Warrap state extension of gubernatorial term sparks street protest
June 17, 2015 (JUBA) – A bid by Warrap state government in South Sudan, home to president Salva Kiir, to extend the term in office of governor Nyandeng Malek, has sparked street protest amid deployment of a joint police and security forces in Kuacjok town, capital of the state.
- Warrap state governor Nyandeng Malek addresing SPLM members in Kwajok April 15, 2013 (ST)
Governor Malek, whose term came to an end in May is the first elected woman politician into the office of governorship in the country. She was elected in April 2010 and took oath of office on 10 May 2010, marking the beginning of her five year term in the top elected state executive position.
Some members of parliament and critics of her administration however argued that she was no longer a legitimate governor after her term has expired; pointing out that the latest attempt for new mandate was not in the interest of the public.
Protesters in reaction to move for extension took to the street on Wednesday as the state parliament was holding its first discussion on the report examining request presented last week to the house by the state minister of local government, General Acuil Tito.
It remained unclear whether the state parliament would approve or reject the request seeking the extension of the term of governor Malek for three more years in office since the national elections commission postponed holding of elections in response to the request by the national government to cancel the polls due to lack of conducive environment to carry out prerequisite processes.
Karlos Maluil Makuek, a member of the youth group coordinating the protest told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday from Kuacjok, Warrap state’s capital, that they were barricaded in parts of the town by security and police forces in an attempt to block members of the general public from joining them.
“Police are blocking people from joining the demonstration because they are aware that more people want to come to the parliament to protest this request seeking extension of the term of the governor,” Makuek told Sudan Tribune.
“The security forces and police have been deployed to quell the protests but we are determined to not allow this to happen. We are more than 200 members but this will [increase] group,” he said.
Acting head of parliamentary committee responsible for information, communications and public relations, Ariech Mayar Ariech, said he told the house at the start of the discussion of the request to put the common interest first and stand with the desire of the public rather than with individuals.
The legislator said youth came to the parliament holding placards showing “no extension for the term of the governor, yes for extension of the state legislative assembly and the office of the president.”
Observers however said the protesting Warrap youth were contradicting themselves since they only rejected extension of the governor’s term in office while at the same time approving of the extension of terms in office of both president Salva Kiir and state legislative assembly who were elected in the same 2010 elections.
All the South Sudanese elected officials in April 2010 at all levels of executive and legislature have their terms expired either in March or May this year.