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.

Women group called for an end to all forms of GBV

As The Radio Community (TRC) featured women’s roles in the society ahead of International Women Day on 8th March, Akol Yam 91 in Aweil hosted Elisabeth Ajok Atak, Women Chairperson in Aweil, and Monica Mawien, leader of Women Forum for Peace Building.

 The two guests spoke about ways to end violence against women and girls in South Sudan. Both pledges to play their roles to end violence in the family, saying there is a plan to move across the state’s Counties and explain the effects of violence. They aim to prompt a peaceful family.

Elisabeth said misunderstanding and disrespect of women’s rights are significant issues encouraging violence in the community. “You know I have been working with different organizations supporting gender-based violence programs in the state, and according to my experiences, women are not considered as people who contribute to the family affairs or development.”

Monica Mawien, leader of women forum for peacebuilding, urges women to be peace promoters and avoid disputes that lead to the suffering of children. She calls on fellow women across the state to speak up during International Women’s Day.

UN reported that South Sudan has endured protracted conflict and instability, during which crimes of conflict-related sexual violence have reached appalling levels of brutality, often committed with marked political and ethnic undertones.

In May last year, UN Mission in South Sudan said survivors of conflict-related sexual violence continue to struggle to access adequate medical and mental health care.

International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March around the world. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.

85 inmates with minor cases have been freed in Aweil Prison

85 inmate have been released in Aweil correctional prison service in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state. The decision is part of the state governor and judiciary initiative to freed those who commit minor offenses and fines sentencing.

Official says the released will ease congestions in prison which was meant to accommodate one hundred and fifty persons, but now hosting a total of four hundred and sixty-eight prisoners.

Some of the inmates who spoke to Akol Yam 91 FM said they were send to prison without proper investigations.

One of the inmate Bakhita Atong Dut said she was arrested by her husband because her daughter was elope by a man who didn’t have cows to pay as dowery. Adding that her husband accused her of giving daughter away to person who has no wealth.

Many of the released inmates have difference varying stories about how they got arrested and end up in prison.

Amou Bol is one of those being released said she spent two years in prison because she was convicted of manslaughter after a person died in her care after receiving drug. “I have been here for two years because I was treating someone locally and unfortunately, she died, and I was arrested to pay blood compensation which I cannot afford”. She said.

Many of the prisoners’ released thanks, the governor and the high court president for pardoning them. They say the prison living conditions were so bad because of the congestion and poor hygiene.

Angok Ayok Malou explained the challenges he encountered in jail. “I am an old man,  I have been falling sick almost every day because my aging condition and my body cannot manage prison life, I am happy I have been doing nothing here for six months”.

Justice Abraham Majur Laat is the president of high court in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state. He said they plan to pardon up to three hundred people with minor cases.

He said that the governor has pledged to pay little fines when the list is submitted to his office for those who did not afford to pay the court fines.

NBG: 16 years’ girl sued parents on forced marriage in Aweil.

A sixteen-year-old girl in Aweil South County has opened a legal court case against her biological parents over forced marriage allegations.

The teenager identified Abuk escaped her father’s home after her family received 16 dowries without her knowledge.

The girl has reported the issue to the Police Special Protection Unit in the area to protect her.

Abuk felt humiliated by her biological parents for abusing her rights because she wasn’t qualified to be married below 18 years.

“My parents have taken cows from someone who wants to take me as a wife, although I told them that I am not interested in marriage because I am very young. I thought of killing myself because I don’t want that person, but some people advised me to first report to the Police.”

Akol Yam contacted her brother Lual Lual. He confirmed that his family had received a summon letter from the police service.

Lual acknowledged his parents received dowries because they tried to marry her off.

“What happened is that this young girl first accepted the marriage and then, later on, changed her mind when we have already made losses of preparing for the wedding, this is what is the problem, but we have agreed to accept her decision and let her return home, 

“We have already returned the cows to the person, and we want her; I have agreed not to marry her off again, so I think there is no need to go to court again.”

The Director of Special Protection Unit, in Aweil Capt. Ayak Agiu says the girl is under their protection unit, and legal procedures will follow.

This is the first time a young girl reported force marriage to the Police in the area.

Last week, South Sudan embarked on a 16 days campaign against gender-based violence to preserve women and girls’ rights.

South Sudan has the eighth highest prevalence of child marriage globally. An International NGO, Oxfam estimated that 71% of girls are married before the age of 18.

Youth Protest Against Unfair Recruitments in NGOs Sector.

Nearly one hundred angry youth in Aweil County have protested against the humanitarian organization’s employment process. The demonstrators accused NGO of “unfair recruitment.”

The move came after eighty candidates shortlisted by the Norwegian Refugee Council, but that process was later nullified.

Some youth blamed the state Relief and Rehabilitation Commission for interrupting the interviews. A group of youth moved to the Governor’s office on Thursday to report the dispute. Complainers alleged that imbalanced employment in NGOs is a violation of labor law.

Anonymous youth representative called for government intervention. “What we want the government should sit with the partner organizations and look at the recruitment process to employ qualified people rather than people they know.”

Protesters said the commission called “RRC” came to the interview place and said that these people you want to interview are not the right people we have our people who usually do the surveys.

“What happened? We were almost sitting for our interviews, and then some people came and refused the interview to take place; this is very frustrating, so where do we belong as the youth”.

The deputy secretary-general in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, Mr. Peter Aguer Muoranyar, confirmed the youth protest. He vowed the Government would investigate the disagreement.

“According to what we know now is that they say NRC is the one having a problem, and we also hear that the Government suspended the interviews.

So youth have come here to the Governor’s office looking for their right, and they are job seekers, and they have a right to know the truth. Still, it’s good that they have made a peaceful protest, I have communicated with the RRC boss, and he will come and tell us what has happened, so we shall look into this matter and solve it”.

The Relief and Rehabilitation Commission Deputy Director Angelo Deng Akol said they had stopped the interview because his office was not informed about the process.

“The NRC refused to understand us and called youth for an interview without our information, so we understood that we are not working on the right channel.

So we asked the security to suspend the interviews so that we can understand ourselves, but they rushed to Governor’s office to complain, but the system is in place and should be respected.” Angelo stated

The NRC head office in Aweil has confirmed that candidates shortlisted for the interviews were stopped. And the process was put on hold until the matter was resolved.

This year, a youth group wrote a petition letter to NGO in Aweil demanding fair employment.