Resignation is a normal way of protecting personal conscience: Avoid politicizing it!

Posted: February 8, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël in Columnists, Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda

politico-detainees

The released political detainees are: former cabinet affairs minister Deng Alor Kuol; former minister of telecommunications and postal services Madut Biar Yel; former youth minister Dr. Chirino Hiteng; former finance minister Kosti Manibe; former roads and transport minister Gier Chuang Aluong; former justice minister John Luk Jok, and former Lakes state governor Chol Tong Mayai; while those who remain in detention are: Pagan Amum Okiech, former secretary-general of the ruling SPLM party; Oyai Deng Ajak, former minister for national security; Majak D’Agoot, former deputy minister of defence and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, former South Sudanese ambassador to the United States.

February 8, 2017 (SSB) — The recent resignation by the Gok State Minister of Education, Gender and Social Welfare, Hon. John Marik Makur, has caused a raw in the social media and in particular on facebook.  Many people gave various comments on the report posted by Journalist Manyang Mayom on his timeline carrying the reasons for the resignation of Hon. Former Minister of Education.

In that post, Manyang reported Marik makur to have said the following as quoted below—

 “After having reviewed and evaluated over the past ten months as a minister; numerous aspects of our morale and constitutional responsibilities towards service delivery and development to our communities, which apparently not realized and mainly attributed to manners and ways of your leadership.

Therefore, I concluded that my contributions and many vital projects developed by the institution (ministry of physical infrastructure) I led; were consistently not awarded or deliberately ignored and quite often were passed over or misdirected. Therefore, I felt to have sufficient grounds to honorably submit this resignation for no other reasons than personal convictions.

 It is also a great opportunity for your leadership to move on with new and energetic team so as to give our state a new light of hope for development and progress”.

 The above three paragraphs contain the reasons for resignation of the Hon. Minister and the reasons range from personal convictions,  conscience or morals, failure of the government or bad governance and many other issues as can be understood from it as indicated by his diction.

As I have pointed out in the opening of this article, the resignation has caused uproar on social media and moreover, it has become a political tool used to show that the government of Gok State is weak, failed or bad.

For instance, some commented that it is because the state does not have the money while others commented that Gok people are not able to govern themselves, while others further abused the minister himself, other people blamed it on the creation of more states and many other comments that can be found on the post that still on the timeline of Manyang Mayom on facebook.

However, the concern of this article is not to reply to all those comments but to explain the meaning of resignation and why it should not be politicized. Hence, resignation should be viewed as normal in any democratic government.

In the democratic society a person who feels that his or her conscience or morals do not allow him or her to work in the government, he or she is free to write official resignation letter containing the reasons for resignation and addressed to the head of the government or institution.

For that reason, resignation should be understood to mean the formal act of giving up or quitting one’s office or position. It can occur when a person holding a position gained by election or appointment steps down, which is different from leaving a position upon the expiration of a term, which is not resignation.

In fact, resignation is rooted in history. It is as old as humanity but it became apparent with economic development in which many people work as employees of others called employers. The reason the resignation was not common originally was because the relationship between the employees and employers was that of masters and slaves. Therefore, a slave could not resign as he or she was destined to work for life for a master irrespective of how harsh the conditions may be.

However, with the advancement of human rights and personal liberty that outlaw servitude, slavery and bad working a condition, a person is entitled to resign if he or she feels that he or she cannot cope with the conditions of work or for other reasons outside the place of work.

In that regard, resignation results when the employee chooses to leave the work or position as opposed to involuntary termination, which occurs when the employee involuntarily loses a job.

In case of Kings, leaving the power willingly is not called resignation but it is called abdication, which is the equivalent of resignation of a reigning monarch or pope, or other holder of a non-political, hereditary or similar position. For example Pope Benedict XVI reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church in 2013, a post he held from 2005 to 2013.

It must be correctly observed that a resignation is a personal decision to exit a position, though outside pressure exists in many cases. For example, Richard Nixon resigned from the office of President of the United States in August 1974 following the Watergate scandal, when he was almost certain to have been impeached by the United States Congress.

Apart from being a person matter, resignation can be used as a political manoeuvre, as was seen in the case of Philippines in July 2005, when ten cabinet officials resigned en masse to pressure President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to follow suit over allegations of electoral fraud. Arroyo’s predecessor, Joseph Estrada, was successfully forced out of office during the EDSA Revolution of 2001 as he faced the first impeachment trial held in the country’s history.

In 1995, the British Prime Minister, John Major, resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party in order to contest a leadership election with the aim of silencing his critics within the party and reasserting his authority. Having resigned, he stood again and was re-elected. He continued to serve as prime minister until he was defeated in 1997 elections.

As seen in the above paragraphs, a person may resign not because of personal conscience or morals but because he or she wants to gain the political benefits since he or she wants to distance him or herself from the messes in the former government in which he or she was working with.

Such political manoeuvres are common especially where politicians see that the government they are serving is facing a lot of problems. The politicians can use the trick of resigning to weaken the government and also to get from the incoming government by hypocritically showing that he or she is an honest politician.

Nevertheless, such a trick may be used in the societies which are not able to study the history of the leaders or of the government as in our case. However, where citizens are enlightened and able to understand the nature of the person no amounts of resignation can rescue their reputation.

It should be noted that in some circumstances, although government officials may tender their resignations, they are not always accepted. This could be a gesture of confidence in the official, as with US President George W. Bush‘s refusal of his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld‘s twice-offered resignation during the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.

However, refusing a resignation can be a method of severe censure if it is followed by dismissal; Alberto Fujimori attempted to resign as President of Peru, but his resignation was refused in order that Congress could impeach him.

For many public figures, primarily departing politicians, resignation is an opportunity to deliver a valedictory resignation speech in which they can explain the circumstances of their exit from office and in many cases deliver a powerful speech which often commands much attention.

As already pointed out above, the resignation can be used to great political effect, particularly as, subsequent to resigning since government ministers who resigned are no longer bound by collective responsibility and can speak with greater freedom about current issues.

The same thing happens in academia. For example, a university vice chancellor or the editor of a law Journal or other journals may resign, particularly in cases where an idea which runs counter to the mainstream is being promoted. In 2006, Harvard president Lawrence Summers resigned after making the provocative suggestion that the underrepresentation of female academics in math and science could be due to factors other than mere discrimination, such as personal inclination or innate ability.

In a club, society, or other voluntary association, a member may resign from an officer position in that organization or even from the organization itself. In Robert’s Rules of Order, this is called a request to be excused from a duty. A resignation may also be withdrawn.

The foregoing discussion on the resignation shows that resignation may be due to the personal conscience not to work in a job or it may be used as a political tool by the one resigning to get political benefits.

In relation to the above paragraph, the resignation of a minster or ministers like what has been happening in Gok State in which some government officials resign should not be seen as the collapse of the Government. Rather, it should be seen as healthy since Gok people have the conscience to protect or they are exercising their political rights to work or not to work in the government.

What needs to be understood is that there are many reasons a person may resign, some of which have already been discussed above. In addition, some politicians may resign not because of political benefits or personal conscience or morals as discussed above, a person instead may resign due to disappointment as the personal expectations are not met. Or, it may due to the fact that the government is not performing well and the government officials are frustrated with the slow progress of the government.

In order to come to any of the conclusions above, it is important to study the past or the history of the employment of a person resigning and the government in which he or she is currently working in. After those studies, the conclusion that will be reached may be correct and one may be right to conclude that the cause is the government or personal interests.

In other words, we must be objective enough not be cheated with kiss. We must be keen in observing the conduct of the officials and try to understand the motive behind the resignation before politically condemning any of the sides. The reason is that when something is politicized, it will always have a negative impact on the ordinary people on the ground and because of that it is always important to try by all means to minimize politics in order to minimize harm to the people.

What is even important and will help the image of the government of Gok State at the face of the current problems is that the Government of Gok State should not be seen as a failed government because of some reasons: first of all, Gok State is a newly established with the new government, which lacks resources to finance its activities and because of that any reasonable persons cannot judge the government of Gok State as a failed government.

Second to it, the government of Gok State has done far more than what the former Lakes State did for ten years before it was created. This is seen in the way the security has been maintained and Gok people are now free to go in their ordinary business in Gok area. Because of that instead of seeing the government of Gok State as weak, we should appreciate the Governor, Hon. Madhang Majok and his Government for protecting the lives of Gok people.

Hence, the most important functions of any government which the Gok State Government has fulfilled to a greater extent are the provision of security of persons. If the government of Gok State has shown that it is able to protect the lives of its citizens and it should therefore be considered successful Government.

What people who see the Government of Gok State as failed in term of development have not understood is that the development does not come overnight but it is a slow and steady progress and if sustained with time the change will come and people will enjoy development.

In summary, it is important for the people to understand that resignation is a normal way of protecting personal conscience and it should not be politicized.  For that reason, my appeal to all the Gok people and to youth in particular is that let us not be divided by politics. Let the interests of our rural people be the overriding force in our dealing and interactions with one another.

Let us see resignation as a private matter and leave history to judge the one who resigns. Let us be guided by justice, liberty and prosperity as we look into the bright future for South Sudan and Gok State.

NB//: the author is South Sudanese lawyer residing and can be reached through: juoldaniel@yahoo.com; or +256783579256.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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