24 Feb 2019


Allocation Of Government Positions: How To Get It Wrong

"You have seemingly put all your eggs in one basket. Let’s hope you don’t drop it...Give us a start and we will always remember you well".

By Peter Deng*
If I were to give advice to President Kiir, I would tell him that when appointments are being handed out, they must not only fairly represent the entire country, they must also be ‘seen’ as being fair.
When the Defence Minister and the Minister for Information are from the same area, the people might accept it as a coincidence. However, when the president offered the position of Chief of Staff to someone who hails from the same area as the other two, the appointment appears to be anything but fair. It smells of patronage, or worse.
Why such a concentration of power? Is it some sort of political payoff? Are there no other qualified people in the entire country?
Mr. President, if you really look at the possible results of this appointment, you will see that there is no good outcome, only varying degrees of bad outcomes.
If your advisors recommended the appointment of this person, you should fire them for giving you bad advice. If you were advising yourself, maybe you should consider firing that person.
You have seemingly put all your eggs in one basket. Let’s hope you don’t drop it.
Fairness and equitable sharing of opportunities in the system seems to be non-existent.
The Hon Abel Alier failed to distribute and allocate resources and positions fairly, and as a result was accused of corruption and eventually we were rid of him.
“Payouts” in South Sudan: When are they appropriate?
The former Finance Minister, Hon. Akuien Chol, allocated two million dollars to heroes & heroines who died during the struggle.100 families were paid twenty thousand each.  However, we lost more than two million lives! Many survivors of the struggle are destitute.
Again, this shows a government that probably needs to get online and search the term “Public Relations”. It takes a real lack of talent to turn a payment to families of war veterans into a bad thing. Somehow, your government managed to do exactly that.
There is no doubt that those who received funds were deserving. There is also no doubt that all those who should receive restitution cannot receive it. There is simply not enough money for that. The better decision would have been not to pay anyone.
Recently, have you President Kiir asked for a cash incentive to leave office?
You were right in a sense to ask. However, the manner of asking was not appropriate. These issues should be fully addressed in parliament. Many countries embrace the concept as it allows leaders to leave with dignity. American presidents, whether good or bad, receive the same retirement package. It is one of the tools that allows for a peaceful change of leaders. You should be allowed to retire in a similar manner.
The other options available to you are not as pleasant for you or the country. A life in exile is not what we want to see for our first president. That signifies total failure.
The Gaddafi option is unpleasant for everybody. The Libya of today is a mess.
The best of all would be the first package because life is precious, and it would be wonderful for next generation to visit you at your place of retirement.
Often, revolutionary leaders don’t make great peacetime leaders. There are exceptions, but it is rare. There is no shame in the fact your term hasn’t gone very well. We are sure you did your best.
Why not go out in a good way as an example for the future. Push through legislation for putting a presidential retirement mechanism in place. Create some checks and balances regarding appointments, government projects and contracts. Get the ball rolling on the nuts and bolts of proper governance. Countries run on thousands of small initiatives. They aren’t exciting, but they are effective.
Give us a start and we will always remember you well.

*Peter Deng is publisher of Africa World Books 

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