By Joe Odaby
Juba — 11 August 2013 (SSN) – The newly appointed ministers and their deputies of South Sudan were sworn in before the President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Chief Justice Chan Reec Madut after the parliament passed their nominations.
The approval of the nominations of Telar Ring Deng as the Minister for Justice and Josephine Napwon Cosmos as the Deputy Minister for Youth, Culture and Sports was however left pending as the concerned parliamentary committee sought more time to clarify some issues about them.
Integrity and the degree of competence were some of the criteria used by the lawmakers to vet the nominated ministers.
“The new cabinet has just taken oath of office before the President. We have had congratulations from the President who has also directed the minister for Cabinet Affairs to draw up an action plan and get to get the new cabinet to commence work immediately”, said Michael Makuei Lueth, the new minister for Information and Broadcasting.
On July 23, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a presidential decree removing Vice-President Riek Machar Teny and dissolving the whole government of South Sudan.
Kiir dismissed all 29 ministers and deputy ministers. Kiir did not appoint a new vice-president or national ministers and deputy ministers.
The decree directed the under-secretaries of the various ministries to run South Sudan’s ministries until further notice. The decree also stipulated the new government will have only 18 national ministers and deputy ministers in order to streamline government work. A senior official at the presidency predicted that government ministers will be replaced in a “very short time, as soon as possible.”
Officially, Kiir’s presidential decree does not explain the reason for the major shake-up. Senior government officials, including some fired by the decree, called the undertaking a “reshuffle” that had long been expected given the mounting problems in government work. Nhial Bol, the editor of the independent Citizen TV, concurred. He believes that the president must have acted in order to end government paralysis. “Things have not been moving in the government because of this internal fighting over who is going to control the SPLM,” Nhial Bol said.
Fashoda Institute, the leading, Juba-based think-tank, asserts that “in embarking on the profound reshuffle of government, President Kiir put the national interest ahead of internal politics and the early posturing for the 2015 presidential elections”.
South Sudan is facing numerous emergencies and challenges as a result of the attempt at economic stifling by Sudan. The economic development of South Sudan has been arrested by the Sudanese blocking of oil exports – thus depriving South Sudan of its primary source of revenues.
The Fashoda Institute states that Sudan has been sponsoring – primarily through the supply of weapons, ammunition and funds – the sustenance and escalation of insurgencies and tribal violence throughout South Sudan to the detriment of internal development. Allegations of endemic corruption throughout the entire government – which already led Kiir to undertake drastic measures such as suspending two senior ministers – considerably restricted the availability of foreign aid.
“The ability of the Kiir Government to tackle these daunting challenges has been needlessly complicated by their cynical exploitation by Vice-President Machar”, reports the Fashoda Institute.
“President Kiir will have a new and invigorated government that will be able to finally tackle the key challenges facing South Sudan: building alternate oil export venues – both short-term and long-term regional infrastructure; enhancing security and suppressing violence both internally and along the borders with Sudan and the Central African Republic; and launching overdue major social and economic development to put the country on a long-term ascent track. Juba will thus demonstrate activism – that is, initiate and launch major programs rather than be beholden to foreign aid.
The Fashoda political analysts write that “President Kiir is correct in arguing that it was impossible to initiate anything beforehand because of the endemic lack of funds and government crises. Soon, with a new government in office and limited income from the short-term export push coming in – President Kiir’s Juba will be moving fast and resolutely to alleviate crises the moment this becomes possible”.