In a dangerous political tactic, which can threaten the stability of his young nation, the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has sacked his entire cabinet in an apparent effort to remove his rivals from power. South Sudan only became independent in 2011 and is still reeling from its war of independence and unresolved economic and resource conflicts with Sudan. Those removed include two powerful leaders of the war for independence, Riek Machar and Pagan Amum, who have significant support among former rebels and ethnic groups in the country. Machar had reportedly made it clear that he intended to challenge Kiir for the presidency in the next elections, scheduled for 2015.
Despite assurances by the government of South Sudan that it is business as usual, the fact that it mobilised the military to protect key installations makes it clear that Kiir is aware that he has started down a perilous path. South Sudan’s economy and borders remain fragile. The country cannot afford unnecessary divisions at this time. As its first president, Kiir has a responsibility to put the stability of the country ahead of his own ambitions.