More pertinent issues to criticize Chief Justice other than daughter’s appointment as Legal Assistant

BY: Juma Mabor, RSS, MAR/05/2013, SSN;

When I read Sudan Tribune online newspaper, one article that caught my attention was, “South Sudan chief justice denies nepotism in appointment of his daughter” which is attributed to the recent recruitment of 78 legal assistants to the Judiciary of South Sudan. The antagonists felt that it was immoral for the chief justice to appoint his own daughter alongside the other 77 legal assistants whilst a substantial number of graduates are still loitering the streets of Juba without jobs. Some also alluded to the facts that these are early indications of establishing monarchies and dynasties in the government institutions while the extremists put it plainly that, the recruitment processes were not even transparent and the public did not have an idea about these legal assistant vacancies advertisement.

For public relations gesture, one would to some minimal extent, agree with these uproars because the evidences are so overwhelming to be ignored and this is because it is either by default, qualifications, or outright intention that both the chief justice and his deputy has at least an immediate relative among the appointees as the CJ has his daughter, the one in controversy and his DCJ has his nephew alongside those appointed on 26th February 2013.

That for a fact is enough for emotions and conservatism but let us sober down and choose to be liberal in our judgments. With that, I offer to lead you in this discourse by stating that, I find nothing wrong with the chief justice, his deputy or even the entire Supreme Court bench appointing their next of kins to the judiciary and any other government institution at any capacity.

Why do I tolerate this opinion. Simple, as long as these next of kin have the required qualifications and necessary capacity to deliver the needed services to this nation, then they should continue to employ them. Let me give an elaboration and I hope some students among you will help me in that aspect; this appointment of next of kins is not a new phenomenon in the world, it happened in the United States some decades back when one American president nominated for appointment, his brother as Attorney General and this appointment had to be approved by the congress and so it goes.

The acrimony started that the president could not nominate his brother for that post because he was the president and thus doing so would amount to nepotism. The president accepted the criticisms and asked the congress for indulgence as he gives them only three fundamental reasons why he thinks his brother is fit to be the Attorney General of the United States of America and why he felt that he could be the right man for the job.

He (the president) says, “My brother, like anyone of you in this congress is an American citizen and that gives him every right to be nominated as the Attorney General (Citizenship). Secondly, my brother is one of the prominent lawyers in the United States of America and that also add to his being nominated as the Attorney General of the United States of America (Qualification) and finally and more importantly, he is my brother” (Relationship). At the end, the congress was convinced and accepted Kennedy’s brother as the Attorney General of the United States of America.

Hence the question, does Achok Chan Reec Madut and Arol Majak Arol meet these criteria as stated by the United States president? To me it is a yes because they are both south Sudanese citizens like some of us and those that are claiming to have not been employed before them. They are also by what I would call ‘biological accident’ next of kins to both the chief justice and the deputy chief justice.

As to whether they are qualified academically, I must have some reservations on that because I don’t know their academic backgrounds but I would also love to assume that they must be qualified because they could not be selected without the relevant qualifications for such technocratic positions.

One commentator went emotional by stating that he was ahead of the Chief justices’ children when they were in school and now he does not have a job and the chief justices’ are appointing there children to the judiciary. In my judgment, this evidence is inadmissible because it does not satisfy the threshold requirement for indicting anyone of nepotism.

One could finish his or her university studies a decade before but if they are not able to pass their interviews and get themselves into some jobs, then it cannot be blamed on some fresh students who finish their studies ten (10) year later and get the opportunities for employment.

If what this commentator said would be the trend, then the queue for employing people would remain relatively long and therefore some would die of old age before their turn for employment arrives I think there was no substance in that argument.

Another commentator was talking of swift promotion that will take place once Achok gets to the judiciary, at least this one is projecting the foreseeable scenario and this is where now our commentator should remain vigil in order to tip off the public in case the father (chief justice) tries to influence the rapid promotion of his daughter in this public institution.

However, this again cannot be used as a roadblock to Achok and Arol in their career developments because one’s career destiny is built towards progress and promotion. They still have the rights to be promoted within their ranks based on their performances and inputs to the system.

I do not know these two individual but I hope reading between the lines on the controversy brought by their appointment, they should now be able to strategize and confront the challenges up front.

Nevertheless, I want to advise the chief justice and his deputy plus their lieutenants in the judiciary that this institution is the backbone of the nation and if there are some alleged malpractices and irregularities associated with the recruitment of judicial personnel, then they had rather be ratified now before it is too late because these people you appoint are entrusted with crucial public affairs and should be persons of highest integrity and moral standing.

Finally, I want to urge my colleagues who are disenfranchised by these appointments to maintain their cool and hope for the best because the likes of Achok and Arol might have had the opportunity to have their jobs guaranteed soon after they finished their studies. That’s something that you haven’t had despite having spent quite a substantial amount of money and time trying to replace the soles in your shoes.

But believe me you…. you have an inalienable right to share with them in equally significant measure and that is, “being a citizen of this country called South Sudan.” They can deny you jobs but they cannot chase you away from this country. Therefore, brother and sister, patience pains but it pays ultimately. Keep our eyes on Achok and Arol!

Juma Mabor Marial is a Lawyer and can be reached at


  1. Elhag Paul says:

    I find Juma’s article very interesting. However, the analogy with the Kennedys is way off mark. President Kennedy nominated his brother Robert for the job of attorney general and it had to be vetted by the congress. Did Chan Reec’s daughter undergo appropriate vetting and by which employment panel? The questions I would like to ask are:
    Were these jobs advertised publicly throughout South Sudan to give all South Sudanese equal chances of competing for them? If not, why not and what does that say about the system? Were the appointees interviewed? Which panel interviewed them? How was the panel constituted? Who were the panel members? In short, is the whole process fair and reflective of equality and transparency for all citizens? There is something fishy with these appoints

    Being a South Sudanese with qualification is not an automatic vehicle for appointment. South Sudanese holding similar qualification must compete for positions and not just get appointed because their kith and kin are holding influential position in the government.

    • Kong Puok Tongluot _ Finland says:

      Hi, Juma Mabor and Elhag Paul
      I am very pleased when i did find your comments about Mr Chan Reec Madut’s appointments. I would like to remind you that Mr. Chan Reec Madut of Justice and Anna Itto of our Party SPLM, what the allegedly did during SPLM election of Secretary General and Chairperson in Upper Nile State branch office in 2008. Mr. Chan Reec and Anna Itto were allegedly forged the elections for John Khor Diew and Dok Jok Dok. What Mr Reec Madut has done isn’t a surprise. Mr Chan Reec Madut of Justice is known for injustice.

  2. David says:

    Hi Juma,
    Your eloquent exposition has missed two critical points: there is a difference between nomination and appointment. The President nominated his brother but the Congress confirmed the hiring. If there are any grounds to not hire President’s brother, the Congress would have done so. Second, Attorney Generals in the United States do not report to the president, even when the president nominated them. The Attorney General is the top law enforcement officer and has the power to hold the president to account if he breaks any law. So, the example you have provided only presents half of the fact, you needed to make your case.


  3. Tyson says:

    I am surprised that people are courageous to rubberstamp corruption and mismanagement in the government of South Sudan. At this 21st century, we should get out of this backward manner of appointing or employing our relatives simply because they are related to us by blood.
    The weaknesses that exist and creeping like malignant cancer in this new country is because the government machinery is rotten. There is no system of transparency, accountability, justice and equality. Without shame, the same officials recite the national anthem and practice injustice. These are all recipes of destruction and catalyst accelerating the process towards a failed state.
    The voices of change are much louder within and outside South Sudan. Therefore, those close to the Chief justice should advice him that the institution he holds is not a family property that he can redistribute to his children. Woe to the evil and corrupt monsters in the Republic of South Sudan. May God protect and bless the poor and vulnerable children of this staggering nation.

  4. Dowmenach says:

    Be it right or wrong, nepotism and favoritism have become the order of the day in our young nation. Although the author has been cautious enough to realize this, the chances that the Chief Justice had practiced nepotism in appointing his daughter are very great. Given the fact that no proper procedure put in place to guide the recruiter on their appointment process, blaming those who have noticed the malpractice is condoning the misconduct to continue.
    Those who have been speaking up so far are those who want our nation to go to the correct track. My advice to all the youths who are fighting against this injustice is to continue doing so without fear.

  5. Mr. Juma Mabor:
    According to what you said, is very true for me. Appointing two daughters in the same department is not good! Chief Justice could have appointed one. But post of legal assistant should have gone to a different person from different families in the tribes include his Dinka tribesmen in the land!

  6. I also almost agree with everything in Mabor’s article but if qualifications, citizenship and relationship become the only vehicles for recruitment without proper policies guiding the recruitment systems in South Sudan, then automatically most of us that have no relatives in the government will either decide to join David Yauyau or remain shouting for years without being given chances to exploit their talents.

  7. Michael Abu says:

    Mr. Mabor finds nothing wrong with the appointment of chief justice daughters to the legal position. However, if the most respected man like chief justice start putting his relatives to the judiciary position then who will show the example of justice and equality for all citizens of South Sudan?
    There might be nothing wrong in the minds of people who don’t understand the magnitude that nepotism plays and the destruction that it can bring. But one can’t compare oranges and apples although they are all fruits.
    Mr. Mabor, you cannot compare the nomination of Kennedy’s brother to attorney general position because there are procedures that are taken in American government before one takes the position. Therefore, there is no any justification from our chief justice to appoint his own daughter to legal position, if the chief justice does this, then where’s the heart of tranquility?

  8. Leon Nyerere says:

    Come on, Mr. Juma! How could you defend our chief justice for appointing his daughter for the position? I perceive this case as a judgment call test, and unfortunately, the chief justice failed it. Next time pick a case that you can win because obviously you have lost it to the South Sudanese people.

  9. I absolutely agree with the author but some procedural steps have not been taken well. Those institutions like judiciary need recruitment panel or board to scrutinize all academic credentials. But south Sudan has adopted tendency of nepotism. Chief justice didn’t commit crime for appointing his daughter as legal assistant if the daughter fulfills or meets qualification requirements. Corruptions in ss has become the order of the day as it’s being practiced in all aspects.

  10. kampala says:

    I agree with all the complaints, but the CJ would be less blamed because he is not directly involved in the recruiting, he might have influenced the appointments, then those officials responsible to carry that duty, if they did by the influence of CJ, then they are the ones promoting the evils in the country, because, if worst come to worst, the CJ can deny his involvement into the process. May God’s fear cover all officials of RSS and the ten States of RSS, so that God’s love and blessings come down on the new nation.

  11. Morthon Akol says:

    Dear brothers and sisters, in this case people are talking about the appointment of two legal Assistants is wrong because of their fathers. o.k but they are holding the degrees in Law, so do they have to wait until their fathers leave the positions and apply for a job? for example, I apply before when my uncle was a chief justice but i did pass the interview, so they did take me?

  12. Deng says:

    Shame on our would-have-been Chief Justice, I used ‘would have been our Chief Justice’ because he acted unprofessionally, unjustly. Has he been the true Chief Justice, morally, given our current state of affairs, and in order to keep his reputation as Chief Justice, he would have discouraged his daughter not to submit her application in the first place, let alone coming to drop her during recruitment process which should have happened any way. Any conscious God fearing person will suffer from guilt of doing something like this.
    He himself, his appointment is like that of former Warrap governor Tor Deng Mawien, Central Bank governor Mayiik, etc. I mean it is the same nepotism used by our president in appointing them which is continuing to reign unfortunately. There are so many young South Sudanese with legal qualifications and jobless – I know three of them but I can not name them – who deserve that role given to the Chief Justice’s daughter to add extra dollars to riches of Chan’s family. This is another way of telling those young qualified other South Sudanese not affiliated to the government by family relations to go to hell.
    Those coming from diaspora do come here only to end up in this category. Better educated and knowing no one in the government should decide to linger around or go back where they come from. Both better educated and or less educated but have an uncle, in-law, you name it… in the government get the job and quickly with no any bureaucratic process to face. Those who met Jews description like me and you will either go and live in Agenga, Ajuara, Langou, Ochamlum or any other Anyuak lands we will desperately find welcoming. When I say Jews description I mean diaspora which means the dispersion of Jewish people between 8th and 6th Centuries BC.

  13. BOM PET says:

    Please, leave that girl alone. she is a south Sudanese who has every right to be appointed in that position as long as her documents are relevant with the job. The father (chief justice) wanted his daughter to study law in order to follow his foot-steps. I think this is normal all over the world that a certain family can choose one carrier & followed by its future generations. This is one point.

    The other point, it is very rare to be appointed in any position in the Republic of S.Sudan without being backed by a relative or a friend or a family-member. Being a party committed member has become something secondary or less important than a relationship and friendship.
    Hence, in my view, the chief justice did not breach any law in appointing his one daughter among other 78 South Sudanese legal assistants to the judiciary. We are in the soup. May God bless us!

  14. James Lual Garang says:

    People should learn from the past, the mahadi’s family behaved exactly the same way things are being practiced in South Sudan. A person with his right senses can not and will never appoint his daughter if there is fear of God and law above…… Don’t think out of enjoying this country unlawfully, it is greater than you. Which school did the so called chief justice study law and claim to practice? What I know is Warrap college of law in Lonyaker!!!

  15. Puoch Riek Deng says:

    History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of bad people but the appalling silence of the good people( Martin Luther King). Congratulations my fellow countrymen and women for speaking out against injustice.

  16. i think there is nothing new in Juma’s article, what he wrote is just a normal scenario in our country, even within the same list of the 78 legal assistants i was able to trace the name of the daughter of the under-secretary of ministry of legal affairs and if you observed the list more critically you will almost find all the new appointees are daughters and sons of the big guys in this country.

    For those of us who have no backs or stomachs in the government, we are advised to listen to our local artist call Silva X (come tomorrow). their daughters and sons are kept there to govern us and in the near future to inherit us from their fathers and mothers, while those of us are kept there to defend this country from external enemy and to protect the interest of the ruling class.

    we die and suffer for them, so that they live on our backs. what a damned sh…t country are we in, was this the country that Dr Garang was telling us about? if at all a poor human being in south Sudan is going to be thrown into the hell, is just because he allowed himself to be ruled by a bunch of idiots.

  17. Roto Nice says:

    Dear friends, why putting too much blame on CJ, if his daughter applied and passed can she be denied opportunity that her father is the chief justice? BIG NO. she has rights as long as she met selection criteria, qualified, a South Sudanese and also gender issue these days is a problem. I believe the selection must have followed recruitment procedures by the panel, she’s fit to work in judiciary system, so let’s avoid negative attitudes towards others. she was not a medical doctor, she has studied law. so she must work because she was appointed with many others. there is nothing wrong with that, am not even related to any of them but facts must be told.

    • Leon Nyerere says:

      You missed the point. Her qualification is not the matter of contention as expressed by many South Sudanese. Second, the job was not advertised openly so that other qualified candidates could also apply and try their luck. She was simply nominated by her father, which raised the question of conflict of interest. From the article I read from Sudan Tribune, the girl’s close relatives tried to discourage her but she was adamant. The relatives knew the appointment was not morally justified that was why they asked her to decline the nomination. It was a poor judgement on the side of the chief justice.

    • Deng says:

      One of the principle criteria is being a daughter, son or a relative of someone in the government, is that what you mean by ‘she met the selection criteria?

  18. Issack Deng says:

    James Lual Garang,
    Mahdi family is a good one and you can see the government staffed by family members and turned into relative place for hiring and milking, this is beyond reasonable doubts nepotism and corruption. Talking of CJ daughter law degree and is qualified for this position but I also know more than 5 young people with law degrees from Australia and Uganda who went to top universities are still jobless because, they don’t have uncle or relatives in the government.
    Chan is an embarrassment and should be ashamed for denying this intelligent young people a chance, he has money to open a private law firm for his daughter or other relatives but because too much greediness these people want to see the children of poor remain very poor.

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