March 29, 2017 (JUBA) - The South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has appointed Atem Garang Kuek as the new government chief whip in Parliament, replacing Tulio Ayaho.
- South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (AFP)
Atem, a lawmaker from Twic East county in Jonglei state, previously served as government chief whip at the time South Sudan attained independence from neighbouring Sudan in 2011, prior to his removal by the president.
South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM) gave the president, also its chairperson, all powers, including choosing key positions in parliament as well as dismissing elected officials.
In the decrees that appointed Atem and relieved Tulio, not reasons were given for the changes, but the decision came days after SPLM held a closed door meeting in Juba.
The meeting, chaired by President Kiir at the SPLM House, was attended by all ruling party lawmakers, state governors and top officials from the national secretariat. It was converged in the aftermath of tension in parliament following changes in the leadership of specialized committees.
The appointment of Atem is viewed as one way of compensating Jonglei state after all its lawmakers chairing committees were reportedly removed.
Tulio, the ex-government chief whip, hails from Eastern Equatoria state.