President suspends South Sudan Cabinet

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July 24, 2013

In a key development, the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, by a Presidential Decree, has suspended the Cabinet.

Also scrapped from their post is the country’s vice-president, Riek Machar Teny and the Secretary-General of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Pagan Amum. SPLM is a rebel group and the party in power in the country. Some reports say that a committee chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly was formed to investigate the Secretary-General with regards to issues related to the party.

A total of 29 ministers and their deputies, along with 17 police brigadiers are suspended from their official positions.

Tight security was deployed round the capital city of Juba and at the residential buildings of key ministers.

Under Secretaries of various Departments are made the in-charge till new ministers are put in. This ensures that the normal functioning of the day to day operations are not affected.

Minister for Information Barnaba Marial Benjamin, giving an announcement, said that the suspension of the cabinet is a part of a major shuffle by the President and that the Constitution gives him the powers to do so, in the best interests of the country. Benjamin said some of the Ministers would come back to power while others might not.

There was no reason cited for the dismissals though leadership tension between President Kiir and Vice-President Machar is believed to be the key reason. The act appeared to be the show of the Presidential powers Kiir has.

Apart from differences in political powers, there are ethnic differences that divide the nation.

Mr Kiir hails from the leading Dinka community while Mr Machar is from the Nuer, which is the second-largest group. The growing dominance of Dinka community is, for many months now, creating a divide.

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