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South Sudan chief justice denies partisan politics


October 16, 2015 (JUBA) – President of the Supreme Court of South Sudan has denied that his congratulatory message to president Salva Kiir for ordering creation of 28 new states was not an act of partisan politics, claiming he was acting in his capacity as community leader and not head of public institution.

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South Sudan’s chief justice, Chan Reec Madut (AP)

There has been voices critical of the way the head of the highest court in the land declared support to the president as chairman of the Aguok community in Warrap state when he said he will support the president in his order, raising concerns that he has already preempted his decision.

“Your excellency President of the Republic Salva Kiir Mayardit, I, the Chairman of the Aguok Community in Juba, Justice Chan Reec Madut on behalf of the entire Aguok Community and on my own behalf seize to take this opportunity to congratulate you for your bold decision for the creation of Gogrial State among others,” said Madut in the message copy of which was obtained by Sudan Tribune.

“Your decision is within the SPLM vision of taking the towns to the village... Go ahead with the implementation and we are fully behind you. Long Live President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Long Live the SPLM, Long Live South Sudan,” the message reads in part.

But the chief justice argued that his support to the president was declared as chairman of the community and not as chief justice of the supreme court, challenging critics to correctly read his message.

“You read the message if you have the copy and see where it shows I acted as the head of public institution. I was conveying that message to the president and his government in my capacity as the community leader. Those complaining have either not read the message or misinterpreted it,” Madut told Sudan Tribune on Friday during an exclusive interview.

He was reacting to voices questioning his decision to publicly announce his support to president Kiir’s Establishment Order creating 28 states in the country instead of 10 constitutionally established states.

Critics have expressed fear that his declaration of support of the order could undermine integrity and independence of the court from partisan decisions during litigation processes since the order of the president has been taken to the court in which he is constitutionally required to chair and preside over judicial matter.

President Kiir issued a republican order on 2 October, 2015, establishing 28 states largely based on ethnic lines. The head of state, according to the order, would appoint all of the governors and all of members of parliament in the new states.

His supporters claim it was a response to the demand of the people who want a ’federal’ system of government.

On Thursday, however, a coalition of more than 18 political parties announced that they have petitioned the decision of the president and had asked the court presided over by Madut to stay the order from being implemented as it “lacks legal basis.”

“The national alliance this morning (Thursday) petitioned the Supreme Court seeking stay of execution and invalidation of the Presidential Establishment Order Number 36 for creation of twenty-eight states,” said Lam Akol, the alliance chairperson.

“It is a violation of the peace agreement, lacks legal basis, usurps powers of the Legislature and contravenes the provisions of the peace agreement,” he added.

The presidential order was also condemned by the armed opposition faction, SPLM-IO led by former vice-president, Riek Machar, former detainees, civil society organizations and the international community, saying it violated both the country’s transitional constitution and the peace agreement signed in August.

However, the government maintained that the order had no problem and should go ahead with its implementation.


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  • 16 October 2015 21:00, by lino

    You must resign first Chief Justice before throwing your balls away.
    Whatever acts or statements you release, people see you as a representative of High Court and not a Dinka Chief. So, please understand the rule. Your behaviors are what pulling the country backward.

    repondre message

  • 16 October 2015 22:32, by Mr Point

    If the Chief Justice rules that Kiir acted unconstitutionally then Kiir will get rid of the Chief Justice. KIir is no longer bound by the Constitution.

    If the Chief Justice rules that Kiir’s decree is constitutional then he will show the world that South Sudan has thrown away its principles of democracy. This will only increase south Sudan’s isolation.

    repondre message

  • 17 October 2015 00:42, by denng

    Dear Sudan Tribune, i’ve goe two requests. firstly, with an article like this we need dates e.g the date the chief justice congratulated Kiir and the date he denied his allegiance.because we need to know if in fact it was a reaction to Lam Akol’s complain the other day or not.
    And secondly, please provide us more than 300 words to comment. Thanks.

    repondre message

  • 17 October 2015 02:56, by Positive Thinker

    Deng if you have to write you have the option to make article and Sudantribune will publish it for readers to consume your junk.

    repondre message

    • 17 October 2015 07:37, by denng

      Positive thinker, whoever named you had high hopes for you.

      repondre message

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