My Hypothetical New Cabinet for South Sudan

Posted: May 30, 2018 by mayendengdit in Junub Sudan, Mayen Ayarbior

By David Mayen Dengdit – Denver- USA

CEPO fact sheet on the power sharing arrangement

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 (PW) — A couple of weeks ago I made up a hypothetical cabinet for a transitional government of South Sudan. Of course, as free citizens, we all have the right to exercise the privilege to choose those who should lead “our” country. We can do so at any time when we feel that objective conditions have robbed current leaders of legitimacy. And in our case, massive human flight, pervasive victimization of innocent non-combatant citizens of all ages- including children, documented ethnic-based war crimes, etc. constitute the grounds for automatic withdrawal of legitimacy from those who have abused the power of incumbency.

The power of incumbency includes: control over deployment of security agents as prescribed by the constitution of the land. Essentially, these entail military deployments for protection of national borders from external aggression, while other security operatives mainly police and prisons service to provide internal security.

The rest of other services controlled by incumbents are essentially economic in nature. These include regulating international, regional and national trade through setting up a taxation system to collect monies from the market and divert it to paying for other services such as healthcare, education, sports, improved agricultural production, and all other things that make living in a country a worthy experience for citizens.

Failure to provide both internal protection and or welfare, irrespective of whether or not there are logical explanations, largely terminates the social contract between free citizens and their government. Consequently, citizens will have their natural right to seek a new social contract with new leaders who have capacity to provide those public goods (security and economic services).

Through the FCRFL (Free Citizens Red Flag League) I made my choice known about a group of individuals who should be given a new social contract to lead the country. To me and our organization, the old social contract between the people of South Sudan and the incumbent regime has expired due to violation of the terms of the contract. Hence, new leaders who may come from among the people should now take over. We should start debating who those leaders may be, so that we are not caught by surprise, as Dr. Luka Biong advised in his last article.

Personally, I have chosen Hon. Barnaba Marial Benjamin to lead the coming transitional government as an Executive Prime Minister. I recieved a few responses in my email from people who thought mine was not the right choice (without explaining why). While I respect their right to differ with my choice, I stand my ground about my choice of who should lead South Sudan in the coming transitional government up until elections are organized.

My choice of Hon. Barnaba Marial Benjamin is one that is based on official observation of the man when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs.  I had a privilege to be present in two summits where my former boss, Vice President H.E. Wani Igga, represented President Kiir. One was in March 2014 when we attended the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) summit in Pretoria- South Africa. The other was in October 2015 at the UN General Assembly annual summit in New York.

During numerous side meetings with individual heads of state, envoys, UN officials, etc. Dr. Marial Benjamin impressed me as a patriotic South Sudanese who said the truth as it was, while providing a structural explanation of how a fragile country like South Sudan might be fixed and strengthened. He never “licked the shoes” of the Vice President, nor made praises of the President through fake arguments of legitimacy, nor denied the war crimes committed against his tribesmen (the great Nuer nation) in particular. That, to me, has caused him his job later.

In fact, he condemned those atrocities in the strongest terms possible and called for justice to the victims through internal or international accountability systems. Yet, at the same time, as an extremely articulate politician he did what his job description entailed (not what he was ordered to say), which was to look for the way out of this security predicament facing South Sudan. His arguments were always very convincing to everyone in the room.

In New York, while we met with Dr. Riek Machar and his delegation which consisted of Alfred Lado Gore, Taban Deng Gai, Ezekiel Lul Gatkwath and others. Dr. Marial Bengamin again stood his ground by “firing back” instantaneously when he was verbally unceremoniously attacked by both Dr. Riek and Taban at the same time.

Even though the due attacked him in Nuer language which I did not fully understand and he replied also in Nuer, that abrupt commotion which lasted for about 10 seconds gave me an impression that he’s not only a highly principled and articulate politician, but also not a push over by anyone – neither Vice President Igga nor Dr. Riek. Obviously, Dr. Riek and Taban accused him as a “sell out” because they did not know that Dr. Barnaba was more principled than both of them even though it looked otherwise on the surface. They did not hear what I heard in those closed-door meetings.

In these time and age in South Sudan, I have observed so many “boot lickers” in Juba (women and men) who only switched-on their brave masks in front of cameras. I have seen unprincipled empty headed sycophants who would parrot whatever the leader says just to keep being employed. I have met tribalists and devil incarnates who denied the obvious in order not to cross their leader.

During high level meetings, where I in the most part quietly took notes for later reports, I  observed embarrassing Ministers and Ambassadors whose arguments and language capacity betrayed their claim to any education. I met all sorts of so called leaders of South Sudan, but only a handful made me proud. Only a handful could articulate the bigger picture eloquently and without getting entangled in individual blame games which made them “good boys”. Of those few good leaders, I thought Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin was by miles the best, bravest, and most principled of them all.

Hence, I made that informed choice for Dr. Marial Benjamin to lead the coming transitional government. Make your choice and say why. Let’s begin campaigning because, by divine providence, the end of a dark chapter in South Sudan is coming closer and closer.  But more importantly, just to remind ourselves and the Juba regime that leaders are chosen by the people not by the military.

The author, David Mayen Dengdit (Mayen D.M.A Ayarbior) is the former Press Secretary in the Office of Vice President James Wani Igga. He is the founder of the Free Citizens Red Flag League (FCRFL), a citizens-based non-violent revolutionary organization. He can be reached at 

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 Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website 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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