Kalisto Lado, the man who walked his talk against tides
The dismissal of the Mayor of Juba City Council, Kalisto Lado, by the Governor of Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil Anthony, caught members of the public off the hook at a time when expectations of his deliverables were growing.
On Friday, there were mixed reactions on social media and partial demonstrations on the ground.
In an unprecedented show of discontent, some citizens asked for the reinstatement of Kalisto Faustino Lado, citing competence and fitness for the job.
Others speculated that he might be elevated to a high-ranking position as he remains the talking point in the city.
The Juba City Council posted his last efforts on Thursday, showing Kalisto and his subjects planting trees around the city in a scene that appeared to be his last moment with the council.
While neutrals may never have cut-out opinions about Mr Lado’s performance, critics viewed him as a bogeyman who ran the city with an iron fist based on ‘his laws’. Those who loved him did so on account that he was a workaholic, a servant with modern dreams and fidelity to aspirations. Mr Lado was a man who walked the talk and followed his script regardless of the dissent he might face.
In September, he led a team from the Juba City Council and apprehended nine suspects, citing the practise of witchcraft and fetishes in Juba.
The suspects were later sentenced to prison based on their investigated degree of crimes not exceeding three months and a fine of SSP25000 each.
Five of them were sentenced to one month, two convicts were given a three-month jail term, one was sentenced to two months in jail and one convict was sentenced to 45 days in prison.
“They are destroying our society, communities, and families, and their activities have led to the deaths of many people. They (witchdoctors) have broken up families and bewitched others to death and performed on their clients to get money through spiritual activities, ” Kalisto said after the arrests.
“We have approved it beyond reasonable doubt when we caught women and men naked. We found others smoking so that they could lure men or women. We found many goats slaughtered, cats tied-down, and some had their bodies cut. “
He said he could not be stopped by local authorities in fighting the use of human body parts for obtaining wealth and luck.
In the same month, the Juba City Council also apprehended eleven (11) people accused of prostitution and witchcraft in Munuki Block B and detained them at Malakia Police Station.
The suspects, who included a nursing mother who carried a five-month-old baby, were fined SSP 25,000 by first-class Majesty Peter Mustafa at Kator Block Court.
The judge was said to have threatened them to pay fines, they would be arrested.
The charges were said to be under Article 33 sections 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the bylaws of the Juba City Council 2013 annexure 2021.
In August, he warned that Juba City Council would demolish shops and other structures constructed along the main roads within 72 hours.
He instructed those who had built shops along the roads to evacuate within 72 hours.
“Everybody who illegally built shops on the main roads should remove them immediately because this is a violation of the rules of the town planning board,” he said.
“We are giving them 72-hours, and after 72-hours exactly on Saturday, my team will reach those areas and demolish all shops constructed there,” he said.
He said that the demolition was meant to ease the movement of vehicles and pedestrians.
On his inspectional visit, the governor of Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil Anthony, acclaimed the Mayor for his exhilarating performance in addressing congestion and problems of cleanliness within the city.
This was after visiting the demolition sites to see if the mayor and his team had been opening roads.
The governor said the demolition would transform Juba into a modern city of world-class standards. He urged the mayor to endeavour to ensure that the city is sparkling clean.
His aggressive brand of solving problems gave him the figure of a reformist, and he was soon linked to the position of the Managing Director of Nilepet.
This was after President Salva Kiir Mayardit relieved Bol Ring Muorwel from the position, with scanty reasons for his decision.
“Those who want me to be appointed as the Managing Director of Nilepet have given me more morale. They made me feel that what I am doing here in Juba City Council is supported by the citizens, ” he said.
Mr Lado’s rule had been subject to criticism by traders and the state’s chamber of commerce. Traders claimed their rights to be compensated for the property lost during demolitions and be allotted land.
The call from traders and other vulnerable people who were affected by demolitions was welcomed by the state Chamber of Commerce, which directed the Mayor to allot land to traders whose shops were demolished.
In an early interview with the City Review, Lado said clearly that traders were not entitled to compensation but would receive pieces of land when the council allocated land for the market when the time was ripe.
He maintained that he would make sure that Juba was clean and properly structured to meet the standards of world cities. He confided that he was doing the right thing to demolish houses and shops constructed on roads according to the bylaws.
Traders and other vulnerable citizens were left with nothing but to nurse their hurt feelings.
On Thursday, November 18, 2021, hours before he was relieved, the chairperson of the Central Equatoria state chamber of commerce, Robert Pitia Francis, accused the mayor of overcharging a staggering 380,000-700,000 SSP as fines to some traders.
Michael said that the bylaws only permitted 50,000 – 70,000 fines, but not exceeding that.
In September, the CES Chamber of Commerce and Juba City Chamber of Commerce jointly accused Juba City Council as a result of demolition claims being carried out on structures constructed on the land allotted for road construction.
They referred to the demolition as a “manmade disaster stemming from an unplanned operation.” The chamber said that the demolition had affected vulnerable business owners.
“First of all, those people are your people who have responsibilities. As a government, you need to consider [that] because one of the roles of the government is to protect its people. “
The chairperson of the Juba City Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Wani, said that more than 70 shops were demolished under the leadership of the mayor.
He cautioned that the demolitions could adversely affect traders and consumers as prices were likely to climb.
“These small businesses are the backbone of the country’s economy, so, they deserve every right and respect from the government and everyone in the country,” said Wani.
“The government is there to make people happy [and] not to create problems on problems. You cannot create problems on people without giving a solution, and you call yourself a “government.”
He called on the state and national governments to intervene to salvage the situation.
Since the demolition exercise was started by the Mayor and his team from Juba City Council, many shops and houses had been demolished without compensation or allotting of land to the owners.
Kalisto was sacked on Thursday evening by the government without citing the reasons for his decision.
He is a lawyer by profession from the University of Juba and formerly served as the Press Secretary in the office of the Vice President for Economic Cluster Dr. James Wani Igga.