FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE
August 19, 2015
CONTACT: Benjamin Okuka
ESSCA-USA STATEMENT ON THE ARREST OF GOVERNOR BAKOSORO
YPSILANTI, MI – On Sunday, August 16, 2015 President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a decree dismissing Governors of four states. Major General Clement Wani Konga Gwollo of Central Equatoria, Colonel Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro of Western Equatoria, Major General Simon Kun Puoch of Upper Nile and Nyandeng Malek Deliech of Warrap state and replacing them with caretaker governors.
While the reason(s) for these dismissals are unclear, in the case of Gov. Bakosoro, it’s highly suspicious given the recent unrest in Mundri, Maridi, and Yambio, and Gov. Konga being an outspoken critic, as well as the proximity to the peace deal unfolding in Addis Ababa. Although the constitution grants the president powers to dismiss governors on grounds of national security, it appears these dismissals are purely politically driven by President Kiir and his government’s desire to consolidate power.
Furthermore it is unclear why Governor Bakosoro was detained and arrested in Juba, unlike the other governors. Until proven otherwise, we have been receiving reports that Governor Bakosoro is being subjected to possible torture, and humiliation. Hence, ESSCA-USA condemn in a strongest terms the arrest of Governor Bakosoro and calling for his immediate release. And we call on the President Kiir and Chief of Staff of the SPLA General Paul Malong Awan to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the governor. Until Governor Bakosoro is released, the government must announce on what charges the Governor is being held under and his whereabouts must be disclosed.
The dismissal and further arrest of Governor Bakosoro unnecessarily stirs up anger and frustration among the Equatorian population who hold Governor Bakosoro in high regard. This is a provocation to Equatorians and further indication that President Kiir continues to espouse an authoritarian form of government to intimidate and temp down any critics of president and this government.
Background on ESSCA-USA
The Equatorian South Sudanese Community Association–USA (ESSCA-USA) is a nonprofit community-based organization representing Equatorians in the United States. Equatorians in this context are defined as people who hail from the former Equatoria region located in the southernmost part of South Sudan. Currently, there are three states in Equatoria with a population of about 2.7 million comprising of 32 ethnic groups. This figure represents half of the 62 ethnicities in South Sudan.
ESSCA-USA’s vision is that of a united, self-supported and strong South Sudanese Equatorian community in the United States. ESSCA’s mission is to empower Equatorians in the USA through community mobilization, advocacy, education, and promotion of cultural heritage and self-help initiatives.
ESSCA-USA seeks to use whatever influence it has to improve the lives of the South Sudanese population through democracy, peace, rule of law, and stability. These are foundational pre-requisites for addressing the challenges confronting South Sudan, and expanding opportunities for the masses, and realizing the vision of South Sudan.