By Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda
February 24, 2017 (SSB) —- In the recent report that appeared on Radio Tamazuj website published on 19 February, 2017, it was reported that members of Gok community in South Sudan’s capital, Juba had withdrawn their confidence from the Governor of Gok state, Madhang Majok Meen, over charges of undermining the rule of law and mismanagement in the state.
Radio Tamazuj further reported that the decision to withdraw the confidence from the State Governor was reached at a meeting held at the residence of Daniel Awet Akot, the Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs.
To back up its report, Radio Tamazuj cited a letter bearing the signature of the Acting Chairperson of the Gok Community Association in Juba, Deng Mador Koch and his Secretary General, Deng Mayom Manyang. In that letter Radio Tamazuj reported that representatives of the community in Juba decided to withdraw their confidence from the government of Madhang Majok, and recommended his removal from the position by President Salva Kiir.
In addition, Radio Tamazuj stated that the community members, according to the letter addressed to President Kiir on Tuesday, cited lack of accountability and transparency in the state, while accusing the governor of undermining the rule of law by encouraging extrajudicial killings in the state.
According to Radio Tamazuj it is also stated that the above representatives of Gok State members alleged that at least three Gok people were executed publicly in February and April 2016, pursuant to Meen’s orders without following legal procedures.
The above were the main points Radio Tamazuj reported to be the grounds the community members of Gok State in Juba wanted the president of South Sudan to remove the Governor of Gok State.
In response to the above points raised by Gok State members, I would like to clearly and categorically state and I advise the President of South Sudan General Salva Kiir Mayardit not to remove the Gok State Governor, Hon. Madhang Majok because he is so far doing well in executing his duties.
In fact, apart from isolated incidents, there have never been major skirmishes and killings among the people of Gok State. This means that there is a relative peace in Gok State and things are progressing well. Hence, instead of asking for the removal of the Governor, there is a need to support the governor to continue consolidating the gains he has already made in term of peace and security.
What needs to be understood properly is the fact that not every problem in the state will always lead the people into invoking the last option, which is the removal of the governor. Removal should be the last option after all other options for reforms are tried but the Governor does not listen to the advice for reform.
Contrary that, the Governor of Gok State, Hon. Madhang Majok Meen, is a person who can listen to the people and this is why members of Gok State love him. Hence, there is a need to differentiate members of Gok State in Juba from members of Gok Community in Gok State.
Members of Gok State in Juba do not represent Gok people in Gok State but they present themselves in Juba as they were coming to Juba on individual basis to look for jobs and Gok State association in Juba was not formed with intention of representing Gok people in general in Juba but it was formed specifically to protect the interests of the members of Gok Community in Juba.
However, the fact that they are educated gives them a natural duty to fight for the rights of Gok people wherever they are if there is need to do so. Nevertheless, in the present context, there is no need for their intervention because there are no major problems facing Gok people except the general problems facing all South Sudanese.
As we know all, the problems facing South Sudanese are insecurities, unemployment, hunger, poverty, war and lack of democracy. These problems should not be viewed and taken as if they are peculiar to Gok State. They are general problems and they need general approach throughout South Sudan.
Nonetheless, things are even now better in Gok State than any other States in South Sudan which means that with time there will be more improvement if we corporate with the Governor and his government. Hence, some of the major problems as mentioned above may not be present in Gok State.
Therefore, what the general public of South Sudan and members of Gok State in Juba should know is that the removal of governor is not a solution to the problems of Gok State instead it will be a disaster because politics will destroy the gains that have already been made in Gok State.
In relation to the above statement, I would further like to tell the President of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit that he should not listen to the call of the members of Gok Community in Juba because they are not working for the interest of Gok community in Gok State. This is because if they were working for the interest of Gok Community in Gok State they should have followed the right procedures with honesty.
What is important to be pointed out in the letter written by the members of Gok State in Juba which seeks for the removal of Gok State Governor is that there appears to be some kind of dishonesty in the tone of the letter. It appears that those who wrote that letter are adopting the approach of Riek Machar and G10 who could not advise the president properly when they were working in the Government but instead they now advocating for the removal of the president that he has failed.
In other words, they are not interested in the success of the Governor but are trying to use all available strategies within their reach to destroy the governor. In that regard, what “Representatives” or members of the Community of Gok State in Juba must know is that working against another person with the aim of destroying that person that they will succeed, is a misconceived idea. This is because no success in such a situation as no goal or ideology since ideology is for destroying each other.
As I have already stated above that the whole approach was done in bad faith is that if the members of Gok Community in Juba wanted the solutions to the problems facing Gok State, they should have adopted proper approach. They should have first formed the team to conduct an assessment on the ground to ascertain the views of the people on the way the Governor is managing or governing them including taxation which has become a hot topic in the recent time.
In the process of assessment, they would have held consultative meetings with the community members on the ground including the governor. After those meetings, the recommendations that would have come as a result should have then been forwarded to the Governor and copied to the office of the President and then another copy should have been retained by the committee that carried out the assessment.
Then after that, the Governor is given a period of time to work on the recommendations and a team is formed to be assessing the governor in performing the tasks as recommended by the recommendations presented to him. It is only when there is evidence to show that the governor has failed to work on the recommendations yet the people are being affected by what he was directed by the recommendations to do that is when the members of Gok Community in Juba would have written to the President who hires and fires the governors to fire the Governor of Gok State.
Otherwise, the procedures taken by the Members of Gok Community in Juba are inappropriate and done in bad faith just to achieve political ends which I do not support as it amounts to conspiracy. I have stated that it amounts to conspiracy because there is a need for fair hearing to be given to the governor which was not done by the members of Gok Community in Juba.
In addition, the members of Gok Community in Juba cited the extrajudicial killings as one of the grounds that the governor should be removed. As I argued it sometime back it was necessary for the governor to take such drastic measures to ensure that peace was achieved.
The members of Gok Community in Juba should be reminded or made to understand that not every killing done outside the law is unlawful. Law excuses some killings when such killings are necessary to achieve the proper enforcement of law and good of the community.
In fact, unlawful act in the process of establishing the law is excused by the law, which is sometime referred to as the Doctrine of Necessity. This doctrine is the basis on which extra-legal actions by state actors, which are designed to restore order, are found to be constitutional. The maxim on which the doctrine is based originated in the writings of the medieval jurist Henry de Bracton, and similar justifications for this kind of extra-legal action have been advanced by more recent legal authorities, including William Blackstone.
In modern times, the doctrine was first used in a controversial 1954 judgment in which Pakistani Chief Justice Muhammad Munir validated the extra-constitutional use of emergency powers by Governor General, Ghulam Mohammad (Amita Shastri, A. Jeyaratnam Wilson, The post-colonial states of South Asia: democracy, development, and identity, Palgrave Macmillan, 2001).
In his judgment, the Chief Justice cited Bracton’s maxim, ‘that which is otherwise not lawful is made lawful by necessity’, thereby providing the label that would come to be attached to the judgment and the doctrine that it was establishing. The Doctrine of Necessity has since been applied in a number of Commonwealth countries, and in 2010 was invoked to justify extra-legal actions in Nigeria.
In relation to our, the fact that when the governor was appointed there were a lot of lawless and chaos, the governor was justified in taking such actions. The importance of his actions has been proved by the fact that after carrying out the executions the peace prevails to date in Gok State.
Hence, any member of Gok Community whether in Juba or in Gok State who uses such example to show that the Governor has failed to observe the rule of law is misplaced. The rule in Gok State should be understood like the way we understand it, provided that there peace and respect for the rights of others then there is a rule of law. Therefore, there is rule of law in Gok State currently.
In addition, the person who raises the issue of extrajudicial killings as a way of decampaigning the government can be considered as anti peace and security in Gok State and his or her interest is to see that people of Gok State suffers, which is not acceptable.
The fact that some things are not going on well and other people like me write some critical articles on Gok State does not mean that the governor of Gok State has failed and should be removed. I have received some credible reports that some people in Juba are using the article that I wrote on the bad taxation law in Gok State as one of the evidence to support their arguments that the governor has failed and should be removed.
In that respect, I would to tell those who rely on my article that I am not a party to their demand for the removal of the governor. This is because my article was not intended to call for the removal of the Governor but it was intended as a way of correcting the law makers in Gok State which would have helped them to seek for legal advice before passing that Taxation Bill into law on Taxation in Gok State.
In addition, it is not proper to remove Madhang before finishing his tenure in office. Because of that I would like to ask the President to ignore that letter because it was not a letter written by Gok people in Gok State. There is a need to consult people on the ground if there is a problem with the Governor. This is because when Madhang was appointed consultation was done with the people on the ground and they all supported the idea that Madhang should be appointed and according the president acted on the choice of the people.
Thus, one of the reasons people respect Madhang today is that Madhang has legitimacy. In the same way, the President should not act on the desire of the people in Juba to remove Madhang but the people on the ground should first be consulted before Madhang is removed otherwise there are no grounds as raised above to warrant the removal of Madhang. Whereas I respect the political act of Gok State members in Juba, I disagree with them on the issue of the removal of Madhang.
In summary, there is no ground for the removal of the Governor of Gok State, Madhang Majok Meen. Those who are advocating for the removal of Madhang in Juba are not representing Gok people but they are only looking for a way to get into power.
When it comes to the issue of people of Gok State I do not accept to be a member to any group because what I need is to be neutral and objective so that I find out the truth. So, any person or group of people relying on any of my articles to show that Madhang should be removed should not cite or add me to their members that support the removal of Madhang.
In general, the people of Gok State have not withdrawn their confidence in the governor and the publication in Radio Tamazuj as cited above should be considered as political propaganda and a fake news, Hence, the President should not listen to those people because they are in Juba and if they want Madhang removed then they must go on the ground as I have already stated above.
NB// the author is Human rights lawyer and can be reached through: email@example.com/+256783579256
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