Ad hoc technocracy in South Sudan after Kiir’s latest decrees

BY: Martin Garang Aher, AUSTRALIA, JUL/25/2013, SSN;

Finally the push has come to a shove in Juba. In a move that dazed many South Sudanese as well as international observers of political developments in South Sudan, President Salva Kiir Mayardit had on 23rd July 2013 bravely dissolved his government. It was highly anticipated but vulgarly engendered by poor government performance and the struggle for power within the ruling party, the SPLM.

The multiple presidential decrees relieved the vice president, 29 ministers, 29 deputy ministers and 17 brigadier generals in the police force. Another promised an overhaul of the government ministries while the SPLM Party Order, suspended the secretary general of the SPLM. The SG, in another capacity, functioned as the chief negotiator in the post independence arrangements with the Sudan.

As could be construed in these shake ups, all efforts seemed to have been designed to prioritize efficiency of the government. However, punishing dissent and rewarding supporters often goes along with situations of this nature. It will be clear in the formation of the next government if all intentions were for the good of the nation or actions that are in circumspect disciplinary among the SPLM’s heavy weights.

The dissolution has already been believed by many as targeting the removal of the vice president, Riek Machar Teny, who had on numerous occasions criticized the government while voicing his wish to lead the party into the next elections.

The president’s application of his constitutional prerogative was the second since he took power as the new country’s first bearer of the highest office after independence. He had reshuffled the same government in 2010, but with least panic from the streets. Many more were expected but did not materialize.

As some residents in Juba confirmed, the situation had since changed. The city remained tensed; making the likelihood for a bang of any kind to disrupt the day. On the other hand, citizens who have been calling out for the government to do more are now shy of praise even though their wishes are being slowly fulfilled.

The need for effective service delivery had been overshadowed by fear of violent reprisal from demoted government officials who might be left out of the incoming government; especially from the outgoing vice president and his supporters.

However, I am of the belief that Riek Machar had done his calculations correctly and the presumptions many might have for him have something to do with his past, not his present.

Cognizant of the oil shutdown and the war with the Sudan in Panthou, South Sudanese see this second reshuffle as exceedingly bizarre but on equal terms with previous actions in which proper plans were reserved to be attempted after ward.

The plan is now for the president to sit down with his advisers and do the mammoth task of selecting the cabinet while the government in Juba remains literally in the hands of technocrats in the respective ministries.

It was simple to set the pace of restructuring, but the enormity of the task at hand might likely require weeks to complete. That would leave a vacuum for possible unruliness. The president must act fast and in the approved manner in his government formation.

Can the president be encouraged to be a little harder? If president Kiir is to be believed and trusted, he has to do a bit more.

Whether internal party wrangling for leadership might have caused the dissolution, South Sudanese and the world are wishing to see that the 75 officials whom he sent letters to return the stolen $4 billion must not show faces in his next government.

Of course if the wells of the decrees have not run dry, expectations are that few remaining decrees must be channelled toward the formation of investigation committees to probe the whereabouts of $4 billion for the benefit of the impoverished citizens.

Martin Garang is a South Sudanese living in Australia. He can be reached at


  1. Joseph Milla says:

    Dear Martin,

    I second your suggestion that the president needs to move fast but in a democratic manner in forming the government to avoid political vacuum in the country. Political decisions regarding the welfare of the country has come to stand still and this should not be allowed to be longer.
    Secondly, the president should fixed his eyes on technocrats who are willing to serve this country but not those political goons who made the public suffer for so long. We would also be happy to see the 75 most corrupted officials being investigated, face the law and those implicated pay for their actions.

  2. BigO says:

    Were Riak and Amum’s actions really dissent? They profitted massively off of defrauding the State. For eight long years, they co-created and privileged State structures that were intentionally not equitable, just or transparent. They cared less about the impact of these structures on civilians. They both presided over numerous councils and committees from which they ate royally (just ask the mistresses). When their own privileges were threatened, only then did they squawk.

    Is this really dissent?

    Or simply dissatisfaction over the cool, calm arm of Justice?

    Oh, sweet justice! Never know how it’s going to come, what shape it will take but it will come!

  3. Bari Boy says:

    This man is totally confused after drinking too much wine, he is getting advice from illiterates called Paul Malong Awan, Tor Deng Mawien, Telar Ring, the most corrupt officials in South Sudan. These idiots are joking with brilliant leader Pagan Amum. These thieves are looking after MONEY alone.

  4. Alphonse Kenyi says:

    Brother Joseph Milla, if Mr. Kiir had good intention to quell the SPLM self inflicted corruption, he could have started with declaring the 75 corrupt names to the public rather than going after the chickens.

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