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Under-tree Governance: This is Why Governors and Ministers in South Sudan Work Under Trees

John Madol Panther, information minister in Gok State, told South Sudan’s Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday that the state governor is working without an office, pointing out that his boss is now managing his state under a tree.

The governor of South Sudan’s Gok State Madhang Majok Meen is unable to execute his duties fully as a governor due to the lack of an office.

After South Sudan’s President Kiir’s decrees dividing up South Sudan’s states and counties into smaller units, many state and county governments are left without budgets, equipment or sometimes even offices or vehicles for their top executives.

The former Lakes State had been divided into Gok, Western Lakes and Eastern Lakes States in October 2015.

Over the weekend, a picture of a South Sudanese governor working under a tree was widely shared on social media.

The Gok state governor, Madhang Majok Meen was seen seated outdoors behind a plastic table, which had a plaque bearing his name.

Writing materials, office stamp and table nametag flanked by two flags were also seen on the table.

People subsequently began wondering how and why a state official should be working under a tree without an office, with others casting doubts over the picture.

But authorities in Gok have since come out to confirm that the state governor is indeed working under a tree.

“We are all operating under the trees – the governor and the ministers,” the state’s Information Minister John Madol Panther told local media Eye Radio.

“We don’t have offices completely but we are now constructing (offices).”


According to him, state ministers are forced to “walk on foot to work” as there are no vehicles.

“Sometimes it is difficult when it rains,” Mr Meen added.


South Sudan President Salva Kiir — Famous People

In 2015, President Salva Kiir dissolved the country’s 10 regional states and made 28 new ones. Gok is one of the newly formed states.

Following the division, many of the state governments are now lacking infrastructure and funding to work with.

Mr Panther, however, said members of the community have made donations towards a new office for the governor, which may be ready later this year.


Written by How Africa

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