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South Sudan risksreturning to conflict, says deputy speaker
Nathaniel Pierino Oyet, First Deputy Speaker of National Legislative Assembly speaks during the opening of orientation workshop for lawmakers in Juba on Tuesday [Photo: Awan Achiek]

SPLM-IO calls for dialogue over diluted powers of Petroleum Minister

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) on Friday said it is considering holding dialogue with President Salva Kiir Mayardit to reinstate the powers of the Minister of Petroleum, Puot Kang Chol.

 “We have written to the president telling him our objection to the republican order number 3/2024, how it violates the peace agreement, article 106 of the constitution, the Petroleum Act, we expect dialogue with the president,” said Oyet Nathaniel Pierino, the Deputy Chairman of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) during press conference held in Juba.

“The republican order number 3/2024 that separated the powers has also removed the ministry of petroleum from us, and now it has become for SPLM-In Government and we are saying this order was as a result of misinterpretation and violates the constitution,” he added.

On January 31, 2024, President Salva Kiir issued republican decree that stripped the powers of the Petroleum Minister to be in charge for all crude oil sale awards and also service contracts with the Joint Oil Operating Companies.

This responsibility was transferred to the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Petroleum, William Anyak Deng instead of the Minister.

Chol is a member of SPLM-IO led by First Vice President Riek Machar.

 “The order strips powers and functions of the minister and gives them to undersecretary which is a clear violation of the constitution which states that the minister shall be the head and his or her decision shall prevail,” Pierino said.

 He said the SPLM-IO leadership was never consulted prior to the issuance of the republican decree by President Kiir.

The 2018 revitalized peace agreement calls on the parties to hold consultation and dialogue prior to arriving at major decisions or changes within the cabinet.

Pierino revealed that the SPLM-IO is entitled to 9 cabinet ministries under the 2018 revitalized peace agreement, adding that the agreement placed a moratorium that the government cannot create parallel institutions.

 “The order violates Civil Service Act section 14 (A) on accountability which states that the undersecretary shall be responsible to the appropriate minister, ever since this decree came he travels without even taking permission from the minister,” he said.

The SPLM-IO and SPLM-IG have in the past disagreed on the command structure of the unified security forces and also the unilateral changes of opposition   ministers without collective consultation.

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