Ateny under spotlight on sexual scandals, risks lawsuit

Press Secretary in the President’s office, Ateny Wek Ateny |Photo: Gettyimages

South Sudan’s Presidential Press Secretary, Ateny Wek Ateny, is now under the spotlight on possibly-immoral sexual activities against women at J1 palace, according to firsthand complainants.

Ateny— a high-profile figure in South Sudan— is being accused of using the president’s office as bait to entice girls and women into sexual relationships.

“The boss of Presidential Press Units [referring to Ateny Wek Ateny] has been repeatedly practicing and lecturing types of misconduct while working around our President whom, we (citizens) tirelessly stood behind him during the liberation struggle and voted him in 2010,” wrote a concerned citizen on social media.

Daniella Valentino Wol, a staunch critic of Ateny, has lodged a complaint in recent months, accusing him of turning the president’s office into a brothel.

“Good morning Mr. President, I became homeless in December 2020 and checked myself into a cheaper hotel, and could have had money to pay for it — if I hadn’t refused to have sex with Ateny Wek Ateny,” Daniel claimed on Facebook.

“Mr President, Ateny is using your office and public resources to destroy women of South Sudan and your Presidential image,” she said.

Adding that, “No women should be sleeping with Ateny in order for him to give them money to feed their children. I know he has told you many lies about me but he has left out the truth about his fighting against me which is simply my body. Land mark hotel is Prostitution place for Ateny Wek Ateny.”

Ateny, who had been a vocal critic of the country’s rulers, was appointed in 2013 as the press secretary by South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Where the Presidency got it terribly wrong

Opinion | By Dr Lam Akol

Chairman oof the National Democratic Movement, Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin |Photo: File

Dec 11, 2020 (Thessherald)—On 9 December 2020, the Presidency held its fourth meeting with all its members in attendance. A press statement following the conclusion of the meeting informed the public that the Presidency took resolutions on three important matters related to the Transitional National Legislature and formation of Governments in the States. The purpose of this article is to discuss those resolutions and whether or not they are consistent with the Transitional Constitution and the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

Resolution 1:

That the president appoint the State and Local Governments of the nine (9) States, except that of Upper Nile State. Here we shall discuss two aspects of the resolution. First, is it within the powers of the President of the Republic to appoint sub-national Governments? Second, regardless of who has the power to appoint State-level Governments, what is the justification for denying one State its right to get its Government like the rest of the States?

In my humble opinion, the President of the Republic has no power to appoint States’ Governments. Of the numerous powers of the President under Article 101(they are 20) none is the appointment of State Governments. On the other hand, Article 164 (2) of the Transitional Constitution 2011, is clear that it is the Governor that appoints and relieves members of his Government.

Article (2) stipulates that:

“ The Governor of each state shall be the head of the executive organ in the state and shall appoint and relieve the Deputy Governor, Advisors and state Ministers in consultation with the President and in accordance with the state constitution”.

For sure, the decision of the Presidency is a usurpation of powers of the States’ Governors granted them by the Constitution. It becomes more puzzling when it is the Presidency which heads the national executive charged with implementing the mandate of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) that goes contrary to that mandate. Article 1.2.15 of R-ARCSS stipulates that one of the functions of RTGoNU is to “devolve more powers and resources to the State and Local Government levels”. Far from implementing this article, the Presidency is busy concentrating more powers into the hands of the President.

It is common knowledge that Parties to the Agreement have been engaged for the last couple of months in negotiations on the formation of States’ Governments. They reached agreements on that. However, the responsibility of the Parties stops there. What should have happened was for the Parties to write a joint letter to the Governors of the States informing them of the agreements that have been reached for those Governors to issue Decrees appointing their Governments in accordance with the Transitional Constitution and the Constitution of each State, and supervise their taking of the oath of office.

In relation to exempting Upper Nile State from getting its Government, this action has no justification apart from the failure of the two Principals to R-ARCSS to agree on the appointment of the Governor of the State. We shall revisit this point later on.

Resolution 2:

That the President proceeds to establish the Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the Council of States. Again, the R-ARCSS is clear on how the Revitalized TNLA is to be formed. The procedure to carry that out is clearly spelt out under Article 1.18 of R-ARCSS which defines the functions of the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC).

Sub-Article gives the NCAC the power:

“to receive a list of the nominees of respective parties indicated in Chapter 1, Article 1.13 of the Agreement relating to the appointment of members of the reconstituted TNLA. The list shall be submitted to the President who shall forward it to the TNLA.”

That is, the Parties to the Agreement (ITGoNU, SPLM/A-IO, SSOA, OPP and SPLM- FDs) shall submit the list of their nominees to the Revitalized TNLA (in accordance with Article 1.14) to the NCAC. Therefore, the President has no business to proceed “to establish the TNLA”. The parties should be urged to submit their lists.

To the NCAC from whom the President will receive one unified list of the 550 members of the Revitalized TNLA. As to the Council of States, the agreement is silent on the procedure of its formation. Hence, the Presidency can decide how to do it.

Resolution 3:

That the Revitalized Transitional Government of National (sic) holds a conference in Juba for all Communities of Upper Nile State to discuss ways and means of resolving any tribal or communal differences and to engender harmony in the State prior to the final decision on the appoint (sic) of the Governor of the State.

This resolution is specious. Whereas a conference between Upper Nile State communities, indeed all communities in the country, is a noble idea, the objective of holding it as per this resolution has nothing to do with the desired outcome.

Tying the appointment of the Governor to the reconciliation of the communities in the Upper Nile State would mean that the purpose is for these communities to agree on the appointment of a Governor which is not their business and on which they are unlikely to reach consensus. More importantly, their differences had nothing to do with who should or should not be the Governor in the State. In fact, tying up the two is the surest way for the reconciliation to fail while two of the Parties to the Agreement continue with the stalemate on the appointment of the Governor at a time when the masses of our people in Upper Nile State continue to suffer including unnecessary loss of lives.

For the information of those who do not know this, the communities of Upper Nile State started dialogue among themselves in late February 2020. The initiative was led by Dr John Gai Yoh assisted by General James Hoth Mai. Meetings were held in the house of our elder Hon. Joseph Bol Chan, Speaker of the Council of States. After the first meeting, an iclusive committee was formed to meet and listen to each of the five communities in Upper Nile State.

The committee embarked on its mandate and met all the communities and their work is now well advanced. It was the advent of the COVID-19 that delayed the work for several months. A plenary will possibly be called soon to decide the next steps towards holding the Upper Nile State conference. It was stressed from the very beginning that it was purely for reconciliation and peaceful co-existence and politics should be kept out of it. This is the only way to ensure success.

The sons and daughters of Upper Nile State are capable of solving their problems and they don’t need to be patronized by anybody. Direct involvement of the Government, which has not kept equal distance between these communities, will create suspicion and cause failure. If the Government would want to help it should do so on the request of the Committee chosen to prepare for the conference.

As to the appointment of the Upper Nile State Governor, this has nothing to do with the people of Upper Nile State. Other Governors were appointed without sounding out the opinions of the people in their respective States. Why only Upper Nile? The notion that it is Upper Nile State that is the only one whose tribes are at each other’s neck is simply not true. Some communities in some parts of South Sudan have been fighting for years and we never heard the Government calling for a conference to stop the fighting or reconcile them.

So, nobody should be taken in by these baseless claims meant to drive in a tribal agenda. The truth is that the stalemate on the appointment of the Governor of Upper Nile State is a matter for the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO and the President to sort out. Period. Keep the people of Upper Nile State out of it. The Agreement gives the SPLM/A-IO the right to nominate any person of its choice as Governor of Upper Nile State. The President has rejected the nomination for reasons that have no basis in the Agreement and would want the SPLM/A-IO to change its nomination. The way forward is clear.

It is up to the SPLM/A-IO either to insist on its nomination on the strength of the provisions of the Agreement or heeds to the President and changes their nomination. There is no third option. The two parties should sort this matter out among themselves, and the sooner the better. The people of Upper Nile State have had enough. The Presidency would have rendered good service to the people of South Sudan if the four Vice Presidents in the Presidency had talked their two senior colleagues into accepting either of the two options above.

The people of Upper Nile State with go ahead with their planned conference in the way they perceived it. They don’t need another complicating issue to be added to their plate of challenges; they have their hands already full. Let each carry his cross.

Dr. Lam Akol is a South Sudanese politician and Chairman of the National Democratic Movement.

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Office of the President unveils an official news website

Oct 2, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Office of the President has launched an official website that will keep the public updated on activities in the presidency and, most importantly, current issues affecting the country.

Nhial Deng Nhial, the Minister in the Office of the President, praised the steps taken by the Presidency and its press unit, stressing that the new site will be a hub for reliable news updates throughout the country.

“The is the first step towards providing accurate information of what is transpiring in the Presidency regarding the country,” Nhial said.

For his part, Deputy Minister of Information, Communications and Postal Services Baba Medan said that with the launch of this online news portal, all forms of misinformation and fake news updates will be put to rest.

“With the launching of this website rumors have come to an end, no room any more for the rumors and inaccurate news.”

The launch of the official site for the President was attended by senior government officials in the capital, Juba.

Coronavirus Needs Urgent Intervention By President And Presidency

Opinion | By Dr. John Gai Yoh

May 30, 2020 (Thessherald)–The alarming rise in number of cases is urging for the need of an urgent intervention from the President and members of Presidency.

Announcing 188 cases in one day without an emergency meeting of the leadership of the country is troublesome for a country in crisis.
The Minister of Health did not meet the President of the Republic for a couple of weeks while COVID-19 is creating havoc in the capital and in states.

I would suggest that the government should take the following urgent actions within coming seven days:

  1. Parties to agreement should agree on the distribution of states, numbers of ministers and advisors, number of legislature members in the states and distribution of the counties. The new states governors should leave immediately to their states to form their governments and curve the inter-communal conflicts and the threat of COVID 19.
  2. Pay salaries for March, April and May 2020 to all who work with government. Funds for salaries should be availed by all means.
  3. In collaboration with WFP and partners food should be distributed to vulnerable residents in the capital and in capitals of ten states and the three administrative areas for at least one month and half rations.
  4. Urgent restructuring of national taskforce committee to compose mainly of medical professionals and a few security representatives and provide them with needed protection tools, operational funds, review the current top leadership of the ministry of health.
  5. Declare a total lockdown in the whole country.

The author is a former Minister of General Higher Education, Science and Technology and later was appointed as Presidential Advisor.

JMEC fails to find win-win solution to end stalemate over states’ issue, refers the matter to IGAD

From Right to Left, Vice President Taban Deng Gai, FVP Dr. Riek Machar, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, VP James Wani Igga /Photo: unknown

May 14, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) has failed to break the ongoing deadlock between the Parties over responsibility-sharing at the states levels and referred the matter to the IGAD Heads of State and Government.

R-TGNU Deadlock on Responsibility
-Sharing at the states’ level.

“Your Excellency, I have the honor to refer to the above subject matter and make further reference to my briefing to the 71st Extraordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers held on 23rd April 2020, and the subsequent Councils decision, which inter alia “expressed concern with responsibility sharing at the State and Local Government levels,” said the JMEC in a letter dated May 9, 2020.

“There appears to have been no consensus within the Presidency on this matter. Moreover, and of further concern is the fact that the OPP, another party to the R-ARCSS not represented in this meeting of the Presidency, did not consent to the decision of the Presidency which would deny them a position of governor in the responsibility sharing at the States level.”

The peace monitors said that the Parties had failed to reach a consensus on the states’ issue and called on IGAD leaders to resolve the matter on a timely manner.

“It is therefore evident that the Parties have failed to resolve the deadlock over the allocation of States, including which party takes which state, and have also rejected the RJMEC Interim Chairperson’s recommendation offered to them on 1t April 2020 pursuant to Article 7.11 of the R-ARCSS and Article 2.1.10 of the RJMEC Terms of Reference 2018 (see annexe E).”

“I hereby, pursuant to Article 7.11 of the R-ARCSS, refer this matter to the IGAD Heads of State and Government, as guarantors to the R-ARCSS to be seized of the matter and to take all necessary measures to overcome this deadlock on the allocation of the Ten (10) States amongst the Parties, including resolution of the issue of which party takes which states, based on Article 1.16.4 of the R-ARCSS.”

The outgoing Interim Chairman of the R-JMEC, Amb. Agostino S.K. Njoroge underscored that there’s is an urgent need to address the issue to ensure continued and smooth implementation of the R-ARCSS in letter, spirit and in accordance with the Agreement timelines.

Students Union urges urgent formation of states’ governments and R-TNLA

News Update

April 30, 2020 (Thessherald)–A Kampala-based University and College Students’ Union has issued a statement urging the Parties to expedite the appointment of state governors and form the Revitalized National Transitional Legislative Assembly in a timely manner.

“In line with the 2018 Peace Agreement signed in Khartoum and Ethiopia respectively, there is an urgent need to speed up the implementation of the R-ARCSS in letter and spirit, and proper Security Arrangements in the current fragile state of South Sudan in order to restore confidence among the population,” said Gatluah Yielyam, Chairman of Chairperson of Phow Universities and Colleges Students’ Union in Uganda.

“I appeal to all signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) to break the ongoing deadlock and form the states’ governments and the R-TNLA so that a new chapter is opened and the country embark on development,” he said.

“South Sudan is mired in an indescribable situation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic – the local population needs serious sensitization on the danger of this new virus, but how will it happen if there are no states’ leaders in the country and representatives of the constituencies in Parliament?,” he questioned.

“Given the ongoing spread of the pandemic on an unprecedented scale worldwide and its negative economic impacts on the global economy and especially recessions, I have been following daily updates from the South Sudan Task Force on COVID-19, which is leading the fight against the virus, but no free distribution of food to vulnerable people ever been mentioned, then how would they possibly survive during this lockdown?.”

On Wednesday, South Sudan registered the biggest single-day spike in the COVID-19 cases, raising the number of confirmed cases to 35.

Communication from The Presidency No. Forty-One (41)

The High-Level Taskforce on COVID-19 Pandemic Wednesday, 29th April 2020 Juba, South Sudan

April 29, 2020 (Thessherald)–The High-Level Taskforce on COVID-19 Pandemic held its 39th Meeting on the afternoon of Wednesday 29th April 2020 under the Chairmanship of H. E. Dr Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, the First Vice President and Deputy Chairman of the High-Level Taskforce on COVID-19 Pandemic.

The High-Level Taskforce was briefed on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation in South Sudan, the Region and the Globe by the Honourable Minister for Health.

• The Honourable Minister informed the Taskforce that on Wednesday 29th April 2020, the Public Health Laboratory released 100 results. Of these, one (1) case was confirmed positive while fourteen (14), were equivocal and need a retest.

• The confirmed case is a 23-year-old female who is one of the 34 mourners planning to travel to Kuajok, Warrap State.

South Sudan now has Thirty-Five (35) confirmed cases.

• In light of the foregoing: The High-Level Taskforce places a moratorium on the travel of all the thirty-four (34) mourners to Kuajok in Warrap State.

• This is necessary to allow health workers to identify, isolate and test contacts.

• The Taskforce urges all potential contacts to voluntarily come forward and make themselves known to the health workers.

The High-Level Taskforce directs the Ministry of Health to expedite procurement of three (3) more Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Machines in order to enhance the testing capacity of the Public Health Laboratory.

The High-level Taskforce, commends the United Nations system, notably, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nation’s Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations’ World Food Programme and the UN Resident Coordination Office in South Sudan for their support to the government in the fight against COVID-19.

The High-Level Taskforce approves the use of cloth- face mask; and advises members of the public to adopt the use of locally manufactured cloth-face mask at all times, especially in public places.

The High-Level Taskforce on Coronavirus (COVID- 19) Pandemic remains seized of the situation.

‘SPLM/A-IO under threat,’ opposition official warns as waves of defections hit SPLM-IO

President Salva Kiir Mayardit addresses nation in the capital, Juba/ Photo: File

April 17, 2020 (Thessherald)–Nathaniel Pierino, the SPLM-IO representative to the National Constitutional Amendment Committee has expressed his deep concern over the recent waves of defections of the SPLM-IO officials to the government, saying that the issue shouldn’t be treated lightly as a laughing matter, but must be addressed politically and strategically.

“I am very sick and disturbed by the endless trend of defections hitting the SPLMAIO; the military and political components alike. We cannot laugh it off. It means something is fundamentally wrong in the strategic, tactical, political and organizational design of the Movement.”

“I am ready to face-off with anybody who pretends and suggests the contrary before we loose the ability and capability to implement the peace Agreement and win elections where all hope rests. Politically, you can’t implement the peace Agreement from a vanquished position because the other side will not give without leverage. We cannot rely on the good will of providence and the members of international community to remain relevant in the political arena of South Sudan,” he said.

Nathaniel stressed that the repeated defections of the SPLM-IO officials require urgent action, noting that it raises concern.

“As a conscious and founding member of a movement that struggled for justice, equality and reforms in the governance structure of this country. I have every reasons to worry. The organization is critically being wounded and the stakes are very high! The very existence of the party is under threats. SPLMA-IO cannot loose its political resources and capabilities for winning elections and we say “God Must Be Crazy”!

He pointed out that the recent developments are worrying and that he will be able to evaluate and reflect on the movement’s political future.

“I am very hurt and shall be carrying out self reflection and critical evaluations of the current and future prospects and the viability of SPLMAIO as a political party capable of executing the aspirations of the people of South Sudan, and working towards wining elections. It would be naive and parochial to say, despite these waves of defections, it’s business as usual, obviously it isn’t.”

Adding that, “It is loss of valuable cadres and constituencies. We cannot be dismissive of every defection that occurs. It shall be hypothetical and pathetic. The political and social impact of this trend is negative and immense. Needless to say the military implications.”

The official said he is always concerned whenever he hears any reports of defections of the SPLM-IO members.

“Whatever defection occurring in the movement affects me and I, aboard, is concerned and cannot stand bye and watch as the movement collapses.”

Unity government pledges $ 5.4 million to combat spread of COVID-19

(Thessherald)–As the virus continues to spread in countries bordering South Sudan, the Transitional Government of National Unity has pledged $ 5.4 million to support the fight against the spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19).

On Friday, the President Kiir issued a presidential order, constituting a High-Level Task Force Committee to take additional precautionary measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Republican Order No. 08/2020 for the Formation of a High Level Task Force Committee to take Extra Precautionary Measures in Combating the Spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) into the Republic of South Sudan, 2020 A.D.”

Title and Commencement: “This Order shall be cited as “The Republican Order No.08/2020 for the Formation of a High Level Task Force Committee to take Extra Precautionary Measures in Combating the Spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) into the Republic of South Sudan, 2020 A.D.” and shall come into force on the date of its signature by the President of the Republic.”

The spread of COVID-19 has caused uncertainty and unpredictability, forcing other countries to prohibit unnecessary movements.

Although no cases of coronavirus have been reported so far in South Sudan, the country’s leaders began to close schools and ban all public, social, cultural and religious gatherings.

All overseas visitors traveling to South Sudan from any of the affected countries are checked on arrival and isolated at designated centers for 14 days at their own expense.

Presidency orders immediate closure of schools, sporting events

President Salva Kiir Mayardit/ Photo: File

(Thessherald)–South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit has ordered the immediate closure of all public institutions – schools and sporting events with immediate effect, according to Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi.

Communication from the Presidency on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.

“Coronavirus (COVID)-19 is fast spreading. All countries around us, with the exception of Uganda, have confirmed cases.”

“Your Country, South Sudan remains COVID-19 free. It is time for action to protect our people. I have been instructed by H. E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Republic to announce to the public that your government has decided the following.”

1- Immediate closure of all institutions of education;

1 Pre- schools,
2 Primary Schools,
3 Secondary Schools,
4 National Teachers Training Technical schools,
5 Institutes and the Universities,
This includes both private and public educational institutions.

2- Immediate closure of all Health Science institutes.

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