A Brave Decision or Security and Constitutional Quagmire?: The President’s Recent Military and State Reform Orders
Organization: The Sudd Institute
Type: Weekly Reviews
In a recent presidential decree read on the state-owned South Sudan television, president Salva Kiir Mayar relieved a large number of army generals, on top of whom were all the six deputies of the Chief of General Staff and replaced them with newly promoted officers. The decree assertively restructured the SPLA, Police, and the government of Lakes State’s leaderships. The decree also removed twenty-nine other generals from active duty and consigned them to the list of reserves, pending eventual retirement. These generals, along with numerous others who retired or have been put on reserve, were among the best known for their gallantry during the north-south war, but have been subject of negative commentary in recent years. Their removal may have been surprising to some among the relieved generals themselves and the public at large, but was received with cautious excitement throughout South Sudan and in the Diaspora. So many people have described it as a “long overdue decision.” Others have called it a “wise act,” a “sign of hope in our leadership,” etc.
The Sudd Institute this week reviews these decrees, assessing public sentiment and highlighting the policy consequences of the president’s decisions. The decisions ultimately impact on the country’s fiscal crises, oversight and accountability, security sector reforms, and the leadership succession aspects. The removal of the army generals has raised hopes among South Sudanese that the president will continue with his timely shake-up and make good of his promises by reshuffling and downsizing the entire cabinet.