The Politics of Transitional Periods & Govt in the Republic of South Sudan

Posted: February 20, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan, Tong Kot Kuocnin

South Sudan under Salva Kiir: An Examination of Three Transitional Periods in South Sudanese Politics

By Tong Kot Kuocnin, Nairobi, Kenya

protest at the american embassy in Juba

protest at the American embassy in Juba

February 20, 2018 (SSB) — Following the untimely, sudden and shocking departure of the legendary, charismatic and founding leader of the peoples’ movement, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M), Dr. John Garang de Mabior in a helicopter crush in July 2005, just twenty-one (21) days in office after having been sworn-in as FVP of the Republic of Sudan and President of the Government of Southern Sudan, his longtime deputy, comrade in the struggle, a brother and a best friend, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit was crowned to succeed the throne left by his longtime leader, a comrade in arm, a friend and a brother, Dr. John Garang de Mabior.

As the most senior in the hierarchy of the movement and the immediate next person after him, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit was set to take over the mantle insignia of leadership. However, as per the stipulations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and by virtue of being the leader of SPLM which is one of the signatories and partner to the Agreement, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit automatically became the FVP of the Republic of Sudan and the President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) and commander-in-chief of the SPLA and a supreme commander of other regular forces.

Thus, having taken over the mantle of leadership who should shoulder the obligations bestowed on him as peace partner to the NCP; Gen. Salva Kiir had to begin his work by putting his house in order.

As FVP and a leader of the SPLM, which was a peace partner to the NCP, he had to nominate on the ticket of the SPLM, his members of the cabinet to the government of national unity in Khartoum.

Equally, as president of the government of Southern Sudan, he had to nominate and appoint cabinet ministers of the government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) based in Juba as well governors of the then ten (10) states of Southern Sudan.

All these assignments were to be done by him in a grace period of six (6) proceeding the interim period as enshrined in the comprehensive peace agreement of 2005 and incorporated into the Interim National Constitution of the Republic of Sudan, 2005.

For a fact, it has to be succinctly made clear that the implementation of the comprehensive peace wasn’t smooth, straightforward and easy as the thought of. Its implementation was met with many hurdles, obstacles, and difficulties.

However, given the calmness, forbearance, patience and wise guidance of President Salva Kiir, who was seated in the front-door to drive the vehicle which on it was carrying the people of Southern Sudan to the promise land, he managed to drive the vehicle safely leading the peaceful and timely conduct of the referendum for self-determination of the people of Southern Sudan.

The interim period which runs from 9th July 2005 to 9th July 2011 was such a long, tedious, hectic and tiresome period in which the government and the people of Southern Sudan under Salva Kiir have steadfastly endured and persevered unaccountable challenges, difficulties, and hardships which the NCP government employed on the path to freedom of the people of Southern Sudan from the yoke of oppressive, tyrannical, despotic and dictatorial regimes of the successive governments in Khartoum.

The NCP government first tried to water-down and delay the enactment of the referendum law for self-determination for the people of southern Sudan, Abyei, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan areas.

This was made clear in the words of the former speaker of the National Assembly in Khartoum; Prof. Ibrahim Al Tahir who said and I quote verbatim, ‘That we will make the referendum for self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan “Difficult if not Impossible” end quote.

Of course they tried to make it difficult if not impossible as he said when they dragged their feet on the enactment of the referendum law on self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan as it became obvious when the arrested the former SPLM SG Mr. Pagan Amum and his deputy Mr. Yasir Sead Arman when they staged a peaceful protest for the delayed passing of the law at the gate of the National Assembly in Khartoum.

Again, under the stewardship of President Salva Kiir, his able colleagues and other leaders from Southern Sudan, the referendum law was passed. Even when the law was passed, the NCP government didn’t stop there.

The NCP government further tried its best to frustrate the timely conduct of the referendum by not providing and allocating the funds or money needed for the conduct and exercise of the referendum as scheduled.

They tried to renegotiate the timing of the referendum vote citing lame and useless reasons just to frustrate and postpone the conduct of the referendum, which again was blatantly and out-rightly rejected by president Kiir saying that even a second, leave alone a minute on the timing of the referendum for self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan can’t be added or reduced.

This made the frustrated sections of the NCP officials like the former minister of information, Kamal Obeid to lash out in a frustrated manner that ‘if Southern Sudanese decides to vote for succession, then they will not allow or give any single malarial dose to any Southern Sudanese in Khartoum’.

This unfortunate statement from the mouthpiece of the government spokesman and a diehard NCP hardliner and inner circle made matters worse and Southern Sudanese all across northern Sudan had to come out in large numbers to vote for succession as the only option and let the hell break loose.

As the adage goes that patience pays, this was again under the leadership of President Salva Kiir whose patience finally paid us back with our total independence from the north despite most trying and provocative conducts of the NCP government at the time.

Although his calmness, good heart, and love for his people was taken for granted by his colleagues, president Kiir managed to pardon all those who took up arms against their own fellow brothers and sisters, notorious warlords and militias and their integration into the national army, the SPLA with which the region relatively had a bit of peace though it didn’t last any longer.

The aim of all these presidential pardons and amnesties was to reconcile the people of South Sudan and forge a new beginning in an attempt to build the new state in the map of the world.

Quite obvious that his good intentions were taken for granted in which numerous militias took up arms, kill and cause havoc but still they were pardoned and integrated into the national army.

Believe this for sure, these notorious warlords and militias would have surely destabilizes the region and caused more havoc and devastation if he had pursued the path that was about to be taken by our late leader Dr. John Garang with all southern militias when he refused to meet with the then know militia leader and the most notorious one late Gen. Paulino Matip Nhial in the presidential Palace in Khartoum and threatened to deal with all militias who failed to join either side of the parties to the agreement as per the terms and clauses of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, 2005.

The coming and joining of the government of Southern Sudan by Late Gen. Paulino Matip with his huge armed militias help facilitate the smooth conduct of the referendum although those of Gabriel Tangnya and Peter Gadet Yak tried to cause chaos in Malakal in 2007 and 2008 just to plunged the two sides into sudden and unexpected war to frustrate any peaceful conduct of the referendum as its time approaches.

The vehicle finally reached its final destination on the 9th of July 2011 with a formal declaration of the independence of Southern Sudan.

In a nutshell, it can be argued that President Kiir succeeded in overseeing the smooth, transparent, peaceful and successful conduct of the referendum on self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan although he had clearly failed in curbing human rights violations, communal violence and cattle raiding, corruption, lack of democratic space, none adherence to the rule of law and appalling infrastructural development.

Hitherto, this marks the end of the first interim period under the comprehensive peace agreement which was signed in Naivasha, Kenya to end the protracted longest and most devastating civil war in Africa.  In the next subsequent part of this article, I will be looking at the second phase of the transitional period which began shortly after the independence of the Southern Sudan on the 9th of July 2011 to 9th July 2015, which the region on the world map as the newest 193rd state among the communities of nations.

The author holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Juba; a Master of Laws degree (LLM) in Law, Governance and Democracy from the University of Nairobi; and a second Master of Laws (LLM) candidate at the College of Law of the University of Juba. He is an advocate before all courts and an independent researcher in law. His areas of research interest are in human rights, constitutionalism, access to justice, rule of law and good governance. You can reach the author via his email: Bullen Tong <>

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

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