NDM Secretary General Mahjoub Biel (Courtesy photo)

South Sudan president replaces Jonglei state governor

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit has issued a decree sacking the governor of Jonglei State.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit has issued a decree sacking the governor of Jonglei State. 

Kiir issued a presidential decree on Wednesday night announcing that Jonglei State Governor Denay Jock Chagor has been removed from office immediately and replaced with Mahjoub Biel Turuk.

Denay, a leading member of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), has held the governorship of Jonglei State since July 2020 as part of the 2018 peace agreement. The announcement of his sacking was made on state-owned television.

President Kiir did not give any explanation for the sacking of the Jonglei state governor – apart from citing his constitutional powers to appoint and remove public servants.

Jonglei state has recently witnessed a rise in violent incidents. The communities in Jonglei and neighbouring Pibor area raid and retaliate back and forth, killing civilians, abducting women and children, and taking cattle.

 The age-old tradition of cattle raiding has become increasingly lethal due to antagonistic inter-ethnic relations and the prevalence of small arms, compounded by extreme poverty, and a severe lack of social and physical infrastructure.

Denay had also been facing criticism in the state capital, Bor, for his leadership style and for spending much of his time in Juba.

Before his appointment as the new Jonglei State Governor, Mahjoub Biel Turuk was the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) Chief Whip in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly.

He is also the Secretary General of the opposition National Democratic Movement (NDM) led by prominent politician Dr Lam Akol.

Edmund Yakani, a South Sudanese political observer, urged the newly appointed governor of Jonglei State to focus much on the safety and protection of communities from armed violence, including the persistent abductions of women and children.

“Jonglei needs a field-based state governor. The newly appointed governor of Jonglei should adopt a strategy for collaboration with the leadership of the Pibor Administrative Area on the prevention of violence,” Yakani told Radio Tamazuj.

South Sudan is governed by a transitional government created after a 2018 peace agreement between President Salva Kiir, opposition leader Riek Machar and other political figures.

The controversy surrounding the conduct of general elections in December 2024, combined with the incomplete implementation of the 2018 peace agreement, poses significant challenges to the country’s transition.