Uganda election creates fear to South Sudanese in Kampala

As Ugandans start casting their votes, South Sudanese living in Kampala and other parts of the country expressed fear of possible violence if election results turn against people’s choice.

Polling stations opened this morning for over 18 million registered voters to elected their leaders.

In today’s election, a pop star and opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi better known as Bobi Wine, is challenging the longtime President Yoweri Museveni, with other nine Presidential candidates.

Rev. Stephen Kulang Jiech, a South Sudanese Church leader who lived in Kampala said, foreign nationals are indoors waiting for the result of the election.

He hopes the election will be free and fair to avoid violence among the Ugandans.

“Now we are at home, and we don’t know what is going on in the polling stations unless at the midday because they closed all the media, there is no Facebook, there is no internet.”

Uganda has hosted 1 million South Sudanese refugees, the vast majority of them women and children.

Nyumazi Refugee Camp chairman, Nyang Aluel Akuei, said the situation is normal, citing that refugees are not worried.

“As elections start this morning, people at my settlement wake up as usual, and we started our normal activities. Our shops are open. People are moving within the settlement. I’m not seeing anything that is causing an alarm”.

Nyang stated that no refugee is allowed to move out of the settlement to neighboring towns. The camp chairman calls upon the government of South Sudan to engage their counterpart to avoid any disturbance.

“In case of any disappointments or dissatisfaction from the outcome of elections, we as refugees want to stay in our settlement. We don’t want the nationals to come to a settlement and begin disturbing us because some people will be disappointed,” said Aluel.

South Sudanese youth member living in Uganda said he is disappointed with the internet shutdown in Uganda.

Kur Abraham describes the lack of internet connection as a bad sign, and people will be missed out on the information.

“We are not connected to the internet or social media because all Data is not working countrywide, I think. I’m having a lot of things to do online. Since Data is not there, I’m not feeling well because I’m missing a lot. Not about the elections, but my things and my studies.”

In Kampala, South Sudan’s embassy warned its citizens to stay indoors from 14th -21 January. Amb Simon Duku encouraged South Sudanese to buy enough phone credits to call the embassy in security threats.

The embassy instructed its citizens to move with valid national ID 24/7 or only a valid passport. Avoid wearing clothes with colors representing political parties like yellow and red during this election process and NEVER move in a group.

On Tuesday, Uganda’s communications regulator ordered internet providers to block all social media platforms, followed by a total internet showdown yesterday.

Facebook and Twitter were among apps that became inaccessible on several network providers in the country.

Facebook announced on Monday it had taken down a network of fake and duplicate accounts linked to the country’s information ministry.

On Wednesday, the US and EU said they would not observe the elections after several officials were denied accreditation.

OPP finalized nomination of 3 deputy governors

The group of Other Political Parties known as OPP revealed that its internal dispute over the list of deputy governors’ nominees resolved.

This came after President Salva Kiir did not appoint three positions assigned to the other political parties.

Two weeks ago, six deputy governors nominated by SPLM and SPLM-IO were appointed. The remaining deputy governors are for Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, and Central Equatoria states.

Peter Mayen, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Other Political Parties’ leader, said the major parties take deputy governors’ positions within their alliance. But Mayen could not disclose the names of the political parties allocated to nominate deputies’ governors.

“Now, the appointment will happen. That is the president’s work, but we have resolved our issue, and we are working based on principles. One of the principles is that where you have prominence is where you go”.

The leader of OPP apologized for delay caused by his party. “we apologize for the delay”. We are now working based on an inclusive process with twenty-seven political parties regardless of their collaboration, regardless of their alliance.”

Mayen further mentioned the distribution of seats at states would be inclusive. And that his leadership is making sure there is equal participation.

“The positions even at the state level, where OPP have seats in the state, basically we have over sixty members of parliament and their state ministers. So, my leadership is trying as much as it can to make sure that everybody participates.”

Majongdit says it is essential to consolidate peace and have the guns silent. He acknowledges that the implementation is behind scheduled. Other members of the Alliance blamed Peter Mayen of creating misunderstanding over allocation of deputy government, a claimed he denied.

The parties to the revitalized peace agreement have not yet completed state and local government formation, which took several months.

Gunmen killed infants, kidnaped two boys in Bor

Attackers in Jonglei State have killed an 8-month-old baby and kidnapped two children aged 13 and 15 at Pagok village in Jonglei State on Saturday. All victims are from one family.

Police said the mother and her children came under attack while footing on a feeder road heading to Cha-Akau village after leaving Bor town.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Mayen is the Commissioner of Police. He said the mother of the abducted children was freed unharmed.

General Joseph says the slain infant’s body was found by the local youth who were following abductors a few hours later after children were kidnapped.

“the criminals live in the bushes, and they do have their coordinated plan of what to do, there are only a few villages that people live, but these criminals do disturb, they can ambush the people. The youth do patrol around. Women are vulnerable, older people are vulnerable, and children are vulnerable too. So, the youth shouldn’t allow women to move alone in the bushes.”

Child abductions and cattle raiding among Jonglei neighboring communities rose during the dry seasons for years. Several peace initiatives conducted did not end the kidnapping and cattle raiding activities in the area.

According to the Police, no suspect being arrested so far. Authority in Bor claimed the attackers are believed to be from Pibor Administrative Area, an allegation that couldn’t independently be verified.

In July last year, South Sudan’s Vice President James Wani Igga was tasked to mediate peace among Jonglei communities. He promised that the government had taken decisive decisions to restore security.

VP Igga appealed to community leaders to support the government’s effort for peace and stability, emphasizing that peace is necessary for development and prosperity.

JEDCO reversed its plan to cutoff power in Juba.

The government has finally reached an agreement with Juba Electricity Distribution Company, JEDCO, over power shutdown.

Ministry of Energy and Dams said the power distributor would continue its operation despite the recent announcement to cut off the national capital light.
Juba Electricity Distribution Company, JEDCO announced to shut down the power supply on Tuesday until further notice.

The company in the statement said the South Sudan government has “not provided the foreign currency required to make long-overdue payments for the bulk energy” they get from Ezra Construction and Development Group.

Hon. Peter Marchalo, the Minister, said, “no shutdown will take place tomorrow.”
The Power distribution company JEDCO said it had reached an agreement with the government on Monday afternoon to keep the power flow.

“A last-minute solution has been found to stop plans by the Ezra Construction and Development Group to shut down the Juba power plant.”

The Government of the Republic of South Sudan has intervened, and all stakeholders are now urgently working together to make sure this drastic action never happens in the future, JEDCO stated.”

“Following this latest intervention, the Juba Electricity Distribution Company (JEDCO) will NOT disrupt its services and will continue to provide all its customers with a safe and reliable electricity supply.

The Government, Ezra, and JEDCO promised to dedicated on developing the country.

The JEDCO Company has connected nearly ten thousand households with over 200 government institutions and more than 3,500 businesses across Juba.

Animal disease outbreak killed livestock in Awerial. 

The cattle keepers in Lakes state’s Awerial County has expressed concern about losing their livestock following the outbreak of an animal disease known as East Coast Fever.

Deng Think is a cattle keeper in the area said has lost 15 cows and several animals from other community members dead of disease confirmed to be East Coast Fever at various villages, including Mingkaman. 

East Coast Fever is a lethal disease of cattle caused by the blood parasite and transmitted by the Brown Ear Tick.

He stated that cattle started showing signs of sickness in December, and the treatment they have administered to save the life of animals did not work better.

According to the cattle owner, the disease’s symptom includes cow to develop a high fever, nose mucus, loss of appetite.

Deng claimed to have lost a cow worth 400,000 SSP, and he appeals to veterinarians and partners to provide a sustainable drug that can treat the disease. It’s unclear how many cattle dead so far.

 ” I don’t really know what can help. We have been trying to treat them with the available drugs for animals, but it’s not working. We don’t understand why doctors are not bringing drugs for this disease.” Deng stated.

Director of the Animal department in Awerial County, James Chuti, has confirmed that fifteen cows have died so far and expects the number to go higher.

He urges pastoralists to keep animals free of ticks to minimize disease transmission through blood parasites as local authorities prepare their response.

“We have got the information about this disease and my office has received at least 15 cows death recorded but I did not yet get some data from many villages which host larger number of cows. so far, we are planning to see alternative ways to save the livestock life because the entire,e communities depend on cattle and if disease wipe them out, it can be a disaster to them” He said.

The veterinary expert said the vaccination campaign launched in November last year didn’t covered all areas due to the vaccine shortage.

James assured cattle owners that his office coordinates with the State head office to provide medicine that cures East Coast Fever.

 

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.

Awerial county official says they lack funds to addresses water crisis in Bunagok

Bunagok residents face extreme water shortages, with over two thousand people sharing two water hand pumps.

Some of the residences who spoke to Mingkaman 100 FM say they spend many hours in the queue to fetch water in the two working hand pumps.

Martha Alut is one of the residences in Bunagok Payam. She said people are walking from different villages to fetch water at Bunagok.

Ms. Alut had appealed to local county officials to rescue the situation and help fix the broken boreholes to ease the congestions and suffering.

She said they are now making tough choices between drinking and bathing. Adding that they go for days without bathing because it is not easy to get water at the hand pump.

She said the issue of water starts in August, but the situation is now worse because the pools which villages were using have dried. “clothes are dirty, and children don’t take a bath sometimes, this can cause sicknesses.” Said Martha.

Mr. Paul Chak is the head of the Awerial county water department in Lakes state. He said his office is aware of the dire water situation at Bunagok and other areas in the county. 

He said they are making every effort to fix the broken boreholes by early next year because they do not have spare parts that are needed.

He said the pump mechanic are idle because they do not have spares, and he can’t send them without spare parts to repair the boreholes.

He said that he is engaging with one of the partners who has promised to come in January to drill more boreholes and repair the damaged ones.

80 people regain eye sight and 900 more missed the operation

80 people have regained sight after undergoing cataract operation in Akon, Warrap and  nine hundred more  missed the treatment.

James Madhang Wieu is the Payam Executive Director in Akon. He says eye specialists’ doctors from Egypt spent two days in the area and they manage to operate few people and majority of them missed because of limited time for the doctors.

Wieu said that they registered one thousand and thirty-six patients with eye problem that need to be operation.

The symptoms of eye cataract include shortsightedness to the older people, changes of eye color and poor sighted at night.

Cataract is ‘a medical condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque, resulting in blurred vision’.

The governor of Warrap state, Hon. Bona Panek apologized to those who missed the eye operation. Saying that things did not go as planned but promised to try to bring them next year.

He attributed the issue to poor coordination of which transports arrangements for many patients did not reached them on time.

Some of the patients who spoke to Mayardit FM said the transport arrangement was not well coordinated and many of them were stranded at various pick up locations.

The eye operation was one of the initiative sponsored by the first lady Ayen Kiir Mayardit to provide free eye treatment to nearly thousand people from greater Bahr el Ghazal region and Abyei. Seven hundred patients were treated in Akon Payam in Warrap state.

Motorbike riders restricted from going to Amiet market

Abyei-Amiet road. Photo: Courtesy of UNISFA

Authorities in Abyei administrative area has suspended movement of motorbikes between  Amiet market and Abyei town.

Official says the reason for restricting motorcyclists, they failed to adhere to security protocal UN troops escorts for the travelers.

Martino Kiir Deng is the information officer in Abyei. He said individuals are not allowed to travel along Abyei-Amiet unless in a convoy because there are suspected criminals who used to attack vehicles and motorbike riders.

Martino urged the riders to respect the order by the Abyei security protocol.

He quotes ” My message is that people should take good care of their lives because this is the season where criminals attack travelers. There are always unknown gunmen that disturb people.

He further explained that it is good to drive in a group with the convoy. This is the situation where UNISFA’s troops accompany travelers. And so I repeat that motorbike riders are warned not to escape to walk alone. Please follow the set rules or you will face consequences if you are found, ‘’ Martino stated.

In response, some motorbike riders say UN troops should be stationed along the road instead of moving in convoy. They appealed to the Abyei administration and the UN Interim Security force for Abyei to increase the number of peacekeepers.

Mr. Madhal Mabior from Turalei Market said that the price of goods increases when the convoy arrived in Amiet. Madhal said they always find it cheaper to buy goods at affordable prices when it is morning hours.

” according to me, to respect the so-called protocol can affect my work because going to Amiet market early in the morning is good because prices of goods get lower and when the convoy arrived, the prices shoot up. The convoy also delays up to 8:30 AM and going to Amiet needs early hours, ‘’ A Boda Boda man who deals in fuel told Mayardit FM.

Mr. Malek Deng who sells mixed goods welcomes the idea but the government’s inability to arrest the suspects who attack the travelers.

He urged that the soldiers should be put in suspected places permanently instead of guarding for few hours which is the only convoy,’’ Boda Boda man said.

Four children killed and one wounded in Kapoeta North County.

Google Map of Kapoeta County EE, South Sudan

Local authority in Kapoeta North county said four children age 7 – 10  have been killed on Monday.

One child has survived and is receiving treatment in Kapoeta South county hospital. The incident happened at Riwoto Payam. in a village called Lokolibor approximately about 35kilometers from Kapoeta South. The teenagers were on their way home after they went to fetch water from a nearby river.

Prince Daniel is one of the nurse in Kapoeta hospital. He said the girl has suffered multiple stab wounds to her body, and is responding to the treatment.  The nurse says the girl needs to be referred to a better health facility for further treatment, “Unfortunately we receive a patient yesterday she was stabbed multiple times and now her condition is stable, we manage to stick some wounds and make some dressing.” He said that she was so lucky that one of the wounds did not penetrate to the chest.

Daniel said such kind of action must be prohibited and law must be enforced fully so that the perpetrators are punished for such killing.

Evariso Cheche is paramount chief in Kapoeta North County. He condemned the killing and called on the state government to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Chief Evariso alleged that the suspects, which he said brutally murdered four innocent kids, could have come from Kimotong area in Budi county. Saying the killing was a revenge attack. This allegation has not been independently verified by Singaita FM.

“Revenge killing cannot stop because there is no government or chief and community leader in the village to control the situation”. Said Chief Evariso

Police department in the Eastern Equatoria state declined to comment citing inappropriate information in their office.

There has been number of attack between the two communities Toposa and Buya which follow the killing of two women at Kimotong payam earlier this month.