Governor Nguen should be involved in the case that made Panyijiar commissioner lives in exile
By Dak Buoth
30th April, 2021
On 21st February, 2021, the President in consultation with the principal stakeholders to the Peace Agreement, issued a decree, appointing seven county commissioners of Unity State namely,
1, Chuol Gatluak for Mayom county,
2, Kawai Chany for Guit county,
3, Gordon Kong Biel for Koch county,
4, Stephen Taker for Leer county,
5, Gatluak Wechar Nyak for Rubkona county,
6, Gatluak Nyang for Mayendit county and 7, William Gatgiek Mabor for Panyijiar county.
Weeks after their appointment, they hurriedly left Juba for State capital, Bentiu for swearing-in by the Governor Dr. Joseph Nguen Manytuil. Subsequently, six out of the aforementioned commissioners quickly left for their respective counties of their jurisdictions.
Michael’s suo moto declaration was prompted by First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar’s rejection of the three nominees for Panyijiar commissionership.
Unfortunately, the leader of SPLM-IO who is an appointing authority under the peace agreement failed to nominate one of three names brought to him from Panyijiar county. Instead, he hand-picked his long-time aide Hon. William Gatgiek Mabor as commissioner for Panyijiar.
As matter of fact, the people do not really have a problem with the William as a person neither do they doubt his capabilities for the job. Many are only aggrieved and unhappy with the unjustified rejection of the names of those who had earlier shown interest to lead the county at this time.
In attempt to bring this bitter political contestation to its logical conclusion, dozen senior members of Panyijiar including this writer, unanimously decided that Hon. William Gatgiek should wait outside the territory of Panyijiar county in the meantime, unless or until the Problem is amicable resolve, to avert or avoid unnecessary clash or confrontation over the less lucrative and temporary Panyijiar commissionership position.
As we converse now, the Panyijiar commissioner, William Gatgiek lives in exile in Unity State Capital, Bentiu. Over the years, Panyijar county was wittingly left behind and it’s going to remain behind from the activities and development programs of the Unity state unless otherwise.
So far, the governor and the leadership of the state made a tour of all the counties except Panyijiar due to these unresolve issues. In order for Panyijiar county and its people to catch up, something vital ought to be done speedily by its Leaders, ordinary members and friends of Panyijiar county.
I’m privy to some underground reconciliatory initiatives spearheaded by ideological Panyijiar sons and daughters. For couple of months now, they had been involved in an in-depth ‘soul-searching’ to reconcile the factions in Panyijiar county, with a view to redirect and rally them to confront the historical political marginalization and oppression once and for all.
At the onset of the initiative, the underground group that I had just referred to wanted a pure Panyijiar people’s dialogue among themselves, without involvement of others. But at one point, it was realized that the First Vice President and Leader of the SPLM-IO whom some people are pointing blaming fingers on, should be involved or represented in the upcoming dialogues that are about to commence in Panyijiar headquarters and its environs. In these deliberations, Dr. Riek Machar was made aware, and he appointed people to represent him in the reconciliation team that flew and landed on Panyijiar yesterday.
In the same vein, it’s no longer secret that Panyijiar people apportion blames on various successive regimes Unity state leaderships. Panyijiar lack many vital things namely telecommunication network, roads network, hospitals to mention but a few. We have to know that the current governor does not know Panyijiar county; he never visited Panyijiar before.
Perhaps, he only saw and read on books that Panyijiar county is the largest county in the map of Unity State. But he never steps foot on its land. He is just an innocent inheritor of these challenges. And this is not to exonerate him at all. I simply think that it would be fair and advantageous to involve him in the dialogue physically or through his representative.
As things goes now, Panyijiar people are murmuring and whispering that enough is enough; that they will not continue to play second fiddle; and that they want to break away peacefully from Unity State to form their own, to manage their resources and affairs, if people keep turning deaf hears to their historical and systematic grievances.
In the last few months, I have had communication with him by virtue of the office I hold as Unity State community Leader in Kenya. In my recollections, Dr. Nguen seems to be humble and understandable; perhaps it’s that dirty politics in our country has soiled his name and everyone else. We could see from his public utterances.
So, I’m of the view that he needs to send someone who have his ears in the talks. I can tell you that the convincing idea for informing and involving the First vice President in the dialogue was that the Reconciliation Committee headed by Dr. Mabor Nyak, Nyuong Danhier and other big names like Gen. Ruot Chuol, Gen. Kwer Kai alias ‘Cha-Bany dor’, Ezekiel Wow Kuol, Lady Nyathor Muot, Bentiu Yar and Michael Kuany Bol to mention but a few will untimately report to him as head of SPLM-IO that control the area.
The Writer is the Chairman of Liech Community Association in Kenya, the views expressed here are his own, and he can be reached for comments via firstname.lastname@example.org