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South Sudan President Fires John Garang's Widow


Rebecca Nyandeng (R), widow of the late rebel leader and first vice president of South Sudan, John Garang, in happier days, shown here with Vice President James Wani Igga. A decree issued on Aug. 19, 2014 by President Salva Kiir announced that Nyandeng has been fired.

Rebecca Nyandeng (R), widow of the late rebel leader and first vice president of South Sudan, John Garang, in happier days, shown here with Vice President James Wani Igga. A decree issued on Aug. 19, 2014 by President Salva Kiir announced that Nyandeng has been fired.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Tuesday dismissed his advisor on gender issues and human rights, Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior, the widow of one of the founding fathers of the country, the late John Garang.

A decree issued by Kiir, which was read out on South Sudan Radio, announced that Nyandeng had been relieved of her duties.

A separate decree announced the sackings of Mr. Kiir's legal counsels Peter Gatkuoth Kor, Paul Obang Gore, Abraham Gatkuoth Yuod, Gach Puok Dak, Dhel Gatluak Jour, Kuajien Lual Wechtour and Simon Ruot Maar.

The high-level sackings came just over a year after Mr. Kiir dismissed his entire cabinet, including then vice president Riek Machar, who went on to become the leader of the opposition movement that formed when the country plunged into conflict eight months ago.

'Working for downfall of government'

No reasons were given for the sackings of Nyandeng and the lawyers, but presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said Nyandeng had been "working for the downfall of the government" and should have been fired long ago.

“There is nobody in the world that the constitution allows to have the status of a government and all the benefits you get from the government and you at the same time are working for the downfall of the same government," Ateny said.

Nyandeng has been a vocal critic of Mr. Kiir’s administration since South Sudan plunged into crisis in December.

Ateny said the seven legal counsels who were sacked had not engaged in any official business since December last year

“These are legal counsels who happen to be, by coincidence, people who just slip to the side of the rebellion and they have not been here since December 15. There is a likelihood that the majority of them might have joined the rebellion in one way or another," Ateny said.

"Anybody who is not in work for the last eight months, even the law would require that person be removed, even if they did not rebel,” he said.

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