JUBA – South Sudan’s opposition-nominated minister of health Elizabeth Acuei has this afternoon issued a ministerial order suspending the undersecretary in the ministry of health after an apparent power struggle between the two triggered the involvement of Vice-President Hussein Abdelbaggi in favor of the undersecretary.
In the order seen by Sudans Post, the minister cited powers given to her under article 114 (2) and article 31 of the transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011. She suspended the undersecretary and then formed a “Disciplinary Board” to investigate the undersecretary.
“In exercise of the powers conferred upon me under Article 114 (2) (c) and Article 31 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 (as amended), read together with the Republican Decree No: 222/2020; I, Hon. Elizabeth Acuei Yol, Minister for Health, do hereby issue this Ministerial Order [for the] Suspension of Dr Victoria Anib Majur, from her duties as the Undersecretary for the Ministry of Health,” she said in the ministerial order.
The minister also ordered the “Formation of Disciplinary Board to investigate and report to the Minister within 90 days in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Service Act and Regulations” and then named Dr Samson Paul Baba as the “Acting Undersecretary for the Ministry of Health.”
The minister further directed the newly-appointed undersecretary “to take the necessary measures to implement the order” as “This Order shall come into force on the date of its signature by the Minister.”
According to article 114 of the constitution, “A Minister in the National Government shall be the head of his or her ministry and his or her decisions shall prevail therein. However, the National Council of Ministers may review, amend or cancel such decisions; the President may suspend the decision of a Minister pending such review or cancellation.”
Article 31 which the minister also cited said: “All levels of government shall promote public health, establish, rehabilitate and develop basic medical and diagnostic institutions and provide free primary health care and emergency services for all citizens.”
The ongoing power struggle begun on October 10, 2021, after the undersecretary – acting, allegedly, on directives of Vice-president Hussein Abdelbaggi – made reassignment of director-generals and directors without consulting the minister.
On October 15, the minister issued a ministerial order suspending the reassignments made by the undersecretary, sparking a warning from Vice-president Hussein who nullified the ministerial order cancelling the changes saying the actions of the undersecretary were justified because the minister was not in the country.
South Sudan Doctors Union (SSDU) has appealed to President Salva Kiir Mayardit to intervene to resolve the power struggle within the ministry of health to avert deterioration of the already fragile health system in the country.
“The SSDU further calls on H E Salva Kiir Mayardit and the entire Presidency to quickly intervene, find a lasting solution to the differences, and put the MoH back on the right path,” partly read a statement issued by the SSDU on Tuesday .
“The SSDU hopes the Presidency will encourage the MoH leadership to maintain high integrity and professionalism and carry out their mandate for the benefit of the people of South Sudan,” the statement added.