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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

South Sudan’s cabinet postponed meeting over negligence

June 7, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s cabinet on Friday failed to conduct its weekly meeting due to negligence amidst conflicting explanations over what prevented the executive members from attending to one of their constitutional duties.

South Sudan cabinet in session September 1, 2012 (file/photo ST)
South Sudan cabinet in session September 1, 2012 (file/photo ST)
Independent journalists who always covered the cabinet meetings said they were told to disperse after the meeting was reportedly cancelled.

“We usually come to the ministry of cabinet affairs on Fridays to cover the resolutions of the cabinet meeting from the minister of information. While we were waiting outside the meeting hall from 11:30am, thinking that the cabinet meeting was going on, we were only surprised three hours later on that the meeting was cancelled”, a journalist representing a local newspaper told Sudan Tribune.

He said there was no explanation given by the informer as to why the cabinet cancelled its meeting or whether it was rescheduled for another day soon.

However an official in the ministry of cabinet affairs, who asked to remain anonymous, disclosed to the Sudan Tribune that the meeting failed to take place mainly due to lack of agenda for discussion as well as because of unpreparedness by president Salva Kiir Mayardit.

“There was no agenda to be discussed by the cabinet and this led to the cancellation of the meeting”, he said, adding that president Salva Kiir also said he was not ready to brief the cabinet on his recent trip to Japan.

The official also blamed the lack of agenda on failure by various “cabinet clusters” to meet and deliberate on ministerial projects, programs and policy documents which they in turn forward to the cabinet for discussions and approval.

Currently there are a number of policy documents and national programs that await approval by the cabinet in order to be endorsed by the parliament.

The cabinet, he further explained, has grouped such clusters into governance, economic and service, which are chaired by the minister of cabinet affairs, minister of finance and minister of labour, respectively.

This was the second time the cabinet meeting was cancelled due to lack of agenda, he said. The first occurrence was last year which prompted the Vice President, Riek Machar, to chair the three cabinet cluster groups for several months in order to ensure attendants by the ministers.

“It happened that many ministers did not want to come for the cluster meetings, particularly when such meetings were chaired by their respective colleague ministers,” he said, adding that when the Vice President took charge, the ministers met successfully and the cabinet always had a lot of agenda to discuss.

Three weeks ago however President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a circular taking away the responsibility of cluster meetings from the Vice President.

“Since the time the chairs of the three clusters were given back to the three ministers mentioned, meetings failed to take place due to lack of attendants as ministers were reluctant to come for the meetings”, he explained.

The cabinet is composed of nearly 60 ministers and deputy ministers.

It was on Friday that the governance cluster chaired by the cabinet minister, Deng Alor Kuol, reacted by calling for a meeting after learning that there was no cabinet agenda. Under normal circumstances, the governance cluster meets every Tuesday.

The official further narrated that a single addendum was however prepared for Friday meeting so that President Salva Kiir could brief the cabinet on his recent trip to Japan, but the president said he was not ready to give the briefing.

Kiir came back from Japan on Wednesday where he attended a conference on development in Africa.