Juba — The governor of South Sudan's border state of Warrap, Nyandeng Malek, swore in her new cabinet on Saturday, bypassing the parliamentary vetting process, according to officials.
It remains unclear what prompted the governor to avoid parliamentary process although critics of her administration claimed it was intended to avoid rigorous vetting and possible rejection of some cabinet ministers, prompting some politicians and legislators to call it "a clear violation of the state constitution".
Joseph Anei Madoor, the director of public and political affairs in the office of the Warrap governor conformed that the new cabinet was sworn in, adding that "the government needs the new team to be in place so that there is no constitutional vacuum."
The new cabinet "was also approved by the leadership of the assembly. The speaker and the government chief whip were in attendance. They represented the choice of the majority members, who approved the function to go ahead since the assembly is in the process of recess", he said.
Madoor downplayed the necessity for consultation with the leadership of the governing Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) branch office in the state.
"It is the right of the governor to appoint anybody to her cabinet. There was no need for consultation because most of the new ministers are cadres of the SPLM. Some of them are generals and colonels with known track of records in our liberation struggle."
Scrutiny is only needed for "people whose backgrounds and capabilities are not known. All the members are competent", Madoor explained.
The official was reacting to a letter carrying the signature of Andrew Kuac Mayol, the deputy chair of the SPLM office in Warrap, calling on key institutions not to attend the swearing in ceremony, citing the refusal of the state governor to respond to the request by the state secretariat for consultations.
"Everybody is happy with the new cabinet and the governor is now receiving lots of congratulatory messages because the cabinet has represented all the segments of our populations. It is inclusive government.
"If you were in the state, you will see for yourself how happy the people are, especially in Tonj South. People are celebrating the retention of deputy governor, Akec Tong. This shows that the appointment represents the will of the people and a clear implementation of the recommendations by every community and section during consultative meetings with the governor over the new cabinet", he said.
But members of the Warrap state parliament claimed the process clearly undermines democracy. One MP, who did not want to be named, accused the governor of running the state like a "personal property" and denying that the house had gone on recess.
"We have said time and again that the people of Warrap are sitting in a hell. Someone is running the state like a personal property and no intervention is made by the central government. What do they want us to do? What is the intention of the president and his government? Does he want our area to follow the way such issues are addressed in other states", he said.
The legislator claimed that the speaker of the Warrap state legislative assembly was the only member not be extremely alarmed by the level of constitutional violations in the way the new cabinet was selected.
Acting in this way "undermines the democratic process in this state and the country in general and we cannot accept to go unchallenged. We do not want the practice we saw in Lakes State to be replicated here", he said.
The new cabinet is as follows:
Agriculture and forestry - Mr. Majok Bol Kur
Animal resources and fisheries - Mr. Lual Longar Adhal
Culture, youth and sport - Mr. Lual Madhang
Education - Mr. Victor Atem Atem
Health - Mr. Paul Dhel Gum
Information and communication, telecommunication - Mr. Nyanaguek Kuol
Finance - Mr. Andrea Aguer Ariik
Local government - Gen. Acuil Tito Madut
Physical infrastructure - Mr. Mayar Deng Mayar
Public services - Mr. Joseph Buong Anyar
Social development - Victor Tito