Name: Nhial Deng Nhial
Career: Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Minister of Regional Cooperation, 2006; GOSS Minister for Defence and SPLA Affairs, December 22, 2008 - 9 July 2011; Republic of South Sudan (ROSS) Caretaker Minister of Defense and SPLA Affairs 10 July 2011-26 August 2011; ROSS Foreign Minister, 26 August 2011 to date.
Political Affiliation: Member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Political Bureau.
Born: 1952, Greater Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan
Family: Son of William Deng Nhial
Languages: English and Arabic.
Nhial Deng Nhial, who belongs to the Dinka Bhar El-Gazal region, is the son of the famous late southern Sudanese leader William Deng Nhial, who was assassinated in 1968 by the Sudanese army. William Deng led the exiled Sudan African Nationalist Union (SANU), but returned to Sudan just before his death to take part in the 1968 elections. Aspiring to his father’s role of statesman, Nhial Deng completed an education in Khartoum and earned a degree in law in the early 1980s.
A member of the SPLM Leadership Council, Nhial served as the leader of the SPLM delegation in Naivasha peace talks, which led to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
2006 Resignation from GOSS
Nhial’s resignation from GoSS ministry of regional cooperation in May 2006, only a few months after his appointment, brought controversy and debate over the reason for his departure. Some reports said it was because his ministry was financially neglected and with there was rampant corruption inside the government, or because of the significant funds spent on the integration of the SPLA with the SSDF armed groups. However, neither Nhial nor any other official explained why he had quitted the nascent southern Sudan administration. Afterward, he left Sudan to settle in England for two years where he continued his studies of law.
As a result of continual attempts by his comrades in the SPLM, particularly Pagan Amum and others, he made his comeback to Juba in early 2008. He caused a surprise by declaring his candidacy for the chairmanship he SPLM against Salva Kiir as well as Riek Machar at the second convention of the party in May 2008. Since this bold move he was seen accompanying Kiir during his travels inside and outside Sudan.
SPLA Affairs Minister
Nhial was appointed to the position of SPLA Affairs Minister in December 2008 after the death of the former SPLA Affairs Minister, Dominic Dim Deng, who died in a plane crash on May 2, 2008. The Governor of Jonglei State, Kuol Manyang Juuk, said before Nhial’s appointment that he had also been approached by Salva Kiir to fill the important position.
His appointment was interpreted to have been appreciated by the southern Sudanese army (SPLA), which is dominated by generals who believe they are the holders of the legacy of the late John Garang, the founder of the SPLM.
The close relationship between Garang and Nhial once sparked rumours that Salva Kiir would possibly be evicted from his position as deputy chairman of the movement. But the matter was cleared up in a three-day meeting which took place in Rumbek from November 29 to December 1, 2004, one month before the signing of the CPA agreement that ended the north-south war.
South Sudan’s first Foreign Minister
Deng Alor served as the Republic of South Sudan’s interim Foreign Minister from the day after independence on 9 July 2011 until Kiir appointed Nhial as his first permanent Foreign Minister on 26 August 2011.
’Nhial Deng Nhial appointed southern Sudan Defense Minister’ Sudan Tribune, December 21, 2008, http://www.sudantribune.com/Nhial-Deng-Nhial-appointed,29650
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