Warrap State Governor Manhiem Bol Malek

Machar’s party faults Warrap governor for ‘violating peace agreement’

The Sudan People Liberation Movement in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) in Warrap State last week accused their principal peace partner, SPLM, and by extension, the state government, of violating the peace agreement and derailing the implementation of the road map.

The Sudan People Liberation Movement in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) in Warrap State last week accused their principal peace partner, SPLM, and by extension, the state government, of violating the peace agreement and derailing the implementation of the road map.

The opposition SPLM-IO is led by First Vice President Riek Machar, while President Salva Kiir leads the ruling SPLM party.

Kiir, Machar and other political figures signed a peace agreement in 2018 that ended five years of civil war.

The term of the current coalition government was initially set to expire in 2022. In August 2022, the parties to the peace agreement extended the transitional government’s time in office for another two years, meaning elections would be held in December 2024.

In a letter seen by Radio Tamazuj, the SPLM-IO Warrap State Secretariat accused Governor Manhiem Bol Malek of a lack of cooperation, arbitrary arrests of party supporters wearing SPLM-IO T-shirts, and restricting political space.

According to Kuec Deng Mayar, the Warrap State SPLM-IO chairperson who doubles as the speaker of the state legislative assembly, 10 members of his outfit were detained for 5 hours in Tonj North County on 14 January when they were officially opening the party office there. He says the commissioner of Tonj North County again arrested 5 more members of his party on 29 February for wearing SPLM-IO T-shirts in Warrap Town.

During an interview with Radio Tamazuj over the weekend, Speaker Deng confirmed that he penned the statement about the harassment of SPLM-IO members, saying he wanted to expose the governor’s actions against SPLM-IO supporters.

“The governor of Warrap State pretends not to have a clue about the arrest of SPLM-IO members in Kerik, Pagakdit, and Madhiadh payams in Tonj North County,” Deng charged. “We got evidence that he (Governor Bol) directed county commissioners to arrest my people in the counties.”

He said that the governor formed peace committees in the counties which ironically were financed to the tune of SSP 20,000 per payam to harass SPLM-IO supporters. He also faulted the SSPDF for siding with the SPLM party.

“Commissioner Andrea Ayok Malueth of Tonj North County wrote to payam administrators directing them to give financial support to peace committee members to crack down on SPLM-IO members,” Deng said. “We got evidence when we went to open a case with the SSPDF commanders in charge of disarmament. They said they were instructed by the county commissioners to arrest our people.”

The SPLM-IO boss also accused SPLM party officials in Warrap State of attempting to assassinate him and other SPLM-IO members.

“There is a lot of intimidation, oppression, and attempted assassinations. On 20 February, there was an attempt on my life in Tonj East County,” Deng revealed. “A man called Abraham Matoc, who was wearing a police uniform, rode a motorcycle from Kuajok to Tonj East County to assassinate me while we were seeking the release of our members who had been arbitrarily arrested there.”

“I got wind of my planned assassination and informed security organs, and Governor Bol ordered the arrest of Abraham Matoc, but he was later released without charges,” he added.

The speaker also said that Tonj East County Commissioner John Deng Kok, who is SPLM-IO, was in the recent past arrested but later released after the party exposed it through the media. He referred to the arrest of the commissioner and other SPLM-IO members as a violation of the peace agreement.

For his part, Wol Anei Anei, the SPLM party state secretary, dismissed the accusations by the SPLM-IO as falsehoods.

“The SPLM in Warrap State and the governor have been cooperating with all political parties, including SPLM-IO, and there is political space. The speaker, who is the state SPLM-IO party chairperson, has been moving with the governor to counties on peace tours. This shows that there is cooperation,” Anei said. “The allegations that SPLM-IO members were arrested and undressed in Kirik and Madhiath Payams in Tonj North County are not true, are baseless and false.  There is no such instruction made by Governor Bol and the commissioner of Tonj North, and this is mere political propaganda.”

He however said that one Mark Anei Mading of the SPLM-IO was arrested by SSPDF intelligence officers for taking photos of a military barracks in Madhiath Ajak Payam.

According to Anei, the case is an individual issue and should not be linked to politics. 

The SPLM party state secretary also denied that the Tonj North County commissioner directed payam heads to finance peace committee members to undressed people donning SPLM-IO T-shirts.

Anei also rubbished the alleged attempt on the life of the SPLM-IO state chairperson.

“The claims that there was an assassination attempt on Speaker Deng is a political ploy and categorical defamation because no one attempted to harm the speaker,” he said.

Regarding the arrest of Tonj East County Commissioner John Deng Kok, Anei said the official was arrested for arming his relatives to cause unrest and raid cattle.

“As for Deng Kok, the commissioner requested a PKM machine gun and 9 AKM rifles from the SSPDF commander for his protection and it was approved,” he explained. “He (Deng Kok) gave the guns to his relatives to cause communal raiding.”