January 25th 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – A senior government official in South Sudan’s Northern Liech state has denied accusations by two members of parliament who resigned that the governor was corrupt and neglecting dispute with neighboring Ruweng state as result of the 32 states.
In October 2019, member of Northern Liech parliament Mangok Tap Diew resigned citing corruption by the state governor Dr. Joseph Nguen Manytuil.
This week, the speaker of parliament resigned and said the governor was corrupt and was reluctant to resolve land disputes with neighboring states including Ruweng.
The Nyamilepedia responded by reaching out to state government officials and the political advisor to the government Doctor Chuotyier who is also the Secretary General of the SPLM party in the state agreed to sit down with us and said the governor was not corrupt adding that the issue of land is being resolved by the national government and other peace mechanisms.
Below is the full interview:
Nyamilepedia: Mr. Doctor Chuotyier, the SPLM Secretary General of Northern Liech state, thank you for accepting to our request for interview.
Chuotyier: You are welcome.
Nyamilepedia: Within the last few months, two members of the state parliament decided to quit over what they said was corruption by governor Manytuil, do you agree that there is in fact an ongoing corruption?
Chuotyier: I strongly disagree said that there is corruption in the leadership of Governor Dr. Manytuil. He is a visionary leader who is very competent to manage the state affairs. When he came to power in 2013, the ongoing crisis started after few months. Prior to that, the government had declared austerity measures after the shutdown of the oil production [in Unity state] because of some disputes with Sudan.
The two percent oil money which was mentioned by the two guys who resigned [Mangok Tap and Diu Lieyliey] weren’t there because the oil was closed down and the country descended into civil war few months after and the production was closed. So, since the governor came into office in July 2013 and then the shutdown of the oil production because of the senseless civil war imposed on us, there has never been any such thing like 2%.
So, if the point of corruption was the 2%, then there is no corruption because the money has never been given to the state authorities by the central government because of the economic situation imposed by the war.
We don’t have any money in the state rather than the ordinary salary of government officials and civil servants.
Nyamilepedia: Well, the two men mentioned the issue of land, before we get into details, what are the disputed area and what is the response by the state government?
Chuotyier: According to my understanding there are no disputed areas between the two states because each community knows where they were before the 32 states were declared, but some politicians want to create disputes for their own interests. Specially, the previous Governors of Ruweng who came with [First Vice President] Gen. Taban Deng Gai from the rebellion and were recommended by Taban to be Governors in Ruweng state such as Maulana Thieji and Ustaz Them de’Machar. For them to get back the support of the people of Ruweng they have to claim the ownership of some areas belonging to Northern Liech and it has become a way of campaigning for those seeking to be governors in Ruweng state and that is why it that precedent was followed by Lourance Mabuok and others.
But to my own understanding the Revitalized peace agreement set a mechanism to resolve the issues to with land disputes, there are two institutions established by the agreement, the TBC [Technical Boundaries Committee] and the IBC [Independent Boundaries Commission].
These institutions are responsible to go and ask the people of South Sudan in all levels particularly the grassroots. These would be the ordinary people living in those areas and not the politicians about the disputed lands.
Nyamilepedia: Now, there is a question culminating from your answer on the issue of land. You said there are no disputed areas between Northern Liech and Ruweng, if that is the case, why the two state governments were asked to relocate from that area and who actually directed them to vacate the area?
Chuotyier: They were asked to do so by the leadership of the Country to relocate their administrations due to the repeated complaints from those politicians from Ruweng as it become a campaign agenda to seek governorship in Ruweng state. They forgot that the people of Ruweng and the people of Northern Liech state were once under one Unity state. As a governments, we care for the lives of the people in the two states and not to polarize them and generate tensions for no reason.
Nyamilepedia: So, was the mechanism by the central government to resolve the issue after directing the two governments to relocate their administrative areas from that area?
Chuotyier: If you read my answers carefully, I told u that there are two institutions created by Revitalized peace agreement, the IBC and the TBC. The two institutions are mandated to oversee and resolve the issues to deal with the disputes on the borders and the numbers of states and there are lots of details and provisions on that matter.
Nyamilepedia: The governor of Ruweng state wrote a letter to governor Manytuil threatening to take actions against Northern Liech soldiers stationed in one of the areas believed to be contested, how far the two governor gone to resolve that issue?
Chuotyier: Concerning the letter that you are talking about I have no ideas about it but what I know the two governments were asked to take their administrations away from the area which they did. The Government of Ruweng relocated its administration to Toor and Toom South in the eastern side of Rotriak as the government of Ruweng calls Panakuach and the Government of Northern Liech to the West and Northern side of the area. As for the Soldiers no one can threat them because they are not Nuer and Dinka only they are the soldiers of South Sudan defending not only one particular state, but the Republic of South Sudan.
Nyamilepedia: Let us go back to the question of corruption. The governor has been accused of employing his own relatives, how can you deny that?
Chuotyier: I want to assure you and who ever may read this conversations that Dr. Manytuil cannot and is not employing his relatives only in the state, why? Simply because he is a governor of Northern Liech state not Governor of his own relatives the accusation is a serious lie and it baseless. Let me just give you some proves. I myself I am not a relative to Dr. Joseph Manytuil and now I am communicating to you as state political advisor and SPLM SG. I am from Greater Guit County. The former speaker who has just resigned on 20/01/2020 as speaker of the state parliament for almost four years hails from Guit County. But due to his incompetency and ignorance on the political issues he confused and he proved his weakness.
I think it was a good heart from the Governor Manytuil to except him to be a speaker while he has no any single document even the primary certificate to qualify him for this big position, now he has proved that he doesn’t deserve.
When u come to other three Greater counties you find the minister of finance is from Greater Koch and the Deputy Governor is from Greater Rubkona. It goes like this even the senior civil servants such as Director Generals. I am just giving u examples and u are free to ask others on this information.
The two members of parliament in question have their own different problems. There is no corruption under Dr. Manytuil leadership.
Ustaz. Madira I want to assure you that Dr. Joseph Manytuil is the most capable governor in the history of Greater Bentiu since the time of Unity state. If you could recall, Dr. Manytuil was the one who build those government institutions in Greater Unity state while there was insufficiency of funds but due to his good heart and his political will to work for the good of his people he succeeded, if you compare when former Governor Taban Deng Gai came and with the two percent of oil money, he fails to build even a rakuoba (a South Sudanese-Arabic word for tent) or tukul in good eight years.
Therefore, Dr. Manytuil is the best of all those who were governors in the state. We just need to give him time. During the time of peace, you will see a great change in everything. He is not a tribal leader but he is a compatriot and a hero in term of leadership. He is one of the South Sudanese leaders that can be followed and learn from.
Nyamilepedia: Doctor Chuotyier Northern Liech state political advisor and SPLM secretary-general, thank you for talking to Nyamilepedia.
Chuotyier: You are welcome.