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Cablegate: Splm - April Showers Bring July Reshuffles

VZCZCXRO6253
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1057/01 1961056
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141056Z JUL 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1333
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001057

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: SPLM - APRIL SHOWERS BRING JULY RESHUFFLES

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Ministerial absenteeism rates have soared in Juba
as talk of a comprehensive reshuffle of SPLM ministers and
commissioners in both Khartoum and Juba gains increasing
credibility. Reportedly, presumptive candidate lists were frozen in
mid-June as Vice President Riek Machar objected to a "Dinka-heavy"
list of appointees, and back-room negotiating has continued in the
days since. GOSS officials, diplomatic observers, and assumed
candidates themselves maintain a reshuffle is inevitable: Pagan Amum
must be replaced in Khartoum, the seat of the late SPLA Affairs
Minister Dominic Dim Deng must be filled in Juba, and President Kiir
has publicly committed himself to the appointment of a second female
governor in the South. Whether that becomes Presidential Advisor
Rebecca Garang or GNU State Minister for Energy and Mines Angelina
Teny Machar will demonstrate much about the SPLM some two months
after the party's national convention. END SUMMARY.

----------------------------------
THE VACANCIES: ACTUAL AND PRESUMED
----------------------------------

2. (SBU) The SPLM has a possible six vacancies to fill at present:
GNU Minister for Cabinet Affairs, GOSS Minister for SPLA Affairs,
Presidential Advisor for Decentralization, and should the movement
to install Arop Moyak in Abyei hold, the Chairman of the Southern
Sudan DDR Commission. Changes within the SPLM Constitution will
also require that the GOSS Health Minister and the Chair of the
Southern Sudan Peace Commission step down in order to assume the
SPLM state chairmanships in Unity and Eastern Equatoria states,
respectively.

3. (SBU) However, FM Alor told ConGen July 12 that Secretary General
Pagan Amum and Kiir have agreed to a modified policy by which state
party chairs can choose their fate: either keep their current
ministerial slots or relinquish their SPLM state chairman titles.
(COMMENT: Such a move effectively blunts Vice President Riek
Machar's pre-convention machinations to install "his people" into
positions of leadership within the party, and hands a sizeable
leadership victory to Kiir, whatever the outcome. END COMMENT).
Blue Nile State Governor Malik Agar has told ConGen staff he wishes
to resign as the state's governor in January 2009 in order to
concentrate on the affairs of the party - Kiir could move to replace
him now, should Agar's skills be deemed more useful elsewhere. This
would, however, be a tremendous loss for Blue Nile state during a
critical time. The SPLM General Secretariat remains to be
established, and some party insiders believe that various
undersecretaries may be transitioned from the ranks of the
Government of Southern Sudan into the party's administrative organs
- as a means of assuaging otherwise bruised egos.

------------
SPLA AFFAIRS
------------

4. (SBU) The position of SPLA Affairs Minister has been vacant since
the May 2 air crash that killed Dominic Dim Deng. Despite thrice
refusing the position since 2005, SPLA Chief of General Staff Oyai
Deng Ajak says he is now interested in the job - but insiders
believe that Kiir is unlikely to award it to him. Undersecretary for
Regional Cooperation (and presidential insider) Cirino Hiteng Ofuho
told ConGen PolOff that he believes Kiir's decision rests between
either Ajak or Jongelei Governor Kuol Manieng. However, Ajak remains
vocal in his criticism of Kiir to ConGen staff, particularly with
respect to forthcoming elections and internal matters affecting the
SPLM. Despite his propensity for reconciliation, it is unlikely
Kiir would want to place such a voice in his cabinet.

5. (SBU) Jongelei Governor Kuol Manieng remains the favored
candidate among the military's rank and file, who believe he will
ensure they are paid on time. Manieng's candidacy is also supported
by Rebecca Garang, a purported candidate for Jongelei's
gubernatorial vacancy should Manieng accept the ministerial post.
The Governor himself has been circumspect about the possible move.
At the margins of the National Convention, he told ConGen that he
was not interested in the position, but would be willing to go where
Kiir needed him. Despite recent public statements rejecting the
position, diplomatic observers and contacts in Bor believe he will
accept the position if asked by Kiir.

6. (SBU) Manieng's critics (and in some circles, competitors) are
less tight-lipped. Rival dark-horse candidate and retired SPLA
Brigadier General Garang Mabil described Manieng as "rude and
rigid," and was undeterred by arguments that perhaps increased
discipline was what the SPLA now needed. Mabil countered that the
SPLA required better, and more visionary leadership, before
launching into a derisive and dismissive attack on the Chief of
General Staff. Mabil, evidently confident in his own abilities on
the battlefield, is apparently not alone in that belief. The SPLA

KHARTOUM 00001057 002 OF 003


has pressed him into service to lead stabilization and civilian
disarmament activities in Warrap State, where recent tribal clashes
have displaced an estimated 11,000 people. Before his current
assignment in Warrap, he was stationed, despite his reserve status,
in the Abyei region, and charged with overseeing Misseriya OAG
integration into the SPLA. "Had I still be there," he commented
with no lack of self-aggrandizement, "the Abyei crisis would have
never occurred."

7. (SBU) UN sources believe Unity State Governor Taban Deng Gai is
also a candidate for the ministerial position, but Post is less
convinced. Despite being wildly unpopular in his state, and faced
with a near-daily battle of defending himself from personal attacks
by supporters of GNU State Minister for Energy and Mines Angelina
Teny Machar, Kiir quashed internal dissent within the state SPLM
Chapter on July 4, publicly stating before a crowd wielding
anti-Taban placards that "I did not come to Bentiu to remove Taban,
because I believe he is doing a fine job of managing the affairs of
this state, and he has my full trust and support." According to
SPLM officials traveling with the Chairman, Kiir then pulled SPLM
leadership aside to chastise them at length, noting "if you want
(GOSS Health Minister) Montieng to be Governor, you must elect him
in 2009."

-------
FINANCE
-------

8. (SBU) Vice President Riek Machar is actively campaigning for the
removal of Finance Minister Kuol Athian Mawien. Machar has agitated
for Dinka Minister Paul Mayom to be placed on the chopping block as
well; while Mayom is likely safe, some in the GOSS believe Mawien's
performance during the Sudan Donor Consortium negatively impacted
the size of international contributions, and while the President has
supported his policies to date, the Minister has been unable to
rectify the financial damages wrought by Juba's first finance
minister, sacked in 2006 for credible charges of corruption. Some
in the GOSS believe current Minister for Information Gabriel
Changson Chang could become Finance Minister, while still others
indicate that the role could be filled by Nhial Deng Nhial. Nhial
himself is coy about what ministerial positions he is being pressed
to accept by Kiir and "local constituents." While Changson was
regarded as an adept minister fully capable of keeping suspect
director generals in check, UNDP Technical Advisor Fiona Davies does
not believe the Finance Ministry could withstand its fourth
leadership reshuffle in three years, and has offered that viewpoint
to Minister for Presidential Affairs Luka Biong Deng.

--------------------
REGIONAL COOPERATION
--------------------

9. (SBU) Arguably, the most disturbing chatter about a government
reshuffle remains the possibility of Lam Akol being inserted as
Minister for Regional Cooperation. Not so much a page out of the
"keep your enemies close" playbook as a numbers game, Undersecretary
for Regional Cooperation has allowed that if Akol were to be placed
in the job he personally would move to another function within the
Ministry of Presidential Affairs - "I will not work for him." While
few are thrilled with such a possibility, SPLM insiders argue that
Kiir is fairly certain the GOSS Health Minister, under pressure from
Machar, will step down from his ministerial position to assume the
Unity State SPLM Chairmanship, and current Regional Cooperation
Minister Barnaba Benjamin holds the correct medical credentials to
take on this portfolio.

---------------
WOMEN GOVERNORS
---------------

10. (SBU) The drama of the SPLM National Convention -- the
near-subterfuge by Vice Chairman Riek Machar and prima donna antics
of Secretary General Pagan Amum -- were surpassed by President Salva
Kiir Mayardit's public concession that the Government of Southern
Sudan was not doing enough to visibly support the SPLM's mandate of
"25% representation for women" and his commitment to appoint a
second women governor in the South. During speeches at the SPLA's
silver jubilee one week later, Rebecca Garang made it clear that she
considered herself a candidate. Should Garang's recovery from
surgery in London make her unable to accept a gubernatorial slot,
Teny's appointment in Unity (despite the political baggage of being
married to the VP) becomes more likely, particularly as Kiir moves
to cement Machar's loyalty to the party and blunt his criticism that
the new leadership will not be "diverse enough for the needs of the
South."

11. (SBU) GNU State Minister for Energy and Mines Angelina Teny

KHARTOUM 00001057 003 OF 003


Machar has actively and directly courted the votes of Nuer in Unity
State - her husband's bank-rolling of Governor Taban Deng Gai's
ouster as SPLM State Chairman has been regarded by many as the
opening salvo of his wife's gubernatorial campaign. Senior GOSS
officials opine that should Teny take the seat in Bentiu, Gai would
assume her duties in Khartoum - a reshuffle similar to that which
occurred between erstwhile Jongelei Governor Philip Thon Leek and
present Governor Kuol Manieng.

--------------
MACHAR'S EDICT
--------------

12. (SBU) Despite widely held belief that Machar's own standing
within the GOSS is safe despite active discussions during the SPLM
National Convention to remove him from the Vice Presidency, Machar
continues to work his own slate of candidates for a reshuffle. He
has reportedly met with Kiir on three separate occasions to discuss
the need for "an ethnic balance" within the cabinet, with allegedly
little reaction by the President. Minister for Industry and Mines
John Luk Jok opined to ConGen that Machar would be better served by
placing his energies behind saving his wife's career in Khartoum.
"Angelina has done absolutely nothing for us," Jok argued, "she is
always traveling to Bentiu to disturb Taban, her interactions with
me are marginal, and her reports to the party superficial. The
Chairman continues to be frustrated by her performance."

--------
KHARTOUM
--------

15. (SBU) As he noted to us in May and reconfirmed more recently,
Pagan Amum is shortly due to step-down as GNU Cabinet Affairs
Minister in order to devote himself fully to his duties as SPLM
*Secretary* General. Foreign Minister Deng Alor professed ignorance
as to Kiir's plausible candidates for Amum's position, noting only
that "the decision was a difficult one," and that Kiir continued to
meet with party officials on the subject. CDA has been informed by
Pagan himself in Khartoum that Akol may be in the running for the
Cabinet Affairs position, however. Despite his continued antics in
Upper Nile State which recently pitted Amum's Shilluk faction
against Akol's Shiluk faction in the sacking of the Speaker of the
State Assembly, Kiir and Akol reconciled following Akol's humble
appearance before Kiir in the period following former GNU State
Minister for Justice Alieu Alieu and SPLM GNU Presidential Advisor
Telar Deng's dismissal from the SPLM.

-------
COMMENT
-------

16. (SBU) Kiir's expected reshuffle appears to be an additional step
toward party consolidation following the SPLM National Convention.
Moreover, it appears to be a legitimate attempt to actualize recent
GOSS Council of Minister discussions on decentralizing government to
the state level - something that can be effective only with
high-caliber, and highly capable, ministers in Juba. SPLA Affairs
remains the most vital slot to fill in the coming weeks, and the
most likely to draw scrutiny from Khartoum. Mawien's removal from
Finance would be unfortunate, but it could serve to make the SPLM
immune from fresh corruption allegations in the run-up to the 2009
elections. Should it hold, the most significant development in any
of the machinations outlined above is Kiir's continued - and
seemingly increasingly successful - moves to contain Machar. That
alone should strengthen GOSS and SPLM performance considerably in
the months to come.

FERNANDEZ

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