May 17, 2021 — Already facing multiple crises ranging from flood pandemic to intercommunal violence, many citizens would think the state of Jonglei has had enough and may need a break; however, its leadership may strongly disagree.
The leadership of the country’s youngest governor, Mr. Denay Chagor, has been struggling “under the table” as Mr. Denay, his deputy and candidates for the position of Mayor have been strangling one another in silence for months but now they think they have had enough.
The cold-war surfaced recently on May 13th when the Deputy Governor, Mr. Antipas Nyok Kucha, decided to fire Bor town Mayor, Dr. Agot Alier Leek, both from SPLM party and also from the position of town Mayor, a decree the governor refused to take slightly.
Responding to DG Antipas, Gov. Denay who just returned to South Sudan from a “business mission” to the United States, called for “calm” and declared Antipas’ decree void, adding that he is the only person who has the “prerogative” to appoint a mayor.
In respond to Governor Denay’s response, Antipas called for “calm” through his Facebook page and assured that the issue would be resolved although he was too busy with developmental agenda such as building roads and dykes in the state.
“My dear people of Jonglei state, I urge calmness and utmost restraint in this particular time. The office of the Deputy Governor is working around the clock to settle everything amicably. I am so much focused on the issues that affect our people such as the floods and the issue of internal roads within Bor” DG Antipas said.
Whether the leaders sat down and resolved the issue or not remains a concern but the governor shown the gathering on SPLA Day, May 16, that he was still furious and wanting to fight on even if it means fighting under the table.
Governor Denay was speaking at Jonglei State general Secretariat headquarters where hundreds of residents turned up to pay tributes to heroes and heroines who perished in the liberation struggle.
Despite the hard feelings, Denay appealed to residents of Jonglei to bury hatchet for them to enjoy the dividends of peace.
The root causes and who get credit
The two leaders, Denay and Antipas, tend to work in parallel directions as each of them seems to mobilize the community in their own terms.
Although the two leaders are yet to witness a significant breakthrough in their term, each of them claims credit for road construction, peace and flood initiatives.
“Thank you so much my people for the Love you showed to me yesterday . This is the ideal SPLM we went to Bush. To see our people happy and celebrating always. Thank you so much for celebrating the work done on floods. This was one of the first promises I made on my first day I arrived Bor.” Antipas said.
“I am also now engaging our neighbors to make sure peace prevails so that we all go to farm. My dream is to see such smiling faces and celebration of our people everyday.” Antipas continued.
“I know you have all suffered for far too long. Yesterday Saturday was a blessing to all of us and celebration of our achievement. Now as I said yesterday I was sent by the SPLM to Bor to change the lives of our people. I will not let you down. Today I am on my way to Mareng to check on the progress of the road.” Antipas further added.
On the other hand, governor Denay has been the face of the projects in the state but at the same times, the governor travels on foreign missions and that creates a vacuum that Antipas fills.
“Taking towns to people means easing their lives and one of them is making sure roads are accessible and floods stopped. This area was a river the day I stepped into Bor as Deputy Governor and today it’s a road and at the same time acting in some parts as a dyke. I am pleased to inform every member of our community that I shall continue to devote my time and energy to bring services to our people.” Said the deputy governor Antipas.
The root cause of what seems to be a leadership struggle between the governor and his deputy does not end between the two top leaders, it cracks its way down to the last man in the office of the town Mayor – a position that is being contested between Denay’s SPLM friends and Antipas’s SPLM supporters.
The two leaders are also reported to be holding separate functions with local residents and who gets directives from who remains to be seen.