By: Deng Riek Khoryoam, South Sudan
August 27, 2011 (SSNA) — The first president of the republic of South Sudan, H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit has set a right precedent for the newly born nation, the republic of South Sudan. It has been almost two months of intense lobbying for our politicians seeking ministerial portfolios in the new cabinet but that is over now, with the announcement of the new cabinet. Some of the jobs seekers spent sleepless nights between their houses and those of their colleagues and the appointing authority; it was also reported by the media that it reached a point where others had resorted to visiting witchcrafts to get fortunes. The announcement on Friday 26th August came as relieve for the politicians as well as for the citizens, who were equally eager to know who would make it back to the cabinet and under which ministry/role. Many would say it was long overdue as it was long expected to be announced by H.E. the president!
This time round, no one amongst the bigwigs knew when the new cabinet would be announced and how it would turn out to be. Both the citizens and the politicians looking for political appointments were kept in the dark as when or how it would be announced was a matter of speculation and guesswork! Common citizens thought the day when people might expect the new cabinet to be announced would always be Sunday of every week since Mr. President always issues most of his presidential decrees on a Sunday. No one knew it would surprise people on a Friday like yesterday. Thank you my president for locking all of us outside the white house (without any exception) where secrets of your new government were stored!!
But why am I saying that President Kiir has just formed the best cabinet ever formed in the history of South Sudan? Variety of reasons and I’ll tell you why. First of all, the new cabinet truly reflects our rich diversity in the republic of South Sudan where almost everyone sees himself or herself in the mirror. Second of all, there is now fair distribution of power among Southern communities, which is a good thing that never happened during the CPA era. All the most powerful national positions have been allocated fairly well and this is a basic fact. Defence ministry given to Gen. John Kong Nyuon as a minister (he deserved it), Justice Ministry to John Luke, Information and broadcasting to Hon. Marial Benjamin and others. The ministry of finance and that of the interior have been given to Greater Equatoria, along with other positions. The foreign affairs, petroleum and mining and the ministry of labour and public service along with other positions have been given to Dinka. The national security and higher education ministries have been given to Shilluks in Upper Nile State.
In fact, I tend to think that interior should have been given to Dinka Bahr el Ghazal or any Dinka or to the Nuer of Unity state, who have no one representing them in the national government. Giving two powerful positions (finance and interior) to Equatorians looks like the president has succumbed to the petition by Equatorians at the “all Equatorians conference”” conducted in April this year, where they demanded two powerful positions. But since this has happened this way, all seems good – no bad! We hope they will be productive and prove to be hardworking chaps. All we want is to see that people who are appointed to some of these republican positions strive to deliver to the expectations of the citizenry. The rest is history.
Another thing I noted with concern is that some of the smallest tribes in Southern Sudan, like the Murlee are not well represented, and therefore, should have been given a national position. But that is not a big problem; it would be considered a minor problem, just like the Nuer of Unity state are not represented in the national government. The president has got it right this time round, with this new cabinet and he deserves a credit for this. He is a man of his words this time. No one will complain again that all the powerful positions have been occupied by the people of Bahr el Ghazal as it has been over the last six years.
Anyone who complains that everything is dominated by the Dinkas is a dipstick. Even if the Nuers have only four (4) federal ministries, it’s fair given the fact that defence, justice and information are now held by Nuer. The Nuers should not have that tendency of wanting to take everything at the expense of other tribes – they are known for upholding values such as justice and fairness for all. For those who have not made it back to the new cabinet: I say to you that the government has not abandoned or left you redundant; the government has so many rooms. It will accommodate you and put you in your rightful positions.
The writer lives in South Sudan and he could be reached for comments at firstname.lastname@example.org