August 21, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit, who also chairs the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party, held a rare consultative meeting with senior members of the party to try to resolve the current internal political crisis in the country.
- South Sudan president Salva Kiir pictured at the UNMISS headquarters in Malakal for a briefing on 5 December 2006 (Photo: File UNMIS)
On 23 July, Kiir dissolved the entire cabinet, sacking his long-time deputy, Riek Machar Teny, in a move that surprised many.
He formed a new cabinet two weeks later but could not appoint a new deputy due to various circumstances surrounding the selection process.
The vetting of some of the new ministers also became problematic when the parliament rejected Kiir’s selection for justice minister, Telar Ring Deng.
There are fears the parliament could again go against the president’s wishes, potentially deepening the current political crisis.
A senior member in the SPLM politburo revealed on Wednesday that there have been ongoing discussions between Kiir and senior members of the party on how to avert further a political crisis through reconciliation between senior leaders.
He revealed that six senior party leaders attended a consultative meeting with Kiir last Thursday, where discussions centred on the need to “find a way of averting further crisis and see away for reconciliation”.
He said the president had also discussed the six-point challenges which were enumerated by the former vice-president, causing friction between the two leaders.
While in government, Machar identified rampant corruption, growing tribalism, deteriorating insecurity, stagnant economy, poor international relations and loss of vision and direction by the ruling SPLM party as being the most significant challenges facing the young nation.
The meeting also revisited issues seen to be in violation of the constitution, including the dismissal of the elected governors of Lakes and Unity states by presidential decree.
The official disclosed that some senior leaders had expressed dissatisfaction with the new cabinet during the meeting, saying it was viewed to be non-SPLM as most leaders of the party were not consulted in the process of selections.
He further added that further efforts were ongoing within the party’s leadership in a bid to reconcile the divergent views and avoid further political crisis in the country.
NEW VP APPOINTMENT ON THE AGENDA
Meanwhile, the Equatoria parliamentary caucus has met in Juba to discuss the possible appointment of the current speaker of parliament, James Wani Igga, as the new vice-president.
An anonymous official in the caucus told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that the main agenda discussed on Tuesday was the possibility of mobilising support in parliament to endorse Igga as the new vice-president in the event that he is appointed by the president.
He further said that members of the caucus were concerned that Igga may not secure the two-third majority vote needed to confirm his appointment in case of a stalemate in parliament.
He said the meeting also touched on who should become the next speaker of parliament and the role the ruling party should play in selecting the next speaker.
He revealed that the three governors of the Greater Equatoria states had held a separate meeting in which they also discussed similar concerns.