South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit has issued an executive order preventing Pagan Amum Okiech, the secretary-general of the governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) from travelling outside the country during an investigation into his conduct, according to a report broadcast on state-owned South Sudan Television (SSTV) on Thursday.
Kiir quoted article 25 (K) of the 2008 constitution, read together with article 23 (2) of the 2006 basic rules and regulations guiding the functions and conduct of the former rebel movement turned ruling party, as the basis for the order.
Under the conditions of the order, Amum is barred from holding press conferences or making statements to the media.
The president has also directed him to strictly observe the basic rules and regulations of the party throughout the period of the investigation.
However, Kiir, who is also the chairperson of the governing party, did not say what he intends to do should Amum challenge the decision under constitutional provisions which permits freedom of expression.
The South Sudanese president on 23 July issued an order in his capacity as leader of the SPLM suspending the secretary general of the ruling party and formed a committee to probe charges against him.
COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS
The five-member committee, headed by the leader of the national legislative assembly speaker, James Wani Igga, has been tasked with investigating allegations Amum mismanaged the affairs of the SPLM, both administratively and politically. Amum is also accused of insubordination for using the public media to discredit the party and its leadership.
According to the terms of reference obtained by Sudan Tribune, the committee will investigate comments made by Amum allegedly inciting tribal sentiments in the country after he criticised a presidential order that lifted the immunity of cabinet affairs minister Deng Alor Kuol and finance and economic planning minister Kosti Manibe Ngai, both of whom were implicated in a questionable $8 million transfer for the purchase of fire safety equipment without the president’s knowledge or authorisation.
The secretary-general will also answer allegations of deliberately creating divisions aimed at undermining party unity, showing disrespect to the leadership and impeding the proper functioning of party structures.
Amum has not yet reacted to his suspension, although a brief, thinly-veiled comment published on his Facebook page on Tuesday read simply: “dictatorship in the making”.