Juba, South Sudan,
June 30, 2021 – Eastern Equatoria State Governor Louis Lobong Lojore has defended the appointment of new state government officials saying the positions were not part of the power-sharing matrix and hence consultation was unnecessary.
This comes after Mr. Lobong was criticized by his deputy Mary Alphonse for singlehandedly appointing the state secretary-general and deputy secretary-general on 25th June 2021 without consulting parties to the agreement.
The Governor also appointed the commissioner-general for Insurance and Regulatory Authority to the dismay of Alphonse, the deputy governor.
Lobong is a member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement under the leadership of Salva Kiir while Ms. Alphonse is from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, the main armed opposition group in the country.
On Sunday, Alphonse called on the leadership of the SPLM-IO to oppose the appointments and order their revocation.
“The leadership of the SPLM-IO in Equatoria State calls on the governor to revoke his decision and considered consultation with partners to the revitalized peace agreement for equal representation in different institutions of the government,” the deputy governor said in a statement extended to Nyamilepedia.
“The leadership of the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) in Eastern Equatoria State in strongest terms possible condemn and reject a unilateral decision taken by the state Governor Luis Lobong Lojore on the recent and previous appointments,” Alphonse added.
The deputy governor accused Lobong of power consolidation and taking unilateral decisions without consultation.
“The unilateral decisions taken by the governor are direct and blatant contravention of the Revitalized Peace Agreement and especially the principles of responsibility sharing,” she said.
She also said the appointments were against the directive from President Salva Kiir that state leaders must work cooperatively for the sake of peace.
“It is also against presidential directive to all-state governors across the country to collegially and cooperatively work together for sake of peace and unity of South Sudanese,” Alphonse said.
Lobong fires back
Responding to the response, Lobong said before the appointment of the Commissioner of State Insurance and Regulation Authority, the position had been discussed in the council of ministers in the presence of the deputy governor and all SPLM-IO ministers.
The governor said the 2018 peace agreement is silent on the responsibility sharing arrangement in the state and hence, it is his prerogative to appoint the head of parastatals and mayors in the state since the agreement is not clear.
“I would like to make it loud and clear that state cooperation or parastatals such as the Revenue Authority, Investment Cooperation and insurance regulatory authority and are not mentioned in the power-sharing matrix and that includes the position of the mayor,” he said in a statement.
The governor blamed his secretary for overstepping the leadership hierarchy and airing her concerns to the fourth estate; the media before it was internally addressed.
“If there was anything of concern my deputy would have called for a meeting in order to understand why the appointment of the secretary-general was done,” Lobong continued.