By Amb. Telar Ring Deng,
April 12th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) — Dear all, I have been advisor from the year August 2010 to October 2014, and during my tenure as the President’s legal advisor, I have been blamed for very many decisions the president took.
Well, the assumption is that since the President has advisors, they are the ones who make decisions on his behalf. Let me break it down for you; in the Oxford Dictionary, the word advice means to offer suggestions about the best course of action to someone.
Therefore as a legal advisor, I was merely offering suggestions on anything legal to President Salva Kiir and he had the option to take my advice or not to take it. The final decision is always and will always be by the President and the Commander in chief of the SPLA and the Supreme Commander of all other armed forces.
Inadvertently, those who think that advisors mislead the President, more often than not are saying that the President has no capacity to evaluate advises given to him by various parties. Isn’t that an insult to the highest office in the land?
On a number of occasions, I have advised the President and my pieces of advice were not always taken, some were rescinded. Secondly, on appointments, dismissals, and dissolutions of cabinets, the president has the prerogative to appoint and dismiss whoever he feels like since it is purely political appointments and as a legal advisor, I didn’t have the mandate to advise him on his political decisions.
For the powers of the President regarding the appointments of constitutional post holders and dismissal, I refer you to article 101 of the transitional constitution of South Sudan as amended.
Considering the fact that I worked for the government and in particular the presidency, for quite a number of years, from the signing of the Comprehensive peace agreement and until we seceded from the north, I might have advised the President on quite a number of things and on the other hand, I also know very many things within the Presidency and the decisions taken up until the 2013 crisis. (This will be a subject of my next topic, though I won’t be washing our dirty linen in public).
We have two different advisory roles, informal and formal advisors. The formal advisors are the political advisor, economic advisor, religious advisor, legal advisor, advisor on gender and human rights and the advisor on decentralization and government linkages. This was during my time because now they are more than ten.
On the other hand, the informal advisors who could be traditional leaders, the staff in his office or the minister in his office, are the ones who seem to wield more power than the formal advisors.
This then leads me to ask when I was dismissed as his Presidential legal advisor, who therefore advised the President? Who advises the President on all the decisions he has taken since then? Isn’t there still an outcry on the way things are run in South Sudan?
Ambassador Telar Ring Deng is the former South Sudan ambassador to Russia and a close friend of former Chief of Staff-turned rebel, Paul Malong Awan. You can reach the author via his email: telardeng@
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