By Malith Alier, Juba, South Sudan
January 16, 2017 (SSB) — There is an ongoing debate over the past weeks about appointment of state governors of Twic and Gogrial. It happened that one Gregory who is related to the President’s family became a governor of Gogrial.
This may not be coincidence but all appointments if done according to constitution you’ll find that no single article bars the appointing authority from doing so. All mature and qualified South Sudanese are eligible for election and appointment in various positions in their government.
We have to look at the 2011 constitution in the legal point of view before we criticise. First, the Constitution was controversial because it was thought to have given too much power to the President.
This is the starting point and should therefore, form part of our arguments. There was no need to allow the President to dismiss and appoint elected officials such as governors of the states. This is antithesis and it means that the president is more powerful than the people who elected him in the first place.
It has been quite a while now when our governors have been dismissed and appointed by decrees. It is the same thing with county Commissioners and city Councillors (local government). These positions are directly elected according to 2011 Constitution.
What we should fight for is the right to directly elect these officials and for them to be directly removed by the electorate or representatives in the assemblies or through operations of the law.
Would the picture be different if Gregory or other relative of the President is directly elected by the people?
There are other qualitative measures we should seek to address such as whether those appointed from the military are properly discharged so that they cannot go back after serving as politicians. They should not be at the same time in suits and uniforms and earning double salaries.
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