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Director of South Sudan TV Says Information Minister Fired Him

South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei, shown here at a news conference in Addis Ababa in January, issued a ministerial order removing the head of SSTV from his position after just four weeks.

The director of South Sudan Television and Radio (SSTV), Khamis Abdelatif, said Wednesday he has been fired after only four weeks in office.

SSTV veteran journalist Francis Duku read out an order from Information Minister Michael Makuei on the air late Tuesday, announcing that Abdelatif has been relieved of his duties and transferred to the ministry headed by Makuei, "pending further assignment.”

Abdelatif initially refused to allow Duku to read out the order sacking him, but relented when, he said, Makuei ordered security forces to deploy at SSTV.

He accused Makuei of trying to control SSTV "by force."

"He brought somebody who is not in charge and stopped the program on the TV and he announced the decree," removing Abdelatif from his position, the sacked SSTV director told South Sudan in Focus.

In a letter addressed to President Salva Kiir, Abdelatif questioned Makuei's motives and whether the minister has the authority to fire him.

"I objected to this order as I was appointed by the President of the Republic and not the rninister. I have realized that Minister Makuei Lueth has a vendetta against me. Because since I came to this ministry exactly four weeks ago he has been interfering with my work," he said in the letter.

Abdelatif said in the letter that he and Makuei came to loggerheads when the minister "... asked me to stop showing Nuer communities on the national TV, an order which I openly objected to..."

Abdelatif accused Makuei of having "his own politics" and of skimming money from the SSTV coffers to use "for different things."

"He doesn’t want the programs of the President to be played on the television daily... Makuei wants his own programs to be played on SSTV," Abdelatif said.

"Makuei brought someone called Justin Alerr, made him the director general for administration and finance. They can take money for radio and television and use them for different things," he said.

No reason was given for Abdelatif's removal from his position. Attempts to reach Makuei for comment were unsuccessful.

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