The government-appointed commissioners in six counties in South Sudan’s Yei River State have failed to show up for work at their respective county headquarters since their appointment in August, several local residents said.
The local residents told Radio Tamazuj that Morobo, Lujulo, Mukaya, Mugwo, Otogo and Tore Counties are operating without commissioners.
They pointed out that the appointed commissioners did not visit their headquarters since they were sworn in by Governor David Lokonga Moses in August this year.
Moses Bida, a local resident in Morobo town said that they have not seen their commissioner up till now. “We heard that our new commissioner for Morobo County is called Richard Remo, a person we have not seen until today,” he said.
“His office is still locked and we heard that he is staying in Juba in fear of the insecurity situation on the ground. What kind of a leader is this, how do you call yourself leader of the people, and you are not with the people?” he asked.
Elsewhere in Lujulo County, the appointed commissioner was not seen on the ground since the division of Morobo County into two separate counties.
Manasseh Duwuki, a local resident in Lujulo County said: “We have never seen the commissioner up to now. We heard on the radio that he is no longer a commissioner and at the moment, we are in our village without a commissioner”.
Another resident in Mukaya County, who identified himself as Lukadi, said their commissioner is living in Yei town without visiting his area. “Yes, he came here and stayed for few days and later transferred to Lainya and now we heard that he is staying in Yei state capital. I can tell you that our commissioner Clement is currently not on the ground, we are just residents without any leader,” he said.
Malish Ronald, a local resident in Mugwo County, said that their commissioner Lasuba Natalino is not also based in the county headquarters.” if we need to meet him, we normally find our way to reach him at the former Yei municipality offices,” he said.
In Otogo County, Commissioner Antony Wani was also seen staying in the town while running his activities through the phone. “We always hear him speaking to us on phone, and he has not even one day visited the site where the county headquarters is located,” said a top local official.
Reportedly, Martin Mullai, the appointed commissioner of Tore County, is currently living in Juba while running his government through the phone.
Minalla Tabu, a local resident, said that their commissioner has failed to show up for work at the county headquarters as citizens complain about rampant insecurity and lack of basic services in the area.
Reacting to the news, Beneya Jojon Clement, Mukaya County commissioner, urged the armed opposition groups to accept President Kiir’s call for dialogue in order to find an amicable solution to their grievances.
“It is high time for the warring parties to come together for conversation to bring peace and see development activities growing in the area, “said the commissioner.
The local official promised to go back to his county next year to start development activities when peace prevails.
For his part, Stephen Lado, Yei Minister of Information, said that the six commissioners couldn’t go to their counties due to insecurity in the state. “So in the coming days, the government will introduce all the commissioners to their areas, “he said.
Speaking at the swearing in ceremony of 13 county commissioners in August, Governor David Lokonga called for peaceful solutions to end the ongoing conflict in the state.
In November, Jacob Toti, Commissioner Lujolo County, resigned from his position citing “human rights violations” by SPLA government forces including the murders of several people in his county.