August 14, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan president, Salva Kiir has willingly accepted the decision by majority of the country’s lawmakers to oppose his choice of Telar Ring Deng’s as the next justice minister.
- President Salva Kiir delivers a speech before South Sudan National Legislative Assembly in Juba (Photo: Larco Lomoyat)
Kiir’s made the remarks on Wednesday, a day after 150 MPs secretly voted against Telar during a close-door session held in the national assembly.
The speaker of the assembly James Wani Igga reportedly briefed the head of state on the outcome of the vote, in which 97 lawmakers voted in favour of the new justice minister-designate, while 11 abstained.
The vote brought to an end weeks of controversy and speculation surrounding Telar’s bid to hold what is regarded as one of the country’s key ministries.
Kiir, a presidential aide told Sudan Tribune, reportedly said parliament was “part of the government” and that he “accepts and respects” its decision.
“It is okay. There is no problem with that. The assembly itself is the part of the government,” the president reportedly told Igga.
TELAR SPEAKS OUT
Telar, in a statement Sudan Tribune obtained, thanked president Kiir for offering him a ministerial appointment, saying he abides by parliament’s final verdict.
He also lauded the vetting committee, particularly its chairperson, Abuk Papiti and the assembly members in general for their role in the conducting their constitutional mandate.
“It must be said they [MPs] carried out their work in the most difficult circumstances. In the short history of the parliament, it was the first time that a confirmation of a cabinet minister was carried out by secret ballot,” Telar’s 14 August letter reads in part.
The rejected justice minister also expressed gratitude to all lawmakers, saying even who did not support his confirmation took “their constitutional mandate very seriously”.
I will continue to serve him [the president] and the government of this Republic [of South Sudan] in any capacity he deems fit as a loyal member of the party [SPLM], he stressed.
US ENVOY REACTS
Meanwhile, Susan Page, the US ambassador to the young nation commended MPs and president Kiir for adhering to the democratic process of approving all ministers and deputies as required by law.
“The members of the National Legislative Assembly are to be congratulated for the establishment of a committee to review the qualifications of nominated cabinet ministers and deputies and for exercising its oversight role of the Executive Branch,” she said.
The US envoy, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, said the faithfulness to the Transitional Constitution that requires approval of the new appointees by the assembly “demonstrates that the members of Parliament are committed to a democratic path and strengthening the country’s nascent democratic institutions.”
“This deliberative, reflective process demonstrates adherence to the checks and balances system established in the Transitional Constitution and is an important positive indication of the growth of South Sudan’s democracy”, the statement noted.
Page urged the president and lawmakers to remain committed to the democratic ideals, regional and ethnic diversity as well as representation of women as provided for in the constitution.