South Sudan: Minister Makuei Defends Sacking of Machar’s Wife as Defence Minister

South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth has defended last week’s decision by President Salva Kiir Mayardit to fire the former Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, Angelina Teny.

Addressing the media after the cabinet meeting on Friday, Makuei said the final decision for the appointment of ministers and vice presidents including Dr. Riek Machar is made by the president.

“Even the SPLM-IO, even Riek Machar was appointed by the president so the final authority that makes appointments is the president and he is the final authority that relieves,” Makuei said. “It is not a violation of the agreement and they are continuing. As long as they are talking then something must have gone wrong within. There is nothing for me to say about whether it is a violation or not. They are negotiating. Even if it was a violation, they (Kiir and Machar) are the ones to resolve it and not you.”

“Be assured that the agreement is moving on well and if there are any issues in the presidency, they will be addressed by the presidency,” he added.

On the suspension of activities of the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC), Makuei said the government had not been officially informed. He added that the National Transitional Committee (NTC) was last week directed to prepare a budget.

“The last meeting we had last week, the meeting of the RJMEC and if there was something as such it would have been reported to us so there is nothing like that,” he said. “As a government, we have already issued directives to the NTC, the body in charge and they are supposed to prepare a budget. Unfortunately, the NTC did not do it so we are waiting for them to present their request. We will approve it and then they (NCAC) will be paid.

The information minister also said that the cabinet also listened to a presentation by the finance minister on the population estimate survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2021.

“The population of South Sudan according to the estimate in 2021 when it was prepared is within the range of 12,444,018. This is the estimation and of course, this does not mean that it is a substitute for the population census.” Makuei noted. “It is an indication that we have increased in population because in the last population census, we were I think 8 million according to the 2008 population census and this time the assessment is within the range of 12 million, and as such it is an indication that there is a progress.”

He also said that the cabinet directed the justice ministry to draft laws to govern independent commissions.

“The plan was passed by the cabinet and the minister of justice was advised to prepare and start amending (laws of) all the commissions that need amendments and start drafting laws for those commissions established by agreements that need laws after which they will be established by the provision of that law,” Makuei said. “So, for the commissions which are established by law, we have to amend these laws and for those commissions which were established by the agreement, we have to enact their laws so that they are established by the provisions of those laws and these new laws will be in accordance with the provisions of the agreement.”

Koch Madut