South Sudan President Salva Kiir has sacked two ministers and an adviser in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.
Kiir, in a decree issued on Saturday, gave no reasons for his decision which comes less than a year since these appointments were made.
Some officials, however, attributed the changes to recommendations made by governor Tong Akeen Ngor in which he allegedly asked Kiir to remove the two state ministers and an adviser.
They cited lack of loyalty and connection with political competitors as having influenced the president’s decision to sack these officials.
According to the presidential decree, Kiir removed Information minister, Abraham Wol Kom, replacing him with William Anyuon Kuol.
The South Sudanese leader, in the decree, also sacked Education minister, Valentino Achak Deng and replaced him with Bol Akok.
Akok was serving as state minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries.
Meanwhile, Kiir also removed Arkanjelo Athian Teng Angok, a former deputy governor and a veteran of the liberation struggle from an advisory position without replacement and no new assignment.
Similary, two former ministers and an adviser in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr El Ghazal state have welcomed their recent removal, drawing positive comments from ruling party (SPLM) members on social media platforms.
Valentino Achak Deng, a former minister of Education who was sacked last week through a presidential directive, welcomed his removal with gratitude.
“I am relieved and grateful”, wrote Deng on his Facebook page hours after removal without additional comments. His supporters and admirers, some of whom wished him good luck, commended his decision to clear the air, consoling that “bright future lies ahead”. “Who knows, you could be the next governor to sit in that same office which Tong Akeen Ngor occupies”, wrote one commentator.
Abraham Wol Kom, former information minister also welcomed his sacking from the office, pledging loyalty to the ruling SPLM which he joined at an young age.
Arkangelo Athian Teng Angok, a former deputy governor and a veteran of the war liberation struggle followed suit. He welcomed his sacking, describing it as “a normal practice in public life”.
He wondered what prompted his sacking by the South Sudanese leader.
Supporters speculate that his credentials and seniority in the party structure could have caused a suspicion in governor Ngor to see him as one of the silence competitors on whose behalf politicians in Juba are campaigning to make him a successor. Angok neither deny nor confirm the speculation. Some depict him as a potential candidate and one of those who could be a right choice, given his political background in the liberation struggle as well as years of service in various capacities.
Others, however, see it differently, arguing removal without assignment puts his political future in uncertainty, with few observers willing to predict he could be one of those who will emerge as the immediate replacement after the usual haggling between competitors.
“Political is the unfair game in life and given the way president Salva Kiir does his things, Arkenjelo Athian could be the next replacement”, said a commentator. He gave an example of Paul Malong Awan, former governor of the state and his political competitor, Gen Dau Aturjong Nyuol with whom he had always contested leadership and command assignments, including the 2010 gubernatorial elections.
“Looked at what he did to Paul Malong? Malong never wanted Dau Aturjong to serve at home in any capacity, whether in the military or in politics, especially after he contested with him the 2010 elections. But what happened? Kiir appointed him as the division commander and took him to Wunyiik immediately after Paul Malong was removed. So, do not be too confident”, he cautioned.
Others overlooked his perspectives, preferring a candidate from ethnic Luo, sparking additional comments.
“You guys are drinking from one cup. Widen your perspectives”, said another in a WhatsApp chat group. “There is a notable trend before and after these changes. The removal could just be another trigger of this campaign like discourse in this social media platform”.
“From what I read, there is a likelihood of president Kiir deciding to appoint a new governor from the Luo this time. And I support this because they are part of us in the state and they have never had the opportunity to ascend to the position of governor since creation of the state in 1994”, he commented.
A highly placed presidential source said the president wants at least three names from which he would make a choice, but the decision has been stalled because of the overwhelming submissions of names, some of whom lack work experience.