By David Deng Chapath, Kampala, Uganda
February 26, 2017 (SSB) — This article is in reaction and also in response to the recent article written by the acting leadership of Gok Community in Juba. The Community in Juba published an article entitled: Gok community withdraws confidence from state governor, on Radio Tamazuj on 19 February 2017.
As indicated by the article, the allegations of which they said they had withdrawn the confidence in the state Governor of Gok state, Madhang Majok Meen, were concerning the charges of undermining the rule of law and mismanagement in the state.
The article published on Radio Tamazuj website as cited above stated that the decision to ask the President to remove the Gok State Governor was reached at a meeting held at the residence of Daniel Awet Akot, the Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs and it was in that meeting it was resolved so that they community worked for the removal of Gok State Governor.
However, what is clear is that the letter bears the signatures of only two people, that is, the Acting Chairperson of the Gok Community Association in Juba, Deng Mador Koch and his Secretary General, Deng Mayom. The fact that it bears the signatures of these two people indicates that there is suspicion in the credibility of the letter.
Furthermore, according to that article, it is alleged that the community members addressed a letter to President Kiir citing the lack of accountability and transparency and also accused the governor of undermining the rule of law by encouraging extrajudicial killings in the state. For instance, they cited the killing of last year in 2016 when the Governor executed publicly the lawbreakers.
As Radio Tamazuj reported in the same article cited above, the representatives of the community in Juba concluded by deciding to withdraw their confidence from the government of Madhang Majok, and recommended his removal from the position by President Salva Kiir.
My responses to the above allegations are as follows: first of all it should be noted that whether they withdrew their confidence from the ability of the Governor to govern Gok State or not, it is irrelevant because the final person to decide whether the Governor should be removed or not is the President himself.
Second to the above point is that the group in Juba which claims to represent Gok people does not represent them because they are in Juba not as representatives of Gok people but as job seekers in the national governor.
In addition, since they came from Australia and the USA, they have never worked in Gok State to understand the needs of Gok people. Thus, the question is: how can one claim to represent people whom he or she does not know what they need? In fact, the fact that they do not represent Gok people is proved by the fact that they were in Juba when the killings were going in Gok area unabatedly before Gok State was created and the current governor was appointed but they had never gone to talk to the people who are killing each other on the ground on personal initiative just to prove that they love Gok people.
For example, at that time there were rampant killings as the rule of law was thrown in abeyance since there was no respect for humanity as people were being killed like animals while the so-called Community leaders in Juba were lying low in Juba.
It was after the current Governor was appointed and acted first to restore the rule of law that was when the peace and security was restored. Therefore, it was in the process of establishing viable State Government and the rule of law that was when the Governor ordered the execution of the three people but also their execution was sanctioned by the community leaders as they had identified them to be the hardened criminals who had been the root causes of chaos among the people of Gok community.
At that time, the leaders of the Community (who are the true representatives of Gok people), urged the Governor to take strong action against the three people otherwise without executing them the peace, order and the rule of law would never prevail in Gok State as it was pointed out by the community leaders.
In fact, after the execution of the three people as mentioned above, the peace prevails up to date and this is why Gok State has become one of the peaceful states in South Sudan, which means that the community leaders were right in their analysis.
Therefore, it is unfortunate to see these two people who claimed to represent Gok people in Juba citing the action of the Governor in restoring law and order as one of the grounds of which they called upon the President to remove the Gok Governor of Gok State yet it was done in the best interest of Gok State people.
Another point to note is that those who are calling for the removal of the governor of Gok State are not genuine representatives of the people of Gok State but they are in Juba doing their own things for personal gains as already pointed out above.
Besides, they were initially contesting for the post of Governorship and after they lost the contest and the current Governor was appointed, they become opposition. They are therefore now looking for all ways to discredit the governor in order to be appointed when the governor is removed, which is a wishful thinking.
Hence, it is clear that Deng Mayom and Deng Mador are looking for a way to get into Governorship through the backdoor. In that regard, I do not think whether the President of South Sudan may accept their demand for the removal of Gok State Governor simply because they do not represent Gok people and also they are trying to put their personal interests above that of the people of Gok State.
As pointed out in the above paragraph, because of their personal interests, they are not objective in judging whether they governor is progressing well or not. So their claims should be dismissed as farce and baseless allegations.
In addition, to prove that they are not representing Gok people, they do not even have constitution which defines their operation. What they do is that they only use the name of the community to push on with personal agenda as seen in the present case.
Therefore, what Deng Mayom and Deng Mador are doing in Juba can be properly termed as the misuse of the Community because they have misunderstood the meaning of the community.
A community is commonly considered as a social unit (a group of people) who has something in common, such as norms, values, or identity. Often – but not always – communities share a sense of place that is situated in a given geographical area such as a country, village, town, or neighborhood.
In addition, durable relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties also define a sense of community. People tend to define those social ties as important to their identity, practice, and roles in social institutions like family, home, work, government, society, or humanity, at large.
The definition of the community above points to one thing that the community is apolitical body that serves the interests of its members in Unity and the role of the community is to support its members and at the same time correct its members where they have gone wrong.
Hence, Deng Mayom and Deng Mador ought to understand that there is a difference between political community and ordinary community. Political Community is the community that engages in national politics where different people from different backgrounds come together to form a political party with the aim to take power. This is the type of the community Deng Mador and Deng Mayom are trying to impose on Gok people.
Had they understood the Gok Community as given in the definition of the community above but not in line of political community as they have understood it, they would have not demanded for the removal of the governor but they would only have sought for a way how to help the governor govern well.
It is only after the governor has failed to respond to their suggestion on how to govern well, that is when they may compile complaints and forward it to the President with clear evidence but not backed up by blanket evidence as shown in the present case of Deng Mador and Deng Mayom in supporting their allegations.
In summary, I am appealing to the President of South Sudan not to rely on the demand of Deng Mayom and Deng Mador as ground for removing the governor because they have their personal interests to serve not the interests of Gok Community.
In fact, these two people as mentioned in the above paragraph and who claim to represent Gok people in Juba are behaving like members of FDs or G10. The members of FDs are now in the USA making unnecessary noises that South Sudan should be taken over by the UN yet they are not the ground to see the recent changes that have taken place in South Sudan.
In the same way, Deng Mayom and Deng Mador just sit in Juba making politics without going to the ground to see how the governor has failed and how he should be helped to succeed. They just talk of removal of Governor yet they do not know how Governor is performing at home.
NB//: the author is South Sudanese student residing in Uganda and can be reached through: email@example.com
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