Kapoeta & Aweil celebrate Rural Women’s Day

Community of Kapoeta, Eastern Equatoria have celebrated International Rural Women’s day under the Theme “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19.

The day is commemorated on Oct 15 globally to recognize the role of rural women in development and food security to end poverty. Several women display their produces during the event in Kapoeta and Aweil towns in South Sudan.

Lore Josephine is the senior Gender base Violence officer working for an Alight organization in Kapoeta.

She says the government and partners should work together to support women in the field of Agriculture to reduce hunger in the state.

“For us to make these women silver, we need to provide complete protection to them whenever they are going to get their tools. Women and girls are exposed to danger, and they need full protection to ensure they realize their dream,” she said.

The Deputy Chairlady of Kapoeta Women Association encourages fellow females to participate in agricultural activities to produce enough food for their families.

Cecilia Namoi Achuma says Agriculture is the country’s backbone, and every person should engage in it rather than depending on humanitarian support.

Several women and girls also turnout to celebrates the day in Aweil, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State. They expressed willingness to produces food despite devastated flooding that destroyed their crops.

Some women spokes to Akol Yam 91.0 FM Aweil.

“We are happy that the partners and our government have recognized us today. We are very people who suffer and facing a lot of challenges, especially home responsibilities. We are asking for support like seeds, farming skills for us to produces our food”.

“We need farming tools and skill so that we can plant more vegetables and reliance on our own.

“Our government will be able to get back to us with good information because we are now expecting to be trained on planting vegetables and finding food for our families.”

Northern Bahr Ghazal state minister of agriculture Anei Deng Akok says he will work with partners to empower rural women.

Deng started his ministry mandate to implement a food security project to provide rural women with training and other supports.

The United Nations’ International Day of Rural Women celebrates and honors women and girls living in rural areas on Oct 15 each year. It recognizes the considerable role that rural mothers, daughters, and grandmothers play in producing food and building agricultural and rural development worldwide.

Civil servants receives the missing month’s salary in Aweil

The civil servants in Northern Bahr El Ghazal state have started receiving the missing month salary on Friday.

The workers union in NBG has been calling for investigation over unpaid one month salary after the national Ministry of Finance released a document indicated that civil servants will receive May and June salaries. But the state paid only one month. The matter creates controversy between the state government and its employees.

Chol Dut Diing, the chairperson of workers, welcomes the state authority’s decision to fulfill the demand of civil servants. He says the payment came after payroll reviews as salary missing caused confusion between workers and the state finance ministry.

“This week, we decided to make general revisions on the payroll of previous months. I confirm now civil servants have started receiving their salary, and civil servants don’t have any money missing anymore,” Dut said.

The Director-General in the state ministry of finance, John Korol Dut the says the money paid to the workers is for June 2021’s salary. Earlier this week, the Ministry of Finance in NBGs has denied the report of one month’s missing salary. It’s unclear how they recover the money.

Korol says the civil servants still demand four months’ wages from the government, including July, August, September, and October 2021.

“As I said early this week, we don’t have money missed in the state altogether. I want to repeat to myself that the national government did not release money in august. We in the state pushed cash from August, June, and September 2021 after receiving them today. Our civil servants will not complain again,” Korol stated.

In July this year, President Salva Kiir ordered the increase of Civil Servant salary to 100 percent. The ministry of labor said that increment of salary structure would be effective this month, October 2021.

Student found dead, creates fear in Aweil

The residence of Mapper Akot in Aweil town says they are not feeling safe after a body was found in a pool over the weekend. The deceased is 24 years old, Ngor Deng Deng Dut. the father says he disappeared from the house three days ago and turning up dead in a pool is shocking to the family. Mr. Deng Deng Dut says his son has been deliberately killed. And calls on the state government to find the suspects and bring them to justice for his son’s murder. ” Am urging state authority to search and bring the criminals responsible for my son’s death to book”. A health medical doctor who did a post-mortem to find the cause of death says he suffered multiple inflicted wounds. Dr. Dut Hassan from Aweil hospital explained that the body was rotten that prevented accurate test results. The killing has caused fear and a sense of insecurity in the community, in the neighborhood of Maper Akot Aru. The victim was one of the residents and a student. Some of the residents who speak to Akol Yam 91 FM in Aweil say the incident shocked them, and they are afraid to move at night. They call on the police to increase night patrol in the area and arrest any suspected criminals causing insecurities. Guot Guot Akol is the police spokesperson in Northern Bahr El Ghazal, state. He says no arrest has been made in connection to the young man’s death, but they are still investigating and searching for the culprits. Guot urges the family to remain strong and allow the police to search for the suspects and bring them to book. He says police have been deployed in the area and outside the town and search for culprits is continuing. In 2018 a similar incident happened at Maper Akot Aru; an 18-year young man was killed. However, police later arrested more than ten people in connection to his death.

NBGs recruit Eighty-five teachers, promotes hundreds others

Northern Bahr El Gazal state has recruited teachers to tackle the lack of instructors.

Some appointed staff has been working as volunteers for years, teaching various primary and secondary students.

The state’s Ministry of Education says the move addresses challenges facing learning institutions and promotes quality learning.

Santino Bol Akot is Director-General of the state ministry education NBG.

He said eighty-five new appointees were graduated from Maper National teachers training institute last year. 

The state government also promoted one hundred teachers from lower grades to 10, 8, and 7, respectively.

The State pledge to pay teacher salaries from the locally generated revenue collection.

“State ministry education will be a response on 85 new recruited teachers which include in the payroll. They will get salary effect from the current date of their employment. We also have a hundred teachers promoted that will get their pay from the national government. All this process was done to improve the education at public schools,” Bol said.

Civil Servant in South Sudan has been facing salary delay which becomes a concern to keep them on the job.

The Education Director said salary delay is a countrywide problem that shouldn’t worry the individual.

Some new teachers who spoke to Akol Yam 91.0 celebrated their appointment, saying they worked as volunteers without salary for years.

Teachers hope there being on government payroll will encourage them to concentrate on teaching.

“We are holding two certificates secondary and teachers training certificated for two years without proper employment, but right now we knew ministry had recognized our qualification.

“We shall work closely with ministry education to promote quality education because get salary is encouraged to do batter jobs. When most of the teachers are not pay, they don’t come to schools regularly.”

“Administration will be designed schools’ attendance to guild all teachers on their arrived and departure times. After the ministry resolves lower pay and voluntarily works through recruits and promotion, we request them to work on the delayed salary while teachers are doing fieldwork that needs monthly cash,” Teachers narrated.

A teacher in South Sudan earns between 1,600 – 2,000 Pounds -about $10 -every month.

Drivers Union in Aweil sue to court over taxes disagreement

In Aweil of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, the Municipality Council has opened a court case against the public driver alleged of refusing to pay taxes charged per trip.

The case was opened in Aweil High Court. Deputy Chairperson of NBGs Drivers’ Union confirmed his office had received a summon letter on Monday, May 17th.

According to Mr. Guot Wol, the Drivers’ Union members will appear in the court this week on Wednesday.

Drivers Union disputed authority case against their administration. They are labeling the matter “unlawful acts,” which should be resolve in the court of laws.

The Union leader claimed that each driver pays twenty-six thousand South Sudanese pounds to the town municipality for road usage tax and a business license per year.

“The authority has summoned some of our members, and it is because of the issue of a seat fare tax which the authority is trying to impose on us. It is not good for us. We pay for other licenses and feel this should not be necessary,” Guot narrated.

Mr. Guot also said a seat charge per every trip is unjust.

“We will go to court and see how the court ruling will be made because we find this tax illegal. So, it is better to be handled within the law.”

Aweil town deputy mayor for planning, development, and environment, Mr. Anei Wal Achien, affirmed the case against accusing drivers of not paying their monthly fees.

Anei said that payment of one seat fare per trip to the town municipality is legal policy, and the drivers have avoided two months without pay.

“This is a law set by the government, and the drivers should abide by it, but since they are refusing to cooperate, then that is why we resorted to the court of laws, yes we have given them a summon letter, and the court proceedings will begin tomorrow,” Anei explained.

Last month, public vehicle drivers in Aweil town stopped working for three days in protest of paying fare for one seat per trip to the town municipality.

Residents push newly MPs to prioritize citizens’ needs

People of Northern Barh El Ghazal called the freshly appointed lawmakers in the Transitional National Legislative to prioritize the public’s need.

In the newly appointed lawmakers, the NBG state has around 26 members assigned to National Assembly.

South Sudan President Kiir Mayardit has reconstituted long overdue parliament on Monday, giving people hope for smooth implementation of Revitalize Agreement.

A total of 550 national MPs from various political parties stipulated in the Revitalize Agreement power-sharing were appointed in a Presidential decree read on own-state South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation (SSBC).

The 2018 agreement has expanded parliament from 400 to 550 national legislatures for all signatories include opposition parties and SPLM-IG.

The formation of the national parliament delays beyond unanticipated dateline; the slow implementation has frustrated the citizens in such political games.

People blamed parties to the agreement on political deadlock delaying the implementation of keys provision in the agreement include the graduation of Joint security forces and reunification of armies according to the security arrangement.

Speaking to Akol Yam FM, Barh el Ghazalian expressed optimism about parliament reconstitution that coined new assignment for both states and national lawmakers on services delivery.

“I need new MPs to work much on security that affecting citizens across the Country. They say most people have stopped cultivation at the villages due to fear of insecurity, and if they work to improve, everyone will go to the town and produce their food against hunger.”

“I want MPs to stop prioritize their interests over people’s needs. I want new MPs to address the issue of corruption that has affected the development of this young nation since its independence from Sudan. We are delighted and expect changes in this Unity government,” Citizens stated.

A disabled person in Jonglei State has also called for equal representation of people with disabilities at the State Legislative Assembly, which is not yet formed.
Johnson Reech is a blind student who sat for the Primary Eight exam this year. He says lack of their representation is an explicit denial of political rights to disable person in South Sudan.

National parliament reconstitution was welcome by peace guarantors, citizens, and civil society groups as a crucial step in the peace agreement implementation.

Article 1.14 in the peace agreement stated; The Transitional National Legislature (TNL) shall consist of the Transitional Legislative Assembly (TNLA) and the Council of State.  The council of State was also dissolved but yet reconstituted.

National Minister criticized for disrupting a football match in Aweil

Football fans in Northern Bahr el Gazal have criticized a national Minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management Peter Mayen Majongdit for disrupting the march at Aweil stadium.

Fans expressed profound disappointment after bodyguards of the Minister allegedly fired a gun at the football stadium, blocking the Minister’s wife Aluel Garang, popularly known as Aluel Messi’s participation in the tournament. Fans said the national Minister’s action is “misuse of power.”

An eyewitness said they saw the national Minister interrupt the match, blocking his wife at the pitch. Aluel Messi was leading the team as captain.

NBGs football Association said the minister use power to stop the match, and the management compiles with his demand after the first half of the game.

“If the ministers who are the ones that pass orders can distract a football match, then what will stop the ordinary citizens from doing the same. The Minister should face a penalty for misconduct. We were surprised the Minister was trying to go to the field by force, and after some time, some fans started protesting against the removal of ALuel Messi, and shots were fired; we were shocked.

The Minister should have waited to solve the problem at home. He is correct because the mother of a baby with three months old left at home, but he should have done it peacefully.”

The Chairman of the Northern Bhar El Ghazal football Association, Jok Wol Jok, blamed the Minister for not informing the management about his concern.

He termed the action as “unacceptable” and urged the national government to hold the Minister’s account against misconduct.

“We condemn what happened, and Minister was wrong because you shouldn’t use force instead following the right procedures. The Minister should have told us in advance that she doesn’t want the wife to play football, and we would have respected his request.  But, good enough, we gave him his wife after the first half.”

Peter Mayen has denied all allegations made against him. Minister’s action went viral on social media platforms, criticizing unusual behavior.

He acknowledges that his wife is a football player but refuted any wrongdoing without further elaboration.

“Both are not true, I did not deny her from playing in the football team, and I did not shoot any gun”, Mayen said.

Civic society activist Edmund Yakani, director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), said the act is “unacceptable” the Minister should apologize to football fans in Aweil.

South Sudan Football Association commended the Minister’s act, described it as “inappropriate,” and urged him to allow his wife to exercise her talent. They considered action as an altitude that violates women’s right to participate in the country’s various sports activities.

Citizens contributed over 1 million pounds to a disabled student

South Sudanese in the diaspora have donated over 1 million pounds to a disabled young man known as John Lual is 21 years old

He graduated this year from standard eight after sitting his primary national examination in Aweil East County.

Well-wishers who contributed money were so amazed by his determination to achieve education ambition goals. The disabled man uses his mouth to write. That inspired many people.

The amount of money contributed and officially received on Wednesday 7th was reported 1,045,000 South Sudanese pounds. Friends use the social media platform “Go fund my project” to raise money to support his further education.

Lual hopes to become a medical doctor in the future. He confirmed that he has “received the money with joy, and the donation will help him support his family.”

“I want to thank the people who supported us with the money; People use to tell me that school is not for the disabled, that it is for normal people with no disabilities. But I did not give up, and I will make these people who support me proud”, he uttered.

Mr. Lual disclosed that his family decided to buy a house in Aweil town to bring him close to a secondary school.

Mr. Bol Chol Guot is the fundraising initiative organizer, said that well-wishers donated the money after reading Lual’s story online.

“I just saw his story and felt touched. So, I decided to create a go fund project on Facebook to handle the story as I can help. The young man will also encourage many youths to study because his story is different and motivates people to learn despite all difficulties”.

So, it will make many people join the school, and feel that it is not challenging to study if john a disabled man who writes using his mouth is learning” Chol narrated.

Bol called the public to support vulnerable people in the community, especially disabled people.

Female inmates receive food and hygiene kits in Aweil

Around thirty female inmates at Aweil Main Prison have received a donation of food items and hygiene kits on Wednesday.

The Ghanaian peacekeepers at United Nations Mission in South Sudan donated the items on Wednesday.

Some of the hygiene items donated were face masks, handwashing facilities, Sanitary pads, Tissue papers, washing, and bathing soaps. They also food items included Packed Juices, Biscuits, and beans.

The donations reportedly aimed at helping the vulnerable and abandoned female prisoners on the International World Health Day, which is marked every 7th of April yearly.

Some of the female inmates who spoke to Akol Yam FM said that the donations would maintain proper hygiene and sanitation in police custody. They appreciated the support and called well-wishers for more help.

The first female inmate who requested anonymity expressed her happiness. “We are delighted today, at least we feel like the rest of the people living because we have been visited with donations, many family and friends have forgotten us, so we want to thank these foreigners that have cared for us”.

Another inmate Achol Marach said they have been in total lack of hygiene items in prison.

Derek Odame is the Civil-Military Company officer for the Ghanaians peacekeepers in Aweil, urged the public to avoid abandoning their relatives detained at the prisons.

“We know that many prisoners are abandoned globally, so we thought of the female inmates first as women are vulnerable. Despite being detained, we can imagine their situation. Our sisters decided to see them and support them with the little they have; It’s the world health day that is why we made hygiene kits available and many others.”

Aweil central prison in NBG state was built to accommodate only 150 inmates, but the number increase to over five hundred prisoners

South Sudan Agriculture Minister in Aweil for farming tour 

The national Minister of Agriculture arrived in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state capital on Tuesday morning.

The top government official was accompanied by humanitarians supporting food security in the country.

Hon Josephine Lagu briefed the media said her two-day visit is to assess the Aweil Rice scheme and some agricultural projects implemented by partner organizations.

She assured the public that government would find alternative ways to support food production locally.

“The purpose of the visit is to see how the agricultural activities are continuing in NBGs. We know of the historic Aweil rice scheme, which was functioning very well. Our major purpose is to see its operating.”

The senior national government official further stated that only 3 percent of the land is used for agriculture in South Sudan despite the fertility of country soils. “Our country has a fertile arable land that needs us to cultivate so that we can be food secure.” Josephine said.

Director of World Food Program (WFP) and Agriculture Organization (FAO) ‘s representative participated in minister delegation to the state.