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IDPs protest against transfer of Makal County seat

Author: Elsheikh Chol | Published: Monday, March 15, 2021

Displaced people in Malakal hold peaceful demonstrations against decision by the government to transfer the headquarters of Makal County to Wau-Shilluk, on Monday, March 15, 2021 | Credit | UNMISS

Internally displaced persons at the UN camp in Malakal have rejected the decision by the government to transfer the headquarters of Makal County to Wau-Shilluk.

Those who staged protests on Monday want Malakal to remain the main administrative center for Upper Nile State, including Makal County.

The decision was made recently at a meeting attended by the first vice president, the minister of Cabinet Affairs, the presidential advisor on Security and the governor of Upper Nile State and his deputy.

On Friday, the five leaders agreed to establish Malakal as a municipality, and Makal as a County with its headquarters outside Malakal town.

Dr. Riek Machar, Dr. Martin Elia, Tut Gatluak, Budhok Ayang and James Tor also resolved to create Wurjwok and Wau Shilluk payams.

This evoked negative responses from some politicians and intellectuals from the state.

They argued that the resolution contradicts the provisions of the revitalized peace agreement and the state constitution, which gives the powers to redraw boundaries to the Council of States.

This morning, hundreds of protestors walked to the UN Mission offices within the POC site to present their petition.

“If the county need to be relocate must be done with the will of its people. The people have rejected the decision,” said Adam Ajak, paramount chief of Makal.

Others expressed their disappointment with the decision.

John Adwok, paramount chief of Anakdiar community, said:

“The people are unhappy. What come from juba, from the minister of cabinet affairs, is something that could bring about sedition among all the people here – Dinka, Shilluk, Nuer, and Anyuak.”

In response, the Deputy Governor of Upper Nile state, James Tor, told Eye Radio the decision was made to separate the administration of the county from the municipality.

Tor further appealed to the people of Upper Nile State not to tribalize the issue.

“The residents of the state have to rise above ethnic ego and must give peace a chance. So I am advising them to cooperate with the state authorities,” he added.

Upper Nile state is being governed by the SPLM-IO and the SPLM-ITGoNU.

The state governor is yet to swear in officials for the various ministerial and local government positions.

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