South Sudan’s fragile unity government has failed to name a deputy foreign minister for almost a year, raising questions about further political understandings between the coalition partners in the current government in Juba.
The SPLM faction loyal to President Kiir and SPLM Former Detainees led by Pagan Amum are blaming each other for the impasse after Kiir removed Cirino Hiteng from his post in July last year for allegedly attending an IGAD Council of Ministers meeting without being delegated by the government.
Hiteng was appointed to his post according to the 2015 peace deal, under which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to be given to the former detainees.
The peace deal does not give the president the power to remove a minister appointed by one of the other peace signatories.
Chapter 1, Article 10.5.4 says, “Deputy Ministers shall be appointed by the Party holding the respective Ministry,” while 10.6.1 says, “Each party may remove its representatives in the Council of Ministers and nominate replacements by notifying the President and the First Vice President, with at least fourteen (14) days notice.”
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj today, the foreign ministry spokesman Mawien Makol blamed the SPLM Former Detainees group for failing to nominate a new official to fill the position of deputy foreign minister after Hiteng had been dismissed by President Kiir.
For his part, Kosti Manibe Ngai, the spokesman of the SPLM Former Detainees group said Kiir had no right to remove Cirino Hiteng from his position last year.
Kosti further said the SPLM Former Detainees reject the removal of Cirino Hiteng from his post as deputy foreign minister.
“The reasons that were alleged to have been the reasons for his removal did not convince us at all, so it was a unilateral decision taken by the president and we have not accepted it and we are not going along with it,” he said.