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South Sudan President Fires Interior Minister, State Governor

President Salva Kiir issued a decree announcing that he was firing his interior minister and the governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, April 13, 2015.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has fired the country's interior minister and the caretaker governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said the high-level sackings were announced late Monday in a decree read on national television. Ateny said the presidential decree did not give any reason for the dismissal of Interior Minister Aleu Ayieny Aleu.

Sudd Institute policy analyst Zachariah Diing Akol said Aleu made some notable achievements during his time as interior minister, even though he held the key security post during a difficult period for South Sudan.

"He took over the ministry in August 2013, some few months before the current conflict erupted in mid-December of the same year," Akol said.

"Weeks after the violence erupted the situation was tense in Juba, but it improved considerably. Now, of late, there are insecurity issues here and there but those have not been to a level where one can say things have turned for the worse,” said Akol.

Caretaker governor

The firing of Northern Bahr el Ghazal's caretaker governor, Kuel Aguer Kuel, was in "...response to the impeachment that was passed on him" earlier this year, Ateny said.

Northern Bahr el Ghazal lawmakers voted to impeach Kuel in January, accusing him of corruption, nepotism, abuse of power, and embezzlement. But Kuel refused to step down.

Akol said that, despite the tensions within the state government, Kuel is well-liked by some in Northern Bahr el Ghazal. As caretaker governor, he oversaw extensive road repairs that eased the movement of goods and people in the state. But others were glad to see the former state executive go.

Veteran politician Ustaz Angelo Atak Akol faulted Kuel for spending too much time away from the state, including during times of crisis.

"The absence of the caretaker governor in the state for almost three months made prices of everything shoot up. If the governor or any caretaker was here, then he should be accountable," Atak said.

Northern Bahr el Ghazal Assembly speaker, Isaac Makau Ayok, said President Kiir’s decision to sack Kuel was the right one.

"He has been impeached due to gross misconduct, that he has not been following the constitution of the state. We are happy and we appreciate the decision taken by the president... that was our hope," Makau said.

But a state lawmaker, Joseph Rol Gau, said he was unhappy about Kuel being fired. He said Kuel was developing the state and improving the services that are provided to the people.

"He was working well. He was insisting to make many developmental things in the state. The community of Aweil were hoping that this governor will do good things in the state," Rol said.

Kuel was appointed caretaker governor of the state a year ago. Caretaker governors are supposed to remain in office for only three months before elections are held. Last week, the leadership of the state assembly said it did not recognize Kuel or his cabinet.

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