Deputy governor sues family for rejecting early child marriage

The Lakes State Deputy Governor takes the family of a 17-year-old girl to court after allegedly engaging her in a forced marriage arrangement, sparking a legal battle over her right to prioritise education over matrimony.


Lakes State Deputy Governor, Akol Mathiang, has allegedly sued the parents of a 17-year-old girl, Jennifer Bill Maker [also known as Nyanwat Maker], who rejected his marriage arrangement.

Sources have confirmed that the Deputy Governor was engaged to Nyanwat without her consent, going as far as paying a dowry to her family.

Related Stories

However, Nyanwat’s mother and maternal uncle rejected the marriage proposal, asserting that Nyanwat should prioritise her studies since she is still a teenager.


Nyanwat Maker explained her situation in a voice recording that Talk of Juba obtained. She revealed that she is currently in Nairobi under the sponsorship of the school administration, which has supported her education and shielded her from the alleged forced marriage.

I’m not interested in marriage; I’m an orphan. My priority is education. I want to study so that I can support myself,” Nyanwat stated in the recording, firmly expressing her stance against forced marriage.

According to sources, the family of Akol Mathiang entered into marriage arrangements with the family of Jennifer Bill in June 2022. Akol is said to have paid the dowry to Jennifer’s family, but her mother and maternal uncle rejected the arrangements, citing Jennifer’s recent high school graduation as a reason for her to continue her education.

On the other hand, Jennifer’s paternal uncles have reached an agreement with Hon. Akol’s family, intending to give Nyanwat to Akol against her will.

The Lakes State Ministry of Information has released a statement on the matter, clarifying that the case has been handed over to the county judge and that there is no interference from the state government, including the Deputy Governor.

Support our journalism

South Sudan needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. Talk of Juba – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in South Sudan or overseas, you can make a donation here.

This conversation is moderated according to Talk of Juba community rules. Please adhere to our guidelines . Be civil, kind and respectful when commenting to avoid being banned. Read the rules before joining the discussion. If you’re experiencing any technical problems, please contact us.

Former University of Juba Vice Chancellor Professor John Akec

NoneJohn Akec to remain at University of Juba, assumes new role

In a social media post, Prof. Akec revealed that the new university vice chancellor has...

NoneFifteen children die of heat-related diseases