September 17, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit on Tuesday issued a decree reinstating Telar Riing Deng to an advisory post on legal affairs, reversing previous appointment as minister justice designate.
- Telar Deng (L) congratulating the new vice-president James Wani after his appointment on August 27, 2013 (Photo Moses Lomayat)
Deng was among the new cabinet members appointed in August following the dissolution of the entire cabinet and the removal of Riek Machar Teny from the position he held for eight years as a vice-president.
Critics say that the ministerial shake-up was the work of Deng, underlining that the majority of removed ministers had claimed his relieve from his influential post as state minister at the Sudanese presidency and his expulsion from the SPLM in 2007.
Deng was the only nominee for a ministerial post who did not pass the vetting process of the parliament. The house cited "integrity" as one of the reasons for which the rejection was made.
Deng’s reinstatement received mixed reaction with some of his critics describing it as "unwise decision" the president has ever made.
"I am not surprised of the reinstatement of Telar Riing Takpiny Deng. It is something which we have been expecting because he is an ally of the president with influential network of friends who are the cabinet. I have been hearing around that some of his colleagues and those he helped to be appointed by the president were still lobbying the president to return him to this same advisory position, Garang Deng, a native of Northern Bahr el Ghazal told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.
Deng cited a case in which a deputy speaker of his home state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State legislative Assembly was quoted in a local media describing those members of parliament who participated in the vetting and approval that rejected Deng as "crooks and betrayers", as an evidence of support from some of his network.
"Do you know that Athiang Manok relates to the president? He is a relative to the president. His mother (deputy speaker of Northern Bahr el Ghazal) and that of the mother of the president are sisters", he added.
Mawien Dut Kuol another native of Northern Bahr el Ghazal welcomed reinstatement of the former president advisor to his position, saying the decision by the president has come at a "critical time in history".
"Whoever uses public office to settle personal grudges for political gains or part of attempts to silence critics will always fail to achieve anything. Those who were celebrating rejection of comrade Telar have now heard it and it is up to them to do what they like when their time come", he said.
A presidential source told Sudan Tribune in a separate interview that the majority of the employees felt the vacuum created by the absence of Telar.
"I am calling on all parties to allow the interests of our people to be above individuals. Other people might say the horse has already bolted, but I refuse to believe that it has. We need each other more than ever before, and I tell you I was one of the people who felt the vacuum created by the absence of comrade Telar in the presidency", he said on Tuesday.
He, however, added that he respected the decision of the house, even if he didn’t necessarily agree with it.
"With the benefit of retrospection, the rejection of comrade Telar, however disproportionate it may have been, was unfortunate development, but it was a decision that I still respect. The dictates of current balance of forces perhaps, quite paradoxically, leave space for cooperation", he pointed out.
But critics decried reinstatement describing as one the unwise the president has ever made in the country in regard to advocating transparency.
"The reinstatement of Telar as presidential advisor undermines credibility of the presidency and the work of the assembly which is the symbol of our country. A person rejected by the house means that he has been rejected by the whole country because those are the representatives of the people", said an observer who declined to be named.