“I was not arrested by President Salva Kiir,” says Hon. Andrew Kuach Mayol

Posted: March 28, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Michael Koma, Juba, South Sudan

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March 28, 2017 (SSB) —- Hon. Andrew Kuach Mayol, a veteran politician, a career military commander, and former Commissioner in the liberated areas before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed between Khartoum and the SPLM/A in the year 2005; Andrew served the movement with distinction, displayed unshaken loyalty to the people’s movement. He is a well-respected chap. Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Andrew served as Political and Economic Advisor to the Governor of Warrap State, and was the Deputy Chairperson of the SPLM party.

After the re-division of the ten states to 28 States, Andrew was holding similar positions in Tonj State where he hails from. on 28 July 2016, Tonj State Governor, Gen. Akec Tong arrested Hon. Andrew together with the former Commissioner of Tonj South County, Hon. William Wol Mayom. The two gentlemen spent 7 months in custody without being charged or arraigned before a competent Court of Law.

To find out the reasons behind their incarcerations for months without trails; The Dawn Business Manager, Michael Koma talked to Hon. Andrew and below is the excerpts of the Interview:

The Dawn: Hon Andrew, you were accused of being members of the IO under Dr. Riek Machar Teny, did you met with Dr. Riek in person?

Andrew: It is true that we met Dr. Riek Machar in Juba, and that is why we were accused of being his members. The other thing we were charged with was incitement; that we were inciting the population to either join the IO or kill themselves in Tonj State.

This was one of the most unspeakable fabricated truths by the Governor. As a leader who has served in Tonj and in the War of Liberation, and as SPLM deputy Chairman in then former Warrap State, I don’t believe in the deaths of my own people; so to foster killings of my own people is one last thing in my mind.

But anyway, these were the basic charges. Another thing, we were arrested arbitrarily; we were immediately told to report ourselves to prison under the security personnel. I was told these words: “take these people to your house, these people are arrested”

We said okay. If this things you claim amount to an arrest then why not give us time to explain ourselves? We actually tried to explain that we were not members of the IO; that we have not incited anybody against anybody; but in fact we went to see Dr. Riek Machar, but having met him does not amount automatically becoming SPLM-IO member.

I met Dr. Riek in May 2016 and Hon Wol Mayom met Dr. Riek in June, we did not deny this and we don’t deny it; what we deny is that our meeting him does not make us IO members.

While we were trying to explain these things, one of the Ministers in Tonj State got up to accuse us of being behind the coup alleging that we were members of the coup in Juba in 2016.We argued that the attempted coup happened two months after we met Dr. Machar after we went back to our homes; how could we become accomplices of that attempted coup while we were not in Juba? We argued further that what is your proof that we were part of the coup? We were told our signatures were there!

It was then that I said okay. Why can’t you bring the signatures forward? Then the signatures were brought before us, but they were found that they were forged signatures not ours. So we told them these are forged signatures. The whole thing was stopped. We were told that we should be taken to the arrest house. The Director General of Security in Tonj State was told; please take them away! We were arrested without further discussions going ahead.

The Dawn: Were you issued with the warrant of arrest?

Andrew: NO. In fact we asked the state government for the warrant of arrest. We said okay where is the warrant of arrest? They said okay get up, go. You are arrested, and so we were taken to be arrested in the house of the security organ on 28th until 20th Feb 2017, without warrant of arrest.

The Dawn: Were you investigated and charged?

Andrew: While we were under arrest, a committee was formed to investigate us headed by the director of National Security at the state level. The findings were taken to the Governor, but they could not show us the findings. Our point was that after the investigation; the government should have taken us to court. What is funny about all these is that the State Government was stubbornly saying: we are not taking you to court and we are not releasing you.

The Dawn: Why?

Andrew: That is the question. Why? Who is above the law? You have put somebody into prison and have been investigated then the matter should be taken to court, right? We were not taken to court; we stayed there for seven months then with the pressure of our people here and there the governor decided to release us on 20th Feb this year. Governor Akec faced specific questions, such as why did you imprison them? We even asked him the same question, why did you arrest us? He was saying no; we are not going to talk here! We are going to talk at the SPLM caucus meeting. The SPLM caucus meeting never took place until today.

The Dawn: But on several occasions, Governor Maj. Gen Akec Tong has been saying that your arrest was above his mandate?

Andrew: It is a lie. We know that the Governor has been going about in Tonj saying Andrew Kuac was arrested by President Salva Kiir, not himself. President Kiir is a good man, only a fool will accept this crazy lies. But if that was the case, I would argue to say no; the President does not arrest people in the state; on very sensitive matters, the President may arrest and transfer criminals to Juba. I was not arrested by President Kiir; Governor Akec fabricated the lie and painted it as truth.

The Dawn: Have you attempted to see President Salva Kiir in regards to Governor Akec’s allegations?

Andrew: No. I just came yesterday. The fact is we are told the Governor came to Juba to report to the President, that the investigation committee’s findings show these people are not IO members; that we have not incited the people. Of course he made his research. Our chiefs were telling him, the Governor that these people have not incited us the chiefs; that the local fightings were purely matters related to those communities, not external incitement.

The Dawn: If this has become the case, that you are innocent, what is your assumption about your arrest?

Andrew: What I knew is that the arrest was a political concoction. The Governor has a problem with me in the SPLM. This is what is causing all these problems. Governor Akec does not want me to be his deputy chairman in the SPLM.

The Dawn: Are you still Deputy Chairman of the SPLM in the State?

Andrew: I was dismissed from that position contrary to the constitution of the SPLM.

The Dawn: What does the constitution of the SPLM say in regards to dismissal and appointment?

Andrew: The constitution says the deputy chairperson and the chairperson are the positions elected by the states congress and it is the congress that can dismiss two of us not the governor, and in the absence of the congress, it should be the President of the party who can take decisions on such matters.

The Dawn: Did you apologize to the Governor, upon your release, or have you reconciled your differences?

Andrew: Governor Akec was telling us to apologize for all that we have done. Then we said; we cannot apologize on matters that can be taken as evidence by the court of law.

We saw his call for apology as a trick. There is no need to apologize that we have incited the people. We know that immediately the law will confirm it. So we said we will not apologize on matters that are sensitive by law.

We also said okay, if it is the case of Riek Machar; we have not denied it despite the fact that this is what he has taken seriously. Now if you ask him (Governor Akec) he will say I jailed them because they went to Riek Machar! If it is the point of Riek Machar, okay if we apologize for going to meet or see Riek, we say sorry and we will not repeat it.

That is the apology they are talking about in the media. But we knew that no court will sentence us on the matter of meeting Riek Machar. There is no article in the law which may corner us around that. So we said okay, if going to Riek Machar has become a problem, we went to him in his capacity as First Vice President; but if that is a mistake okay it is a mistake, we apologize for that. So that was the apology.

The Dawn: What did the Governor do for you, after you are released?

Andrew: I don’t know. But when somebody is in the prison, was once holding a position in the government, later on that person has not been convicted by law, comes out, and is it not likely that his positions are returned to him? So, as I am out and nothing was found against me; he took all the positions I was holding. He could have given them to me. And say thank you. Or if he is not willing to work with me any longer, let him do it procedurally. I think there is a lot to be desired because you cannot describe such behavior; it is something based on thinking which is not correct

The Dawn: What is your request? Are you demanding him to return your position or what?

Andrew: No. It is a public observation for me. I am not ready to work with him. I just want to show to the people that he doesn’t know the work ethics. Somebody has been jailed and found not guilty, not taken to court and still you put off his position. I don’t want this position but he shouldn’t have behaved that way. That is not the way Governments work.

The Dawn: What about your dignity; are you going to sue him to court of law or not?

Andrew: I am waiting for the second man who was arrested with me. He will be coming within few days. We will decide about that matter of dignity together. However, the immunity thing; has to be lifted to allow him to go to court with us, but that is the hanging question.

The Dawn: What is your message to the governor as you speak now?

Andrew: My message to him is that this style of arresting people is not good on his part, because it creates unnecessary hostilities in the societies. The governor has to take proper information before taking action to arrest, because he took actions on issues he did not investigate and did not find out properly. He should try hard to take proper information before taking action on us.

The Dawn: What is your say about the National Dialogue?

Andrew: For the National Dialogue I suggest let us give the national dialogue a chance, because if we are against the present government under President Salva Kiir, then which government will implement the resolutions of the national dialogue? My advice is, let us not mix up things; the national dialogue and the people who do not want the government, for example. It can be confusing.

Even those who are carrying arms are requested to participate in this national dialogue agenda. The international community must support it, by discouraging arms rebellion in the country. The ongoing hostilities by the arms opposition will make the success of the national dialogue difficult, and it is up to the peace partners to push for peace, by discouraging rebellions – the region should stop giving safe-haven to rebels.

To read the printed copy of this interview, contact The Dawn Newspaper in Juba at their email:”thedawnnewspaper1@gmail.com” <thedawnnewspaper1@gmail.com>

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is 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 paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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