Opinion: Let’s be fair with Governor Madhang Majok of Gok state

Gok State governor Major General, Madhang Majok Meen in a open-air office in Cueibet (File photo)

February 9th 2020 (Nyamilepedia)I have been reading barrages of criticisms on Facebook against the Governor of Gok state over his failure to attend the governors’ or gubernatorial consultative meeting with the President of South Sudan over 32 States. The meeting was attended by all the governors of 31 States plus the Administrator of Abyei Administrative Area.

After the meeting all the governors came out with the resolution that the issue of 32 States and Abyei Administrative Area in South Sudan is beyond politics and are irreversible. This was made clear in their communique or position paper that was widely circulated on social media bearing the signatures of all governors of South Sudan except the Governor of Gok State Hon. Madhang Majok who did not attend the meeting nor sign the Statement.

The whole thing did not go down well with the citizens of Gok State upon discovering the Governor’s failure to attend the meeting nor sign the communique or the public statement rejecting the SPLM-IO’s demand for the reversal of 32 States to 10 States, many Gok State intellectuals bitterly complained against the Governor. Those who complained saw the failure of the Governor as his failure to defend Gok State or it would be bad for the public to see that Gok State does not have effective government.

Whereas I respect their opinions as it is their political right to complain or to speak their minds out on the management of Gok State, I have to say that in everything we do including criticisms, we have to be fair. Fairness is the basis of good criticisms and we can only be fair if we first investigate the reason for certain contain or the reason for failure of Governor in the present case.

The reason I concluded that we need to be fair with Governor Madhang and we need to excuse him in the present matter is that he did not deliberately decide to fail to attend the Meeting but there might have been some reasons that held him back from attending the meeting with his colleagues. Fair hearing the right that cut across all the human rights as it is their foundation.

It is natural and non-derogable rights. Before we criticize anyone including our enemies, we must try to find out as to the cause of their failure to do something. This is applicable to even out rivals in politics. in the case State, there must have been some reasons for the Governor of Gok State failing to attend the meeting which might have been the following—

First, his failure might be due to the insecurity that has recently occurred in Gok State caused by the fight between clans that left a good number of people dead. So, he might have remained to bring the situation under control as he continues looking for the solution. This was clearly brought out by both Deng Chapath in his article and some people who commented on it.

Second, the governor might have failed to attend due to the fact that by the time the meeting was going on, Gok State had lost one of her ministers, Hon. Issac Mayom Malek who passed away in Nairobi while undergoing medical treatment. It is logical that he might have failed to attend the meeting on compassionate ground as Deng Chapath has observed in his article. It is clear that had he attended without remaining some people would have said that the Governor does not care for the officials in his government.

Third, the Governor might have failed to attend the meeting due to the above reasons or his failure to delegate could be attributed to the fact that by that time up to date there is no Deputy Governor nor Acting Deputy Governor in Gok State since the former Deputy Governor was relieved. He could therefore not delegate any other person within his Government to attend the Meeting as acting Deputy Governor, which could spark off the speculation or politics over the replacement of the former Deputy Governor as the people are still not sure whether he would be reappointed or someone else could be appointed to replace him. Hence, it was wise for him not to delegate someone to represent him in the meeting as he was not able to attend personally.

Another question we need to ask is, could he have failed to attend the meeting without repercussion from the appointing authority since the issue of 32 States is one of the political advantage to the Governor? Absolutely not, it is logical that had the governor failed to attend without the approval from the President, he would have already been fired from his post since the Government would have seen him as conspiring with the SPLM-IO.

The above conclusion leave us with one thing as some commentators had put it in their comments on Deng Chapath’s article that the Governor might have asked the permission from the President to be excused to remain in the State so that he dealt with the prevailing crises including the management of the funeral of the State Minister of Local Governor, Late Hon. Issac Mayom Malek.

He given permission since the Government or the President knew that his absence could not affect the 32 States nor could it affect Gok State itself. Such analysis made President easily accept the request of Governor Madhang not to attend the meeting. Then the other question that need to be asked is even if the Governor might have refused deliberately to attend the meeting as the way of leaving the issue of the State To Whom It May Concern, would it have affected the State?

In my view as Deng Chapath pointed out, the failure by the Governor to attend the meeting on behalf of Gok State and the failure to sigh on the Statement could not make the SPLM-IO to claim for the return of Gok State on that ground and Gok State could not be returned to the former Lakes State because of that.

In short, what I wanted to tell the intellectuals from Gok State is that as we engage in politics to make sure that Gok State is managed well, we also need to always be fair. Politics should not make us lose our fairness as fairness is required in protecting the natural right to fair hearing of everyone including them since it i the basis of the right to be heard. This means that before we criticize, we need to analyze the actions of the person or even asking the person to explain himself or herself but if it is not possible then we make analysis based on the conduct based on facts surrounding the events. What I wanted to say is that despite our interest in politics, let us be fair with Governor Madhang Majok of Gok State in some issues which are also connected to the welfare of the people on the ground.

Daniel Juol Nhomngek is a lawyer by profession holds LLB from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. He’s currently working with M/S Ibaale, Nakato & Co., Advocates, P.o Box 26781, Kampala, Uganda. His research, he is interested in teaching and law practice in the areas of criminal law, international human rights law and the law of armed conflicts, public international law, administrative law, Equity and Trusts, constitutional law, Jurisprudence or political philosophy, legal methods and theory, legislative drafting and judicial practice; and law & public policy. For any comment please reach the authority through any one of the these email addresses: juolmarialdit@gmail.com ;or juoldaniel2003@gmail.com


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