South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has dismissed his entire government, including Vice President Riek Machar, in a decree issued late Tuesday. Kiir also removed all deputy ministers.
Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan’s Minister of Information and government spokesman before the restructuring announcement said a government makeover was overdue and that Kiir acted within the constitution.
He rejected any suggestion that the reshuffle, as he called it, might cause instability in the world’s youngest country.
But, Marial said it islikely the restructuring will generate a heated debate within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
“As you know, the last reshuffle he (Kiir) did was 2010 after the election. So, this is a major reshuffle nearly after three years,” he said.
He said Kiir acted in accordance with the constitution.
“He has acted within the constitution of the Republic of South Sudan. Those are his constitutional powers and that’s why he has appointed the secretary general of the government and the undersecretary to take care of administering the government until that time when he will be able to form his new government,” Benjamin said.
Among those dismissed was Pagan Amum, secretary-general of the SPLM and South Sudan’s chief negotiator in talks with Sudan.
Marial said Kiir has also set up a committee to investigate Amum.
“He has equally suspended the secretary-general of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, that is the ruling party, and has formed a committee chaired by the speaker of the national assembly to investigate the secretary-general with regards to issues related to the party,” Marial said.
He said the new government will likely include some old faces, but also new faces.
Marial said the restructuring did not come as a surprise to many South Sudanese.
“There has been general talk in the newspapers that the reshuffle was going to happen, but what shape it would take was anybody’s guess,” Marial said.
There have been reports of a power struggle in the ruling SPLM. Marial said the restructuring is unlikely to cause instability for the world’s youngest country.
“People can say that, but we have chosen to be a democratic country, where you have the constitution through which people have authority. So, I don’t see any instability to come out of this. I’m sure the people will understand it and then we will see what the way forward is. Of course, it will be a topic of hot debate within the framework of the party,” he said.