The Constitution and Presidential Appointments in South Sudan

By Dr. James Okuk, PhD

September 19, 2013 (SSNA) — The mixed opinions need to be sifted so that the truth could get appreciated from the falsity. The South Sudan Transitional constitution (2011) says that the appointed Ministers by the President of the Republic shall be approved by a resolution adopted with a simple majority vote of all members of the National Legislative Assembly {See Article 122(2)}. The constitution did not say that the vote shall be on a singled-out Minister among the presented Ministers. That is, there is no approval for a Minister but Ministers collectively. Thus, either the whole list of the appointed Ministers is rejected or passed all together without exception. There is nothing called vetting an individual Minister separately. Even Article {57(h)} talks of vetting and approving "appointments" and not "appointment".  That is why the case of selective rejection of Mr. Telar Riing could be termed as unconstitutional move by Rt. Hon. Wani Igga and his August House Team.

But the relevant question here is: What is the meaning and purpose of powers of vetting and approving the Presidential appointments by the NLA? It is nothing else but giving legitimacy to the appointments. Then where does the issues of qualifications, credentials and integrity come from when they are required by the constitution in case of eligibility to the President and the Vice President Offices as well as National Legislature Membership only? {See Articles, 62, 98}.Surely, these came from nowhere but anger and conspiracy based on ill-intentions against Mr. Telar. Hence, President Kiir should have considered Mr. Telar as approved by the NLA together with the rest of Ministers and sworn him into the office as Minister of Justice together with the rest of the approved Ministers. As a politician, President Kiir has to know who are his political friends who should be closer to his throne. Machiavellianism is not separable from state politics, and those who think that Kiir is mistaken to re-appoint Mr. Telar as his Legal Advisor are unrealistic Platonists.

Another relevant question should be: Why do we write a constitution and then do strange things outside the constitutional dictates? Why we don’t put in the constitution what we would like to do constitutionally? The SPLM members should be in the better position to answer these questions since their VIPs were the ones quarreling over the implementation of their own inappropriate imposed constitution. 

I hope the mess-ups in the implementations and violations of the current transitional constitutions are doing a great deal of pragmatic civic education on all of us so that we learn to come up with a good constitution in future. Learning by hard ways is sometimes very good as it is said that where there is no pain there should be no gain. A lot of good ideals that are missing in the current constitution should find their right way into the next Constitution and many bad ideas that are incorporated into it should face a delete button without regrets. 

Referendum and not clapping in the NLA Hall should be the way to go for legitimizing the constitution that the people of South Sudan want for their posterity. South Sudan should start looking for a Parliament that is well equipped with the Will of its dignified the people. It is by this that what is known as the rule of law (whether it is unjust law) would start to see better light in the new Republic.

Congratulations to Mr. Telar Riing for getting back into the political boxing ring with a head high for a strong knock out on "False Friends" who are now "True Enemies" of President Kiir’s right to reign.

Dr. James Okuk is reachable at [email protected]

Previous Post
The Absurdity of Peace-building in South Sudan (II)
Next Post
Vice President Gen. James Wani Igga’s folly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.