Date: 31st, Aug, 2019
To: H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit,
President of the Republic of South Sudan
Ref: Call for the removal of Mr. Victor Atem Atem, the governor of Gogrial state
Gogrial State Youth Unions and Civil Society coalition would like to herald in theirs extreme thanks and appreciations to the leadership of HE. GEN Salva Kiir Mayardit for his kind leadership to engaging other opposition armed groups to ink sustainable and lasting peace to the people of South Sudan through the signing of the Revitalized Peace Agreement. The Revitalized Peace Agreement which you have signed last year has restored the lost hope among the frustrated South Sudanese who were affected by this senseless war which was imposed on you. We the citizens of Gogrial state do also commend your endless efforts and struggle towards peace and harmony, good governance and delivery of services thought some autocratic leaders in person of Gogrial State governor are working hard to fail you, the youths of this great nation will still rally behind your charismatic leadership.
The coalition of civil society and youth of Gogrial State would like to bring to your attention some of the atrocities committed by the governor of Gogrial state since his assumption of the office in 2018 up to date. Corruption, extravagance, extra judicial killings, malpractice, intimidation, and arbitration are the daily behaviours of the governor in the office. As we write this note, many youths are in prison without charges, hundreds of youths are escaping Gogrial State to Juba on daily basis fearing their dear lives. It is worth noted that Gogrial State is not the safest place for youths and politicians to live due to Atem Atem harsh attitude towards citizens.
- Victor Atem Atem has unilaterally introduced household taxes in the state without the knowledge of State legislative assembly which has caused some stalemates in the state organs. He resort to jails many chiefs and citizens who refuse to pay the said household taxes, this is a part from what he calls as “governor compensation taxes” which are collected monthly in all counties of Gogrial to rebuild his house which was burned last year by those alleged to be his wife.
- On the other hand, the governor has also habitually addicted to selling developmental assets for instance, in the month of June this year he sold more than 20 hand pumps that were donated by world vision International leaving our civil population in dare need of water services
- Government of Gogrial State under the patronage of Victor Atem Atem has also involved in cattle rustling, the most shocking issue in this point is that the state security adviser Mr. Adhil Mabuoc has stolen 10 cows of Mr. Wek Deng Athian and sold them out in Mayen Rual market few months ago, after the above owner recognized his cows in the market day, he complained until two were refunded and security advisor dealt away with the rest of 8 cows and threatened to arrest him in case he complains.
- Mr Victor Atem has also sold government mobility (20 vehicles and more than 30 motorbikes) in Amiet and Majook Yinh-dhiou markets. Some of these cars and motor bikes were donated by NGOs in operating in the state and other are government cars which were left by his predecessors.
- In related developments, Governor Atem Atem has invested in creating youth unemployment in the State, his involvement into termination of NGOs employees' contracts for instance, the Unlawful dismissal of Mou Mawel in World Vision International and Chan Deng Adim the head of RRC in Gogrial state just to mention a few.
- The governor and his deputy are engaging in defiling and copulation of underage school girls. In the month of June, the governor defiled and copulated 16 years old student of Comprehensive secondary school in Kuajok and followed by what happened recently, when the deputy governor of Gogrial State rapped a 15 years old girl of the same secondary school, as we write this letter, the young girl is still in her hideout in the UNMISS site in Aweil state after this rapist decided to marry her by force.
- In a separate incident, the governor also arrested and jailed a businesswoman namely Akech Manut Akoon whom he owed her two drums of diesel and when that innocent woman asked governor to refund her money, he immediately responded with emotion and get the woman arrested together with her brother who questioned the legality of governor action to borrow someone's property and jailed her.
- The extra judicial killings of Gogrial State citizens is another matter which is developing malcontent between State governments and the civilians for instance the killing of 20 people in Aguok, 16 people in Apuk and 3 people in Kuac in cold blood apart from the criminals who were executed by the state of emergency you declared last year. The aforementioned people were illegally killed after you have lifted the state of emergency on the grounds that they are government opponents
- Kidnapping and torturing of some youths and activists are of no talks; in the last couples of months, governor kidnapped activists in the state capital and Juba, Your Excellency, you might have heard the kidnapping of Tur Bol, Mariak Madut Thiik, Agasio Agany and Atak Wol who were tortured in the state’s headquarters, moreover, that plan reached as far as to Juba, when Zechariah Makuach Maror was kidnapped in Hai Thuora, tortured and confined in the car for three days and later on dumped at Nyakuroun West after amounted pressure from his colleagues, security organs and the family
- The governor of Gogrial State has established what he claims to be a special court that fine both accused and complainer with what is more than ransom, i.e.. More than SSP100, 000 per each, the living examples are Mayuot Athuai and Executive Chief Mathiangdit Ameliny were also jailed in Kuac south county refusing to comply and cautioned the status quo of this illegal court which contradicts local government Acts.
- On the other, the governor has also established the illegal chambers of torture in Gogrial state, the illegal detention centres that include; Ajogo and Pan-acier in former Gogrial East county in which 15 youths were kept under harsh torture and till they perished; While Kaat military prison is another chamber of torture registered in former Gogrial west county in which more than five people were reported to be have tortured to death by governor. This detention centres were introduced by Atem Atem and his close supporters without the knowledge of authorized security apparatus in the state.
- The governor of Gogrial State has adopted the bribery system in running daily activities of the government, Your Excellency, kindly note that any candidate aspiring for the government ministerial posts is forced to pay an amount of SSP 1, 000, 000, two bulls and one heifer so that he is appointed to public institution contrary to SPLM policy, thus, he forms most of his government cabinets and other top officials out of illiterates who knew nothing about public administration, Your Excellency, this has so far jeopardized rights of Intellectuals of Gogrial state.
- On another occasion, the governor of Gogrial State has taken over the powers of high court in the State and he arbitrarily acts alone , so far, he fire-squad the inmates without charges or trial recently after the State of Emergency was lifted, additionally, more than 30 people who were waiting for trial were illegally persecuted by governor without the knowledge of the court in the state simply because these people were Victor Atem antagonists.
- The governor has also dispersed the youths in the State, he didn't know the limitation of his powers and other social organizations in the State. He disobeyed the youths in the State by relieving and dislodged the legitimate elected youth chairman in the State and threatened to dissolve the constituted union.
We the organized coalition of youths and civil society of Gogrial state have a lot of concerns that obliged us to write this joint open letter ,we know very well that your security organs are reporting to you the atrocities being committed in the state by Mr. Victor Atem Atem’s government, but some governor’s supporters who are working with you in the office deflected some of your decision to maintain Atem Atem government in charge of Gogrial state.
Your Excellency, you have the rights to decide what to do and what not anytime you like, but our fear is that Victor Atem Atem is creating more enemies to you as well as to the whole SPLM government because many civilians in Gogrial are dissatisfied with the way the governor is managing the state of affairs in home area, note that Atem's policy of intimidation and extrajudicial arrest has forced all the youth of Gogrial state to abandon the state, meaning that the same youth who had struggled to make sure that you won the 2010 election as well as referendum are the ones being victimized by governor, as per now, some good number of them have already joined SPLM-IO and others are likely to join other rivals groups which seem to be creating implications on SPLM future victory in 2021 election as scheduled by R-ARCISS or any other support the SPLM led government may need from young ones in the Gogrial State.
The governor Atem Atem has forged your achievement of peace and stability in Gogrial State. All the citizens are aware that the current peace and stability in Gogrial is a result of the State of Emergency which you declared last year, but contrarily, Mr. Atem Atem is claiming the current stability in Gogrial to be his achievement which is totally contradicting. We all know that the relative peace which the citizens are enjoying is a result of your effort as a commander in chief of SSPDF and the commander in charge of all regular forces, therefore, it’s irrational for an armless politician like Atem to claim the achievements of the commander in chief, this attitude can be termed as insubordination.
We the concerned youths of Gogrial had welcomed the move initiated by sons and daughters of Gogrial to form an army division in Gogrial because we don't want more bloodshed in our state, However, this initiative of reorganization of an army division hadn't succeeded due to the unwillingness and refusal of Governor Atem Atem to cooperate with the concerned security organs, therefore, we are reiterating our calls as peace loving youth of Gogrial State, to remove Atem Atem and re-initiate the initiative because we view into initiative as a cementation of permanent peace in Gogrial state. We hope that the creation of an army division will end the communal conflict in Gogrial.
We have written number of petitions pertaining the removal of governor of Gogrial state, therefore we are reiterating our appeal to remove him because he is a burden to the people of Gogrial state and replace him with any other patriotic citizen of Gogrial state.
Coalition of Gogrial State Youth Unions and Civil Society Organizations
1. Tur Bol Thiel
Chairman of Gogrial State Youth Union-Kuajok
On behalf of our Community Youth Unions operating in Kuajok
2. Nella Achuek Mabior Achuil
Chairperson of Gogrial State Youth Union-Juba
On behalf of our Community Youth Unions operating in Juba
3. Simon Machuar Manhkaracnaak
President of Gogrial State Intellectuals’ Organizations
On Behalf of all Civil Society Organization operating in the State
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