Key findings

  • The reign of Sarah Cleto, the governor of Western Bahr el Ghazal for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO), is in crisis, with much of the opposition elite in the state calling for her removal, despite her grassroots popularity. Attempts to replace her are running up against the complexities of Western Bahr el Ghazal’s ethnic politics.
  • The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) deputy governor, Joseph Zachariah Garang, is trying to emerge from out of the shadow of his patron, Rizik Zacharia Hassan, and position himself as the SPLM’s likely gubernatorial candidate in elections scheduled for 2024. He has earned the ire of the SPLM party machinery, however, and alternative candidates are plotting to take the candidacy.
  • Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO) forces are still awaiting deployment as part of the Necessary Unified Forces, and in the meantime are consigned to cantonment sites without wages, food, or health care—many soldiers have returned to farming. This acute lack of resources has led to cracks in the SPLA-IO military hierarchy and has seen the opposition try to use checkpoints and protection rackets as a means to gain a paltry income.
  • Gold mining in Raga county is more lucrative, but revenues from these operations flow into the pockets of politicians in Juba via local power brokers in the SPLM and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in-Opposition (SPLM/A-IO). Recent attempts by the state government in Wau to obtain some control over the unregulated sector have failed.