February 17, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudan on Sunday defended its decision to remove 118 senior military officers from active military service and place them on reserve, a move seen as an attempt to transform the security sector, according to the minister of information.
- A SPLA officer keeps an eye on crowds gathered for Southern Sudan President and elections candidate Salva Kiir’s last election rally in Juba, Friday April 9, 2010. (AP)
The order, which drew mixed reactions from the general public, includes senior officials serving in the civil administration.
The presidential decree issued on Thursday saw the names of the governor of Unity state, Taban Deng Gai, governor of Eastern Equatoria state Louis Lobong Lojore, governor of Western Bahr el Ghazal state Rizik Hassan Zachariah and the governor of Upper Nile state, Simon Kun Puoc removed from the active military files.
The move followed the removal in January of some 35 top-level military officers, seen as the biggest shake-up to army leadership since South Sudan’s independence in July 2011. President Salva Kiir issued the order and has since appointed replacements for the officers who were previously serving, most of whom were rebel commanders during the war with the north.
Senior officials attribute the changes to government policy aimed at transforming the security sector and other institutions in order to provide services effectively and efficiently.
Insiders say the move is the first of a series of broader reforms. Once the army has been overhauled, it is expected that the government will move on to the security forces, police, public services and eventually the cabinet.
South Sudan’s minister information and broadcasting service, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said the president was acting within the law and according to public demands to transform the national army away from perceptions of it as a guerrilla movement to a professional body.
“The president was not acting outside the law. He was exercising the powers conferred upon him by the transitional constitution. The changes were meant to basically promote growth in the system. It means giving responsibilities of managing the affairs of this country to the fresh group, people with new ideas which needs to be tried since we are living in the fast moving and developing world”, Marial said.
He said there were still many other opportunities in the country in different areas in which the removed army generals could participate in to help the new nation to grow.
“There are a lot of opportunities which these general will exploit. Some of these generals have administrative background, they have security background, they have business background and they have agriculture background. It will be an opportunity to utilise their knowledge in establishing and managing private security firms in accordance with the parameters of the law.
"Doing so will bring a positive change in the economy of this country. In fact everybody would be happy to hear that all these retired generals have started producing millions of metric tonnes of food in the next harvesting season which they could not have done while in the active service”, Marial told reporters on Sunday.
However, members of the general public remain skeptical about plans to reassign some of the officers who were removed due to perceptions associated with their performance and competence while serving in the army at different levels.
Meanwhile, Marial has dismissed claims of an alleged coup plot purportedly fermented by some of the generals as one of the reasons behind the president’s decision to embark on security reforms.
“The president still trusts them [the generals]. He has hope in them and they should show good examples in accepting the changes. I know the president may be planning to [re-]assign some of them. Others have actually been assigned. Those who have requested to go for studies will be facilitated so that they can go and get the knowledge they might need to help them while trying to settle and fit into the society”, he explained.
Marial also said that removed officers should feel proud that they had witnessed the birth of the new nation and the achievement of the objectives for which they fought so hard for during the country’s protracted civil war with the north, adding that he encouraged them to support good governance and accept the changes with good grace.
LONG AWAITED DEMAND
Tut Chuol Lam, a native of Languchuk in Upper Nile state currently visiting Juba, described the president’s decision to introduce changes in the military as in line with public opinion on the matter.
“The decision of the president is in the right one. It is one of the long awaited demands of the public. There are those who are not fit to serve in the army but they have been there just for the sake of money. There are a lot of opportunities but which cannot be identified when we focus on why so and so were removed from the army. The new officers should not sleep. Time is up for them to do a lot. They need to make a difference. [They should] start from where their predecessors have left and prepare the ground for those who will [come] after them, as it was for those they have replaced”, Lam told Sudan Tribune on Saturday.
He said he was aware of the different views generated by the changes, but added the majority supported the president’s decision as being good for the country.
In discussions with those opposed to the move, Lam said most of those complaining about the changes were “either affected themselves directly or some of their close family members or relatives”.
He said the decision had caught some by surprise and there was now speculation over what will happen to the officers if they are not immediately re-assigned elsewhere.
"From my analysis, it likes some were taken by the surprise and have started speculating about what will happen if these groups are not assigned immediately. Some individuals have expressed views indicating that the changes were made due to the exhibited lack of discipline, lack of competence like physical strength to remain in the active military services, corruption and other malpractices during their period of service”, he explained.
Bol Wek, a native of Warrap State in Juba said the president was acting in response to public demands to improve the general security situation and reduce the size of government institutions.
“I see these changes as answers to demands of the general public. We have had members of the general public who elected the president repeatedly complaining about security situation in the country and the size of the government,” Wek told Sudan Tribune on Saturday. .
"There have been talks about the need for transformation in all the institutions of government in order to build a strong nation," he added.
There is speculation the Kiir is planning a major cabinet reshuffle to improve service delivery and governance. The move is believed to be facing strong resistance from senior members of his own party - the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) - who stand to lose their positions.
South Sudan leader relieves senior officers from active service
Text of report in English by state-owned South Sudan TV on 14 February:
Republican decree number 25 for the year 2013, for the relieve of SPLA
[Sudan People’s Liberation Army] officers from active service and
their transfer to the reserve list 2013 AD.
Title and commencement
This decree shall be cited as Republican Decree number 25 for the year 2013, for the relieve of SPLA officers from active service and their transfer to reserve list 2013 AD, and shall come into forces on the date of its signature by the president of the republic.
In exercise of the powers conferred upon me under article 153/2 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 AD, read together with section 13/B of the SPLA Act 2009, I, Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan and Commander-In-Chief of the SPLA, do hereby issue this Republican Decree
for the relieve of SPLA officers from the active service and their transfer to the reserve list as follows:
1. Lt-Gen Taban Deng Gai
2. Lt-Gen James Kok Ruay
3. Maj-Gen Muaj Jiang Deng Kuoch
4. Maj-Gen Simon Kun Puoch
5. Brig-Gen John Mayar Mayiik
6. Brig-Gen. Martin Onguel Mabior
7. Brig-Gen Deng Rokdit Mayar
8. Brig-Gen Simon Mading Ngor
9. Brig-Gen Morris Agang Kuek
10. Brig-Gen Machar Gew Deng.
11. Brig-Gen Patrick Raphael Samoi
12. Brig-Gen. Mamer Makuck Kuol
13. Brig-Gen Monykuer Mayen Anei
14. Brig-Gen Makuei Mathai Ruei
15. Brig-Gen Paulino Kon Dhieu
16. Brig-Gen Kong Ruch Araj Kudu
17. Brig-Gen Obuch Kur Jago
18. Brig-Gen Matthew Arop Oboy.
19. Brig-Gen Khalifah Babikir al-Tinjani
20. Bri-Gen John Kur Jok
21. Brig-Gen Dhieu Ngong Diak
22. Brig-Gen Yar Deng Aguek Tor
23. Brig-Gen Samuel Bullen Alier
24. Brig-Gen Kuot Ajak Arop
25. Brig-Gen Agoth Deng Amieth
26. Brig-Gen Bior Aguer Bior
27. Brig-Gen Richard Kur Bol
28. Brig-Gen Maker Makuei Ijong
29. Brig-Gen Malual Akol Mathiang
30. Brig-Gen Daniel Martin Athiek
31. Brig-Gen Deng Duot Ajok
32. Brig-Gen William Wol Akuei
33. Brig-Gen Manyok Yol Manyok
34. rig-Gen James Gai Ngong
35. Brig-Gen Zachariah Kuach Jok
36. Brig-Gen Anyieth Ajok Anyieth
37. Brig-Gen Majok Lam Makur
38. Brig-Gen Agany Kuach Agoth
39. Brig-Gen Garang John Bill
40. Brig-Gen Malual Monyluak Rou
41. Brig-Gen Nong Agoth Anei
42. Brig-Gen John Jok Nhial
43. Brig-Gen Peter Lou Matiu
44. Brig-Gen Steven Lonj Matir
45. Brig-Gen Victor Giler Salvatore
46. Brig-Gen Peter Pal Teny
47. Brig-Gen John Kutir Bayak
48. Brig-Gen Deng Deng Akon
49. Brig-Gen Siko Ochak Riek
50. Brig-Gen Sarah Ayak Maker
51. Brig-Gen Anyieth Chol Ater
52. Brig-Gen Achol Garang Akuong
53. Brig-Gen Jok Kuer Ruay
54. Brig-Gen Johnson Otor Kuoth
55. Brig-Gen Ajang Manhir Akech
56. Brig-Gen Deng Yai Deng
57. Brig-Gen Kuth Akuei Kur
58. Brig-Gen Wol Deng Diek
59. Brig-Gen Bano Ochala Alek
60. Brig-Gen Konj Madut Agoy
61. Brig-Gen Daak Nyiel Ruay
62. Brig-Gen John Gatkuoth Bithou
63. Brig-Gen John Both Luak
64. Brig-Gen Riek Guer Deng
65. Brig-Gen Peter Akuen Jok
66. Brig-Gen Kuoth Kun Thuok
67. Brig-Gen Michael Toth Jiath
68. Brig-Gen William Tiek Nhial
69. Brig-Gen Francis Othuro Atary
70. Brig-Gen James Juma Khamis
71. Brig-Gen Barnadhino Fernalado Ojeri
72. Brig-Gen Edward Zachariah Galgura
73. Brig-Gen Marjan Youhani Kuago
74. Brig-Gen Moses Mathai Luet
75. Brig-Gen Andrean Kuch Bol
76. Brig-Gen Salvatore Longar Gel
77. Brig-Gen Santina Al-Harah Atem
78. Brig-Gen Simon Riek Rieth
79. Brig-Gen William Gatkuoth Dhiew
80. Brig-Gen Stephen Gawar Manyok
81. Brig-Gen Stephen Yual Tutdel
82. Brig-Gen James Tag Lil
83. Brig-Gen Chuol Kagan Nyiel
84. Brig-Gen Chuol Lip Paal
85. Brig-Gen James Gatwich Lual Jok
86. Brig-Gen Wor Majok Pieny
87. Brig-Gen Peter Gathjang Ruay
88. Brig-Gen Joseph Bilieu Jar
89. Brig-Gen Peter Nyieth Chuor
90. Brig-Gen Simon Goth Nyiir
91. Brig-Gen Ter Torkit Rambang
92. Brig-Gen Simon Ujong Rieth
93. Brig-Gen Gabriel Maluth Kuel
94. Brig-Gen Victor Anon Lal
95. Brig-Gen James Henry Tarnieu Uyogu
96. Brig-Gen Joseph Deng Bior
97. Brig-Gen Otura Kaku
98. Brig-Gen Lado Budamuj Nangiru
99. Brig-Gen James Kuek Luach
100. Big-Gen Charles Oguenj Ijogoy
101. Brg-Gen Makuei Akech Ajou
102. Brig-Gen Alfred Majok Madut
103. Brig-Gen Guang Matayo Ukua
104. Brig-Gen Kuol Atem Bol
105. Brig-Gen Kuer Dau Atem
106. Brig-Gen Agustino Maduot Parek
107. Brig-Gen Deng Agok
108. Brig-Gen James Achien Akuei
109. John Malis Jar
110. Philip Lolori Ijina
111. Brig-Gen Peter Yol Agok
112. Brig-Gen Rizik Zachariah Hasan
113. Brig-Gen Efision Kon Guak.
114. Luis Lobong Lojore
115. Anderia Mayar Akoch
116. Brig-Gen Kuach Ator Anyang
117. Brig-Gen Gabriel Ayuk Achbel
Issued under my hand and seal of the Republic of South Sudan in Juba, this 14 day of the month of February in the year 2013 AD.
Signed: Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit, President and Commander-In-Chief of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, Republic of South Sudan, Juba.