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South Sudan’s constitution does not recognise power sharing: Gen Dhel


December 1, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir should not be pushed into a power-sharing agreement as the country’s transitional constitution does not recognise the position of a prime minister, a senior member of the Dinka council of elders told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

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South Sudanese preasident Salva Kiir (AFP)

General Bona Bhang Dhel, a political ally of Kiir, was among the elders who met the South Sudanese leader in Juba at the weekend.

He said the prime minister, accepted in fulfillment of the regional mediators’ proposal, will be allowed to operate but without any powers.

“If someone does not want this position, then let that person wait for elections and give it to someone else from his group or another person from a different group in the conflict one if he thinks the proposal is not fair,” Gen. Dhel exclusively told Sudan Tribune.

He stressed that Kiir remains the legitimately elected leader of the country and that the ruling party (SPLM) resolved last week that the president remains head of state and commander of the army.

“What this means is that the powers of the president will remain as defined in the transitional constitution of the republic of South Sudan, unless there are people wanting to go against the constitution which is what others have been citing as one of the causes of this conflict,” he said.

Government and rebel forces have been locked in an armed struggle since mid-December last year after a political split in the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) turned violent.

Peace talks in Ethiopia between the rival parties mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have been marred by ongoing delays and political differences.

The armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-in-Opposition) has proposed that only the positions of the president and the prime minister should comprise the executive leadership structure during a transitional period.

However, the government rejected the proposal arguing that in addition to the positions of the president and the prime minister, the position of the vice-president should also be maintained as well as create new positions of two deputies to the prime minister.

Gen Dhel also wondered why those against president Kiir often claimed the South Sudanese leader has disrespected the country’s transitional constitution, but dismissed such claims.

“So why do they want the same constitution to be violated?” he said.


Q: As you may be aware, the current conflict was initially viewed as conflict between the Dinka and Nuer, don’t you see your meeting with the president could be seen this way and that whatever you may have discussed may receive different interpretations.

A: From day one, our people never believed the fighting is a fight between the Nuer and the Dinka. If there are people who say so, they could be politicians who want to use the conflict for their own benefits but on the ground, the Nuer and the Dinka are living together. You go to Warrap and other states in Bahr el Ghazal, you find Nuer in the area. If it was a tribal conflict, do you think they would have gone there?

What happened in December 2013 was an attempt by some people to cut their way to the presidency through illegal means and everybody knows who these were. The government and the people said no and that what caused the current conflict. The media picked one side and portrayed it a tribal conflict but everybody has understood the cause of the conflict.

So what everybody wants at the moment is how this conflict can be resolved through peace dialogue and we are glad that the government is committed to bringing peace. The president has assured us of this commitment to bringing peace and this was why he accepted IGAD proposal and made several concessions. You know that there is no provision in the transitional constitution for the position of the prime minister but the president and the leadership has accepted this if it could bring peace, although there are people who think it would set a bad precedent and they are right by the way.

Q: Why do you think they are right?

A: Because what do you think will prevent other people from not doing the same, rebelling against the government if this is one of the ways to positions or get back to the government when one is removed. Anybody can do the same. They can rebel against the government because he/she knows there will be a compromise. I also think that this will set a bad example but what can be done when our people are dying, just because some people do not want not to be separated from power.

Q: As an elder and someone who loves peace to return to the country so that people pay attention to development and other things which are important to the building of the nation, what is the way forward? Do you have a position on how this conflict should be resolved?

A: The position of the elders, not just Dinka elders as such, but all elders from the ten states of the republic of South Sudan, some of whom participated in the meeting, others communicated with us by telephones and they accepted the initiative and mandated us to visit and have an audience with the president on their behalf, is that peaceful settlement is the only way out of this conflict. So it was after consultations that we decided go to the president to get briefing on the plan of government and to congratulate him on successful conduct of the consultative conference.

Q: Do you have a comment on the IGAD proposed power sharing?

A: I think you know that consultative conference which brought together different stakeholders in the country was held here last week and it came out with clear resolutions. One of these resolutions is that the current system is a presidential system in that the president remains the head of state and government as well as the commander in chief of all the armed forces. What this means is that the powers of the president will remain as defined in the transitional constitution of the republic of South Sudan, unless there are people wanting to go against the constitution which is what others have been citing as one of the causes of this conflict. They claimed President Salva Kiir has not respected the constitution, which is not true in the first place. So why do they want the same constitution to be violated?

Q: What is your personal take or view?

A: In my view, since there is no provision in the constitution for the position of the prime minister, the president should not be made to share powers. The prime minister which has been accepted is a position without powers. If someone does not want this position, then let that person wait for elections and give it to someone else from his group or another person from a different group in the conflict one if he thinks the proposal is not fair.


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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 2 December 2014 08:58, by Akook

    Are these the elders we have or children mumbling?!!!

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    • 2 December 2014 12:29, by Mi diit


      You are right. Those are typical primitive Dinka elders who make interviews in Dinka language but the reporter tried his best to translate it into English and also rephrased the wordings. This is what they do with Ayandit (Kiir’s wife) who speaks primitively but they always tried to make some sense out of her ragtag illogical comments. These Dinka elders do not know what is coming.

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      • 2 December 2014 12:35, by Mi diit

        Look at their primitive arguments as if a constitution cannot be amended in order to end the war.

        Khartoum amended its 2005 constitution and ended the war. And by the way, do Dinka elders and their drunkard Nyankiir respect the constitution?

        Why didn’t they conduct elections in Lakes and Unity states for governors as the constitution says. When war reaches Warrap, Faloij and Juba, they will...

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        • 2 December 2014 12:40, by Mr Point

          Which part of the Constitution allows the President to kill civilians and not be held accountable?

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          • 3 December 2014 00:59, by Wad alnas

            To "Mr Point" you were asking, what constitution that allow a president to kills civilians and not held accountable. to me is a great question if you where asking same thing about Riek Machar who always get away with crimes and not hold accountable but get reward with position instead of getting fire squad or get hang in publicly.

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        • 2 December 2014 12:49, by Mi diit

          But when this war reaches Warrap, Falloij and Juba, which will surely happen, it will be too late for them to try to come back to their senses or keep Nyankiir Museveni in power for a month. They will cry, mourn and blame themselves for the stupidity and lack of wise advice to their primitive, visionless son.

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  • 2 December 2014 09:13, by Paul Chadrack

    don’t call them dinka elders, they are all from warrap and kiir supporters. nothing could be consider from their bias words
    if they don’t want power sharing,let them just stepdown and leave power to the people of south sudan to select the right person regardles of tribe. kiir days are numbered in power,so let the so call elders for his region think twice befor releasing their useless words.

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    • 2 December 2014 09:35, by Morthon Akol

      I know some of you fear that Salva Kiir will abandon South Sudan, and I have a confidence that he have a dram to build democracy, when South Sudan regain their Sovereignty on July 9th 2011.

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    • 2 December 2014 10:52, by Mayom County Boy

      both side are refueling the crisis of south Sudan!
      south Sudan will remain nothing for some days .

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  • 2 December 2014 10:05, by Nyesi Ta

    Dinka elders: a recipe for disintegration of the Republic of South Sudan. This is a cha’am group of elder maintained by Salva Kiir at the expense of South Sudanese resources. These Bahe El Ghazal Jieng thugs must be stopped.

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    • 2 December 2014 10:16, by Nyesi Ta

      Yes, Mr. stupid x3, and idiot x3 Gen for nothing Dhel, you mean South Sudan constitution only recognize corruption and does nothing about it. You are a useless general who spends 24/7 of your time at the Central Pap playing cards, and dominoes, and has no idea what a constitution mean.

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  • 2 December 2014 10:16, by mzalendo mwema

    Riek supporters,

    You and the likes will never rule South Sudan.Because you are a group of fools which only thinks of Nuer interests.South Sudan belongs to all the 64 tribes and only their votes will remove Kiir from the power.Dr fool Riek Machar has failed competely in politics and he should go to exile because he has caused mess to his people.

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    • 2 December 2014 10:24, by Nyesi Ta

      Idiot, if you want rule, rule wisely and responsibly. South Sudan will not be ruled by stupid Dinka elders from BGR. You are just a bunch of stupid majority like your stupid Salva Kiir, Museveni’s (real man) fiancée.

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      • 2 December 2014 10:37, by Chol A.

        Breaking news.
        Midiit is in comma due to swearing that Kiir will not be president in December 15 this year. We are now on count down and his rebels movement are still far East of greater upper Nile which made Midiit break down in tears and failed unconcouse.

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        • 2 December 2014 12:55, by Mi diit

          Chol A.

          Your evil wishes will not come true. I am not Kiir or Malong to collapse. I was still sleeping because it was early morning here in Washington when that stupid article was posted on Sudan Tribune. Read my comments above, THUG!!!

          As I said on 15 December I will stop commenting in commemoration of the Juba Nuer massacre.

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      • 2 December 2014 10:38, by Gangura

        I am sure the Gen, Dhel will soon be given a position in the Kirr goverment because he is standing with idiot Kirr, but let me tell you Kirr is just a mess for us and we equatorians plus the rebels will never give up.

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      • 2 December 2014 11:47, by mzalendo mwema

        Nyesi Ta

        No matter how wisely and responsibly you rule fools,they always act foolishly.Your foolish groups (rebels) were given key positions in the government of South Sudan led by Salva Kiir.However, they all betrayed Kiir and they joined their Nuer Movement as usual.Any one who repeats the same thing over and over is called Fool.This is your Dr Fool Riek Machar because he rebels over and over

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        • 2 December 2014 13:45, by Nyesi Ta

          I am not supporting individuals like you. During the 2 decade war most of us did not support it because we have immediate family members in it but we stood with the movement cos of issues facing Junub. But at the end you guys just became a bunch of tribalist supporting Kiir simply cos of being your tribesman.

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  • 2 December 2014 20:24, by lino

    Hey Junubeen,
    Can I make this suggestion for 100 times now? We all need to sit under a TREE not in a hotel as 63+ tribes,choose your drink "Café, Tea, or Whisky", discuss and agree on a Co-Federation States of South Sudan and get a headache out of here.
    No President or PM positions will solve this problem anymore; let us be WISE PEOPLE

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  • 2 December 2014 21:24, by jijury

    For incompetent Salvatore Kiir and cohorts it’s against the constitution to share power, but not against the constitution to removed elected governors. How ridiculous is that? Kiir and his followers are embarrassing South Sudan globally the sad thing is they don’t know about it.

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