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JUBA - 12 Nov 2012

WBG governor accuses commissioner of incitement

The Governor of Western Bahr El Ghazal State (WBG), Rizik Zachariah, has accused the former commissioner of Wau County of inciting the public. He ordered the arrest of the commissioner for allegedly spreading false information that the entire communities of Wau would be displaced from their areas.

Former commissioner John Peter Miskin was arrested in Western Equatoria state and taken to prison in Wau. The official had resigned his post last month in protest of the decision to shift the county headquarters from Wau city to Bagari village.

The Western Bahr El Ghazal government has also decided to shift the Jur River County headquarters to Nyinyakok village. Some of the opponents of the move claimed that the measure never passed the state legislature, accusing the governor of violating the state constitution and ordering arbitrary arrests and disappearances of individuals.

Members of the WBG community in Juba last week told the Juba Post that they are calling on the national government to end the crisis.

Governor Rizik, however, denied the charges explaining that the plan to transfer the county headquarters was not to relocate the population but rather to shift administrative structures in order to render services to the local population.

“Our intention is to transfer the structures for the administration, not the population, and not all the people who belong to Wau should go to that area, but relocation of administration to the people,” he explained to Juba Post on Friday during a visit to the national capital.

Governor Rizik cited Article 134 (3), of the State Constitution, which states that cities, municipalities, and towns should be based in urban areas, while counties, payams and bomas should be based in rural areas to avail social services.

Wau town was established in 1928, during the British Colonial rule. It was representing Greater Bahr El Ghazal. Since then development has been focused on Wau Municipality, but rural areas have been neglected in terms of development.

Governor Rizik noted that when the state was initially founded, before South Sudan’s independence, it had only two counties both based in Wau town without clear boundaries. He added that after the reform Wau will remain a municipality under jurisdiction of a mayor.

The governor further denied the accusation of disappearances of civilians in the hands of government security agencies, and seizing of agricultural lands belonging to citizens.

By Denis Dumo for the Juba Post; reprinted by permission.