By Gladys Fred Kole
A civil society activist has expressed a different stance on the recent Presidential Decrees that have seen the dismissal and hire of officials into senior government positions.
Galdino Ocham Ojok, the executive director of the South Sudanese Network for Democracy and Elections (SSuNDE), sees nothing positive but rather appointees taking the available window of opportunity to siphon public funds.
On Monday, in a decree read on state-run SSBC radio and television, President Salva Kiir sacked Central Bank governor Johnny Ohisa Damian and his two deputies.
He also fired the Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority, Athian Diing Anthian, and elevated his deputy, Africano Mande, to the latter’s successor.
The president also effected some changes in the national ministries of finance and economic planning and, trade and industry, appointing undersecretaries to the two financial institutions.
However, in response, activist Ojok claimed that the hiring and firing of officials in public offices inspires the frontrunners to loot and do nothing good because they already know that they are there for a short period of time.
He said President Kiir’s way of appointing and removing public officials does not solve the problems that the country is already battling with, but rather worsens the situation.
“The worst is, if you continue changing senior government officials, I mean, leaders, like the ministers and the chairpersons of commissions and the revenue authority, you know, commissioners, and so on, you are already telling them that whoever comes and eats, you have only maybe three months or six months. So, nobody is going to do anything good.” Ojok lamented.
The SSuNDE executive director further stressed that the more the decree system is applied, the worse the situation becomes.
“They are just coming to get whatever they can get and go and disappear with it, and that’s the most unfortunate thing with decrees,” Galdino noted.
“If I know that I will only take three or six months without even accomplishing some of my objectives or goals that I have come up with, do you think I will just stand by and let things happen? No. So to me, I’m negative about these changes. It doesn’t bear any fruit, whatever the reasons. Galdino reiterated.
The activist emphasized that even an economist appointed today to handle, for instance, the Bank of South Sudan or the Ministry of Finance, getting the same people on the system who are already used to the fluidity of the system changes nothing.
Mr. Ojok urged the government to take some drastic measures in order to effect some changes.
“They will continue doing the same thing. I don’t see any change here unless some drastic measures are taken,” he said.
It is the second time President Kiir has removed a Central Bank governor in just over a year.