The fate of the prominent Pagan Amum, a man who earned the reputation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s (SPLM) most ardent politician during the six years of the CPA’s interim period, became lately the focus of great speculation both in Khartoum and Juba. Amum reportedly failed to show up on 10 July to take his oath of office as Minister of Peace in President Kiir’s caretaker government. According to a press statement released by his office the Secretary General of the SPLM handed in his resignation from the ministerial post which he assumed last year. Speaking on 22 July Amum stated that he had also resigned from his post as Secretary General of the SPLM. The explanation he gave for the decision was the usual claim of sacrifice. “We have just achieved the dream of our people for freedom. For me, it was not about the power but it was all about liberation and freedom” declared Amum.
To no great surprise the big man reportedly recoiled from the resignation on 23 July. Garang Deng, the Minister of Oil in the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), told the press that Amum will lead the delegation of the Republic of South Sudan (RoSS) to the next round of talks with the Khartoum government on 29 July in Addis Ababa. Deng explained that President Kiir had rejected Amum’s resignation and Amum had reconsidered. “I have just taken an oath of the office presided over by our presidential comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit for appointing me once again as caretaker minister in the ministry of peace. This is the same ministry you all know to which I was appointed” said the disciplined Pagan Amum after his swearing in ceremony on 23 July.
Lately Amum got embroiled in friendly fire with Lual Deng, the SPLM’s Minister of Oil in the CPA’s pre-secession Khartoum Government of National Unity. Amum accused pro-unity Deng of betraying South Sudan and the SPLM by agreeing to grant Khartoum a 40% share of the oil revenues for July despite the fact that the CPA and with it the oil sharing formula between the central government and the GoSS expires on 9 July. Deng responded to Amum’s allegations with the claim that the Secretary General had embezzled three million dollars and illicitly profited from the sale of the telecommunications provider VIVACELL in South Sudan. Moreover, Deng argued that the July 40% arrangement was concluded with the knowledge and consent of President Kiir himself.
Whatever the background for Amum’s flash resignation, the lesson is that it was not a resignation but the coded courtesy of a weakened politician. The analogy I presume is the apology between apparent friends. A hurt friend responds to the ‘sorry ‘of another with the courteous phrase ‘Really no problem! There is really no need to apologize!’ Kiir answering Pagan was possibly saying ‘Really no problem. There is really no need to resign’. What the problem is though, I suppose, is already included in Pagan’s “This is the same ministry you all know to which I was appointed”.