussing who the right leader for not only Gok State but also the whole of South Sudan is, I would like to briefly digress to give brief back ground of the reasons as to why Aguer Dut was put in jail by the State.

Aguer Dut was put in jail due to the fact that one of his sons killed a person and that later led to his arrest. However, while waiting for the trial of murder for killing a person, he escaped from the prison, which up to now he is still at large.

The government of Gok State made all attempts to trace and capture him but he was nowhere. So the only option that remained with the State was to arrest the father and other brothers of the accused to ensure that they should at least reveal to inform or give clue of as his whereabouts to the Government of Gok State.

The arrest was, therefore, carried out as one of the security measures intended to reduce the tension that was growing between the families of the deceased and those of the accused.

Hence, the argument of the young man, the son of Aguer Dut against the arrest of his father was that he was innocent as he was not aware or did not have any knowledge of the whereabouts of the prisoner after escaping from the prison.

My reply to his argument was that if the governor suspected him to be a party to the crime of escaping from the prison, then he has a duty to arrest him to reveal where the accused has escaped to.

Nevertheless, his argument was correct because in criminal law criminal liability is individual or personal. So a father or brothers could not be held liable for the crime committed by a son or by a brother as he was relying on that ground in his argument.

However, what he failed to understand is that even under criminal law a person who has or persons who have not directly committed a crime can still be held accountable for another person’s crime, if there is a reasonable belief that he or she is or they are parties to crime.

Thus, the general criminal liability is that: an offence may be committed by one person who may plan, hatch and execute it against another person.  In addition, an offence may also involve a member or group of people, a gang, either acting differently at the same or at different times in the course of one transaction or acting in concert with one another in committing the offence.

In that respect, as explained in the foregoing paragraphs, a crime may be committed by the members of the group or members of the gang who get involved in one way or the other by undertaking different roles, at different levels or undertaking different degrees of involvement and hence merit differential treatment under the law.

In relation to our discussion on the right leadership, it appears that the Governor of Gok State was acting on the above principles of criminal law governing parties to crime, which explains the reason for arresting Aguer Dut for the escape of his sons from the prison.

If the governor had a reasonable belief that Aguer Dut was involved in escape of his son or has some knowledge of his son whereabouts, then he has a duty to imprison him in order to control the crime in the state. I have used the verb, “was” in this paragraph because Aguer was released from the prison.

As I know, Madhang is one of the rare leaders that does not work to protect his personal interest but always does things with intention of protecting the interest of the public, I totally support in his administration and whatever action he carries out always have some grounds in law.

In my opinion, Madhang as long as he is a governor of Gok State, is free to arrest and prosecute anybody in Court of law including my father, relatives and brothers if such action is done in pursuance of implementing the laws of Gok State to establish law and order that may eventually contribute to the establishment of the rule of law in the State in future.

As I have already stated in the title of this Article, Madhang is a right leader. This is because he works for the interest of his people but not his interest or the interest of his officials.  Hence, with that regard, it is important to state that the only way to protect the interest of the people is to protect the rule of law.

When I talked of the rule of law, it is important to note that the proper function of the rule of law depends on the understanding of law by a given community. This means that even if the Rule of law has been defined to mean a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the state itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights principles, it does not however mean that the function of the rule of law must be uniform.

The way the rule of law may be enforced in Gok State may not be the same as that in the United States of America. It, therefore, means that the acceptable method of enforcing laws in Gok State may not be the same as that one applied in the United States of America.

However, what is understandable about the rule of law is that no one is above the law. This implies that where the law enforcers including themselves are suspected to be a party or parties to crime then they may be called to clear the doubt by answering some questions concerning that suspicion.

It further implies that if there is strong evidence pointing towards the guilt of a person or people suspected of a crime then they may be prosecuted in the Court of law or even imprisoned.

In addition to the above, it has to be further observed that the method employed in dealing with crimes to protect the law and order and the rule of law depends on the stage of the development of given communities who are subject to that particular law.

The communities in most developed countries like the USA, Australia, the UK and Canada, for instance, have different understanding of law. Hence, the authorities cannot just arrest and imprison a person without producing the concrete evidence to support their decision.

In relation to the above paragraph, the countries as referred to have clear principles of criminal law that are developed to a greater extent  in the protection of the accused persons. The example is the principle on the presumption of innocence that underlines the criminal justice that jealously protects the accused.

Nonetheless, the principle on the presumption of innocence as pointed out above may not be applicable to some communities in the less developed countries like South Sudan.  Thus, in South Sudan and in particular Gok State, the authorities are not expected to act in accordance with the standards that followed typical principles of criminal law in some of the countries as mentioned above.

The rationale is that the citizens are still in the stage of barbarism as discussed in the Book by Fredrick Engel entitled the Origin of the State, Family and Private Property  in the topic of Barbarism and Civilization. The citizens who are governed by community beliefs like Gok People in Gok State are governed in accordance with their customs as they believe in if they are to be transformed without causing a lot of harm to them.

Thus, what is needed is the right leader who puts interests of his or her subjects above everything else. In this case, Hon. Governor Madhang Majok Meen is the right leader not only for Gok State but also the whole of South Sudan.

What makes him (Madhang) a good or a right leader, which majority of the leaders in South Sudan lack is his understanding of law as well as his respect for it; he highly respects the law.

In other words, Madhang has a greater sense of professionalism, integrity and respect for law. For example, he does not care of the status of those who commits or accused of being parties or having committed the crime. This was the reason he imprisoned Aguer after suspecting him of being a party to the escape of his son despite the status and the age of Aguer.

In fact, if Madhang was like some of the leaders of South Sudan, he would have not arrested and imprisoned Aguer Dut due to his status in Gok Community. Aguer Dut is a respected person not only in Gok State but also in Lakes State in general.

However, the governor, Madhang imprisoned Aguer recently as already explained above and after that he relieved him from the post of the Commissioner of Commissioners due to the fact Aguer was not working as expected of the leaders of the State as expected by the governor.

Of course, the good thing about the law is that every person has a right to liberty under the Constitution of South Sudan, so if Aguer or anyone affected by the Governor Madhang’s Action, then he or she is at liberty to seek the redress in the Court of law not against the governor in person but against Gok State.

One of the things I admire about Madhang is the fact that he knows who to remove and who not to remove. Madhang removes the political appointees if they are not performing well. I approve of such removal because it is within the powers of Madhang to hire and fire if they are not performing to his expectation and that of Gok people.

The only people that must be respected due to the essential of the services they deliver in the communities are judges, doctors and other health workers and teachers. These people are the basis of law and order and security and for the state to develop, the emphasis must be put on these areas.

 In my opinion, Madhang is one of the best leaders as he really values ethics of doing right things in leadership. Madhang has understood that doing right things as a leader means following the law that protects the interests of the citizens i.e. he does not allow his judgment to be overclouded by the personal interests.

One of the incidences that showed Madhang that he worked with the sense of justice occurred in the middle of this year. The incident occurred when he, the governor left for Juba and left the former Minister of local Government, Wel Machek, in charge of Gok State.

As soon as he left, the Minister used his powers but he used them wrongly as he was guided by personal interest. For instance, he relieved some people not related to him from work and instead replaced them with his relatives. In fact, any good administrator could not have done that without losing the interest and confidence of the people of the state in his administration.

However, when the Governor, Madhang came back, he felt embarrassed by the action of his minister and settled the issue in favour of those who were removed. He removed those who were instituted by the Minister of Local Government and re-appointed those who were removed into their former posts.

He reversed the decision of the Minister on the ground that the removal was irregular as it was done contrary to the law and the rule of natural justice that deals with fair hearing. Legally and logically, the Governor was right.

I have given the above example not to show that Wel Machiek is bad but to show that Madhang knows the principles of administration and the rule of law. In short, the Governor of Gok State, Hon. Madhang Majok, is the right leader not only for Gok State but for the whole of South Sudan. This explains as to why the inter clan conflicts have been reduced to the lest level.

NB// the author is a lawyer residing in Kampala (U) and can be reached through: +256783579256 or

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing.


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