BY: Both Nguot, SOUTH SUDAN, APR/18/2013, SSN;
South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, on Monday issued a decree withdrawing executive powers that were delegated to his vice-president Dr Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, according to a broadcast by the state-run South Sudan Television. The order did not cite or state any reason for the move and no official statement has been released. It also did not specify to the public which powers he delegated to the Vice President and had to be withdrawn or the difference between such powers he has with the powers stipulated in the constitution and that he wanted Machar to continue to exercise.
Kiir now restricted Machar to the powers “stipulated in the article 105” of the transitional constitution. When we read the constitution and compare the presidential degree of 105 issued on Tuesday by the president, we will find that president Kiir’s degree has no connection with the constitution because article 105 of Transitional constitution is talking about the appointment and the removable of vice president as we quote below.
Appointment and Removal of the Vice President:
105. (1) The Vice President shall be appointed by the President subject to approval by a two-thirds majority of all members of the National Legislative Assembly.
(2) The Vice President may be removed by the President or by a decision passed by two-thirds majority of all members of the National Legislative Assembly on a vote of no confidence.
(3) If the post of the Vice President falls vacant for any reason, the President shall appoint a replacement.
(4) The Vice President shall fulfill the conditions of eligibility for the office of the President as prescribed by this Constitution.
(5) To assume office, the Vice President shall take, before the President, the same oath taken by the President as prescribed by this Constitution.
When we look into the article 105 above of the Transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, we will find that the president has just removed the vice president as according to the constitution, maybe it was a mistake from SSTV staffs who made the confusion to the public because in article 105, it is the appointment and the removable of vice president by the president himself.
So we don’t see any executive powers under this article, the executive powers are only found under article 106 of the Transitional constitution of Republic of South Sudan as mentioned below:
Functions of the Vice President
106. The Vice President shall perform the following functions: 36
(a) act for the President in his or her absence from the country;
(b) be a member of the Council of Ministers;
(c) be a member of the Security Council; and
(d) perform any other function or duty that may be assigned to him or her by the President.
Now what are the executive powers that the president has removed from the vice president? Does he (Kiir) mean the functions of the vice president which are under article 106 of the Transitional Constitution as mentioned above or the president’s degree mean the article 105 of Transitional Constitution?
As we all read the constitution, the president would have removed the vice president so as to match his presidential degree 105 with his degree which stipulate the appointment and removable of the vice president. And if the president means the article 106 of the Transitional Constitution which stipulates the functions and the duties of the vice president, Why was it pronounced as article 105 which is the appointment and removable of the vice president?
South Sudan Minister of information, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, at press conference organised specifically to make clarifications on the order, called for calm and cautious remarks, saying constitutional powers of the vice president have not been removed.
“Riek Machar is still a vice president with all constitutional powers. General Salva Kiir Mayardit is a still a president with all his constitutional powers. They are all in office. What the president had done is that he had withdrawn powers he had previously delegated to the vice president. It is like you asking me to do some work for you when you are preoccupied. This is exactly what had happened and it should be understood in this context,” Marial said Tuesday.
Now what are these executive and constitutional powers that the information minister mean that the president had withdrawn from the vice president rather than the functions of the vice president under article 106 which give the vice president some powers to: act for the president in his/her absence, to be a member of council of ministers, be a member of securities council and to perform any others function or duties that may be assigned to him or her by the president?
What I know in this context is that, in section (d) under article 106 which allowed the vice president to perform any other functions or duties that may be assigned to him or her by the president. It is the only section (d) of 106 which relate to president Kiir’s degree.
But, the question is, is it this section (d) under article 106 that the president had withdrawn from the vice president or the whole function of the vice president? And if these are the executive powers that H.E the president meant but they are not under article 105, because under this article it’s only the appointment and removable of the vice president.
If that could be the case, does the president have a right to amend any article in the Transitional Constitutions without taking it to the parliament for debate? Or just because he has some political differences with his deputy that could allow him to do so?
And if it happened that some of the executives powers have been removed or he has removed the vice president because of political differences between them and later appointed a new vice president, will he (Kiir) later return those powers back to the new vice president or the new vice president will continue without executive powers?
Another question is, if those executive powers were given to vice president by the president himself as cooperation between him and his deputy in their office, does it need a presidential degree to withdrawn them?
The president was supposed to withdraw those powers as he had delegated to the vice deputy secretly without using presidential degree as he gave them last time to his deputy without degree since those powers are not in the Transitional constitution.
On the issue of Peace and Reconciliation process, Marial also denied that there were any political differences between the president and his deputy over the organization and conduct of a peace and reconciliation conference scheduled for June, having only recently been postponed from April.
If that could be the case, as Marial says, why the president allowed the process of Peace and Reconciliation to get started if he (Kiir) knew that he was not interested in reconciling the people of south Sudan?
I think Dr Marial doesn’t want to tell the fact or they just wants to confuse the public otherwise they are ignorant and I believe president Kiir up to now might not have given us full knowledge about his presidential degree.
Dr Marial has also added that Machar had been due to head the conference but was removed from this position by Kiir on Monday. Government sources have told Sudan Tribune that the postponement was due to political differences over the agenda and the timing of the process.
However Marial, the government’s official spokesperson did not give any reason for the decision as to why Kiir had abruptly suspended the process and Machar’s role in it.
“Adding that there is no difference that I know between the vice president and the president, the two leaders have been closely working together on all issues of national value,” Marial explained.
On the other hand, the speaker of South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly, James Wani Igga, in his speech on Tuesday that the president “did not touch” the constitutional powers assigned to the vice president and did not dismiss him. The head of state had only withdrawn powers he had previously delegated to his deputy to help perform other important tasks he could not attend, the senior SPLM official said.
“Adding that he read the decree and looked at the transitional constitution and found that the president did not touch any constitutional powers assigned to the vice president. He [Kiir] had only withdrawn powers he had in the past delegated to his deputy. So let our people understand that the vice president is a still a vice president with all his constitutional powers”, Igga told reporters.
Igga called for South Sudanese to be calm and read the decree to fully understand the meaning of the announcement.
So I might agree with the speaker on the issue of the constitution as he says the president had not touch the constitutional powers assigned to vice president by the constitution, adding that he only had withdrawn powers he had previously delegated to his deputy.
But why the president refers us to article 105 which is only the appointment and removable of vice president?
In fact, the presidential decree issued on Monday was meaningless and out of vacuum since there is no clear information about the degree.
The fact is about the on-going political bickering and leadership shadow boxing within the political bureau and the SPLM party for the upcoming SPLM National convention as well as 2015 presidential candidate for presidency.
In conclusion, Kiir’s tribe-mate advisers will lead him to hell, why? Because president Kiir has only put his tribe mates as his advisors around him, so they took the national issues as their properties and that is why they make things according to their will.
I wish to offer my free legal advice to the president and his advisors that, next time when you want to embarrass someone, do it in your offices without giving the public an uneasy time, because, believe me you, I couldn’t sleep that night when this news was read out and I think most of you did not.
The president and his advisors had created an unnecessary political tension and this is something they should have handled quietly and neatly.
From now on, you must know that ‘delegated powers’ are freely and willingly given by any particular boss and they are or can be withdrawn at will, so there was no need to inform us about it.
However, the point of giving the strong message to Dr. Riek being the underlying factor is recognized but again, use other mechanisms next time, Mr. President!!!!