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Juba City's Acting Mayor Dismissed for Assaulting Street Vendor

South Sudan Juba map

JUBA — The governor of Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil, has removed Emmanuel Khamis Richard from his positions as the acting mayor of Juba city, following a public outcry and demands for his dismissal.

Khamis' dismissal comes after a widely circulated video on social media showing him, armed with a pistol, striking a female street vendor in South Sudan's capital Juba.

Khamis, along with police, were clearing the area where vendors set up shop at a well-known roundabout in the capital.

The National Legislative Assembly urged Governor Adil to hold the acting mayor accountable for his actions, prompting a resolution by the House to recommend his removal.

Minister of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare Aya Benjamin Warrille decried the incident.

"We shouldn't violate her rights, whatever it was. They could have a dialogue and find a solution to that," she said. If someone is in that position, and acts that way, she added, they "are abusing" their powers, and that "shouldn't be happening."

Robert Pitia, chairperson of the Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce, emphasized that the former acting mayor had no authority to resort to violence against vendors.

"He is not above the law, and if that person comes to the Chamber of Commerce and wants us to go further, then we can press charges against the acting mayor because we don’t want this thing to happen again," Pitia told VOA.

When approached for comment, the acting mayor’s office said it would issue a response to VOA at a later time.

A Juba resident, who identified themselves only as Daru, due to fear of retaliation, said he was dismayed by the former mayor's actions.

"If [he acted that way because of] the power he has, is he supposed to use it like that? It is so disgraceful," the Juba resident said.

The U.N. Human Rights Commission issued a statement last year, urging South Sudanese authorities to take necessary measures to combat violence against women and girls, addressing both impunity and the underlying causes of conflict and insecurity.