Imehejek residents expect new administrator to provide services

Several residents in Eastern Equatoria State’s Imehejek Administrative Area have expressed the need for a wide range of services including health, roads, education, and security among others.

Several residents in Eastern Equatoria State’s Imehejek Administrative Area have expressed the need for a wide range of services including health, roads, education, and security among others.

They voiced their concerns as the new chief administrator arrived in the area to start work on Sunday.

Mathew Oromo Morris, the new chief administrator was appointed on 14 November 2023, replacing Elias John Ahaji who was appointed the state information minister.

The new administrator had not reported to Imehejek for two months leaving a governmental vacuum leading to insecurity in the form of cattle raids, road ambushes, and looting, according to locals.

In July, Eastern Equatoria State Governor Louis Lobong Lojore issued a gubernatorial executive order declaring Imehejek an administrative area.

According to the order, Lobong placed Imehejek Administrative Area directly under his office. The order followed a long dispute between the Pari and Lopit communities of Lafon County over the name of the County and headquarters which is believed to have hindered service delivery in the area.

Hundreds of residents converged at Imehejek headquarters chanting traditional songs of peace as they welcomed the new leader.

“I am very happy and everyone is celebrating. We thought he (administrator) would not come,” Regina Imaring, a dweller in Imehejek stated. “We need roads and telecommunication services among other services. A lot of things are missing here and there is no doctor in the hospital and no maternity ward.”

Another resident, Domtila William, echoed the sentiments and said the local health facility lacked medicines and staff.

“The road is bad and in the hospital, there are no medical personnel and drugs,” she explained. “We are also faced with hunger, are suffering, and are eating wild fruits for survival. The hot sun has dried our farms and we need food. Our road must be repaired and there is also no market here.”

For his part, Acaha Marcelo Emmanuel, 47, expresses happiness over the arrival of the new administrator, saying the area has been without any leader.

“We have received him and he told us to stay in peace and love. One of the major challenges is the lack of a prison where criminals can be detained. Another thing is that there are few policemen and they cannot contain criminality,” he said. “We also spoke of poor roads and challenges of robberies along the roads and we said it should not happen again.”

Elias John Ahaji, the previous Imehejek administrator and current state minister of information and government spokesmen who escorted the new administrator, advised the latter to enforce the rule of law so that the people can enjoy peace before, during, and after the upcoming elections.

“Spearhead road maintenance, initiate community schools and other projects for the people. We expect him (Oromo) to reconcile the conflicting villages so that people enjoy peace. Make sure to coordinate smooth service delivery within the area and coordinate activities between partners the government and the community,” he counseled. “We expect the citizens of Imehejek Administrative Area to cooperate with the chief administrator for us to realize our dreams. Without cooperation, it will be very difficult for us to achieve peace, development, and unity among the citizens.”

“We also expect the people to join hands, contribute and support the government,” Minister Ahaja added.

Meanwhile, the new administrator, Oromo, delivered a message of peace to the locals and pledged to tackle the major challenges.

“I will first advocate for peace in the area and reduce insecurity by implementing the rule of law to prepare a good environment for service delivery and humanitarian workers in Imehejek Administrative Corridor,” he vowed. “I also create good relationships with other bordering counties like Torit, Lafon, Kapoeta North, and Budi so that peace is realized in the area.”

When asked about recurrent complaints about the lack of organized forces to curb crime, the new chief administrator said: “There are now police and the area has been affected because they were not there.”

Oromo explained that the forces that were in the area were taken to cantonment sites but never returned but that the policemen present could contain criminality.

Late Last year, medical staff were attacked by suspected criminals at Imehejek County Hospital leading to health organizations shunning the area.

This year, the state ministry of education and instruction relocated the teachers’ training center to Torit from Imehejek due to insecurity.