Eastern Equatoria State Trade and Industry Minister Ruth Marious Bugga who is also the wife of detained Magwi County Commissioner David Otto Remson. (Photo: Radio Tamazuj)

Q&A: Detained Magwi County commissioner’s wife breaks silence over husband’s arrest

The wife of Magwi County Commissioner David Otto Remson, who serves as the minister of trade and industry in Eastern Equatoria State, Ruth Marious Bugga, has strongly condemned the arrest of her husband.

The wife of Magwi County Commissioner David Otto Remson, who serves as the minister of trade and industry in Eastern Equatoria State, Ruth Marious Bugga, has strongly condemned the arrest of her husband.

Nearly two weeks ago, the immunity of Commissioner Otto who is also the SPLM Party chairperson in Magwi County was lifted and he was driven to Juba where he is currently in police custody in Juba for allegedly being involved in the killing of two businessmen in Agoro last year.

Radio Tamazuj caught up with Minister Marious and sounded her out about the charges against her hubby.

Below are edited excerpts:

Q: Can you please introduce yourself to our listeners and readers?

A: Thank you very much. I am Hon. Ruth Marious Bugga the minister of trade and industry in Eastern Equatoria State and also a member of the SPLM Party’s State Liberation Council.

Q: We learned that your husband Commissioner David Otto Remson was arrested and detained for allegedly killing two people Agoro. What is the story?

A: I want to separate my job from my family affairs as a woman at home. My job in the office as a politician is to serve the people and at home, I am a mother and a wife. As a government, we have our information minister and spokesperson of our government who has already spoken on this issue and I respect his statement. I am now speaking as a wife and family member.

Q: What do you know about your husband’s detention?

A: First of all, I condemn the arrest of the commissioner. As a leader and as the head of Magwi County, I feel he is innocent and what has happened needs to be reviewed because, during the incident, he was in his office and was executing his duties as usual. So, he was very far from where the incident occurred in Agoro and already there is a letter from the Agoro community confirming that it was mob justice by the youth or community of Agoro. So, they have taken responsibility and of course, the criminals after committing the atrocity, cannot stay in one place and they ran away.

I understand there is a lot of concern from people and they want to know how the commissioner was arrested. Commissioner Otto went to give his statement by himself and he was not arrested from within the county or state. This is what I want to clarify to the people and I want to thank our governor for protecting him during his journey because on these roads there are unknown dangers.

I also understand the family of the people who were killed and I am standing with them because a human being is a human being. If someone dies, everyone will be unhappy and as a mother, I feel the same.

What happened was wrong but Commissioner Otto was not involved and many people might blame that he was taken in a government vehicle to Juba but he was just being protected while on his way there. There are a lot of rumors that the commissioner ran away but as a leader you cannot run anywhere until you prove the truth to the people.

Q: The people of Magwi County and Eastern Equatoria State want to know where the commissioner is if he is not under arrest. Where is his momentarily?

A: Commissioner Otto went by himself to give a statement but the complainant in the case became more complicated. Yes, the commissioner is indeed in custody but his lawyers are working hard to get justice for him.

As we said before, it was mob justice and the families of the two people who were killed, and the Agoro community and the complainant met to find a solution on how they can compensate the dead or resolve the matter so that people can live in peace and unity.

Q: Who arrested Commissioner when he reached Juba?

A: I cannot answer more but as I said the case is complicated.

Q: According to South Sudanese law, a person may be detained for 24 hours and taken to court. Has this happened?

A: He has not been arraigned in court but the process is ongoing.

Q: Do you have any information as to why he has not appeared in court?

A: Well, I cannot give any information on that at the moment.

Q: We have heard that the complainants are demanding SSP 85 million and USD 19,000 as bail and or compensation. Is this true?

A: My reaction is that it is unfair and I would prefer this case to go to the court so that justice prevails. I strongly believe that the commissioner is innocent and all of us know he is very innocent.

Q: What is the commissioner’s condition like in custody?
: His situation is not good and I can say that as our leader, we do not want to see him in such a situation. This is an abuse to the leadership and an abuse to the county. I am raising my voice against the way he has been treated and I would like to thank the many people who stood by me to ensure the case is completed and justice prevails because there is a lot of exaggeration in this case.

Q: We also heard that your official vehicle was detained at the Ibalany checkpoint by security operatives. Can you confirm to us this?

A: It was a bad sign and when the vehicle stopped during checking which was not procedural, the commissioner was not in the car. We know that the ministers’ or government cars are not supposed to be stopped and checked.

We are also not supposed to brand the commissioner as a criminal and we are sure and confirm that he can travel and we have to keep with our cultures in a very good way. I can confirm that my vehicle was detained and I wish the security operatives could be more professional and also to separate the commissioner from me. I should not be linked to this case, especially when I am on official duties.

Q: What would you like to tell the Acholi community and the people of Eastern Equatoria State about this case?

A: I want to tell our people, Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria, and South Sudanese that this case became our general issue and we are following it. We need to live in peace and unity and not destroy each other.

I know people want to know what happened and many people are angry but you should be very strong because this will make the commissioner strong as well. So, I appeal to the youth in Magwi County and Eastern Equatoria State that we need to stand united and not allow a small case like this to destroy our country. The case of Commissioner Otto tells us as South Sudanese to avoid tribalism and issues that take this country backward.

This country was fought for and we need to value it and we should not let anything tarnish the image of South Sudan.  It is time for us to be united as we enter the Christmas celebrations and the New Year. We need to put prayers in front of us and hope our commissioner will be released peacefully and innocently. He is 100 percent SPLM and we are in one spirit moving forward.

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