South Sudan: The Kiir’s Dictatorial Leadership mixed with Tribalism

By Yien Lam

kiir in aweil with malong gov and lonuro minister sep 2013President Salva Kiir, Governor Paul Malong and Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Lomuro (black suit) during the public rally. [NASS: Thomas Keneth]

March 6, 2014(Nyamilepeda) —  Since the helicopter crashed that took the life of Dr.John Garang in 2005, South Sudan leadership slipped into autocratic way of governing, in which nobody knew about it only party insiders. This rivalry became intensified and burst into almost a full crisis in 2008 when the president was about to remove the general secretary and his vice at the same time as he just did in past July of 2013. So, everything became tense within the party. When he saw how bad it was; he reinstated them into their positions in which resulted into running mate model in 2008. At that point in time, Things were loosely done in last eight years due to the president heeding not the advice given to him by his vice due to fiction within the party till the Vice president announced his intention to run for the splm leadership in May 2013. As the matter of fact, this became the trigger of catastrophe that our country is facing today. It lighted all wire that the incompetent president and his likes may have reserved to get rid of Dr.Riek Machar and his group.

As the man began his dictatorial job, he started it off by heeding clandestine plan from his sycophants by the intention to eliminate top Nuers generals who were negatively connected to the vice president. He  did so and then promoted  his lower loyal  officers in pretext of corruption in the military ranks. In this matter, the President sidelined the supposed to be promoted senior officers who were also deploy as well as retiring majority of them as planned. As mentioned above, President promoted the lower officers to the head of their Nuers comrades. Intriguingly, as the result, the Kiir’s kin or loyal men who supposed to retire as expected by the public according to the president were instead promoted and given official job. The sole examples of these are the current Inspection-Generals Pieng Deng as well as  current governor of lake state Matur Chut. None of the Nuers senior officers with in the same group is promoted. What does that mean to you as the Southerners? Should the head of the family treat his kids like that? If so, Should the family as such continue to survive if its head acts as such? In my view, a family as such would earn the benefit of doubt if not total failure. In my opinion, a head of family should treat everyone the same. Favoring one and deserting another would only create disunity within such family. As the matter of facts, When the president saw it there was no reaction as his sycophants have thought it should, he then stripped all the power that he initially given to him as his vice .From that point on, the president had given the stripped portfolio known as National Reconciliations and Healings to REV Deng Bol.If you carefully look at this assignment, it was not fair for the president to hand pick REV Deng Bol  again because he was in fact did not succeeded in Jonglei state that he headed the same title between its communities . In my view, however, this job should have been given to Chuol Rambang that he the president himself chose as Peace and Reconciliation Commission in South Sudan. Should that not be a reasonable person for it?  To me, it should. Because he needs his own way to control his opponent, he chose not to do so for the sake of peace. Nonetheless, president did not stop there. He persistently postponed the SPLM Convention that was supposed to take place in May of 2013.The dogged postponements was intended to know Pro- Machar within the party in order to isolate them.

In the nutshell, in the party partial convention, the unheeded disagreement emerge when the president proposed and demanded show of hands voting as oppose to the secret ballots in convention. He stressed that the voting process in the 3rd National Convention must be show of hands in which was undemocratic in nature as well as in principles. But the president has demanded it anyway in order to know exactly who was on his side and who wasn’t. One cannot find this method of voting in any country in world. The secret voting method is the only way around the world since its introduction in various countries in the globe. For example, this system was passed into law by Australia in1850, British in 1872, Canada in 1874 United States of America in 1892, and so forth. The intention of passing the law as such, was to protect the individual right to choose freely without intimidation and bribery. But this seems not to be the case in kiir’s South Sudan. He wanted to change the meaning of secret ballot into his advantages. This was the breaking point for the man to be known openly by other within the party. This step has changed him from the normal way of running democratic system to a terrible U turn. A person claiming to be a democratically elected cannot demand such a thing when we are telling the truth. Not only that, Kiir had also demanded the SPLM party to handpick at least 5% of delegations out of  100 from each ten states of South Sudan. This was intended by kiir’s encircle to give him a leeway to wield his absolute power on those who oppose him in the party.

However, kiir did not halt there as expected. He continues what his sycophant planed for him as to get right of Dr.Riek Machar in which they are now secretly regretted even though I did not speak to them directly. I know it. They did so, by dissolved the whole government to prevaricate on the public while they purposely did it in order to get rid of Dr.Riek Machar.In this sense though, Dr. Riek did not react as negatively as he could. He mistakenly thought democratic principles would work on his behave, in which I truly doubt in Kiir’s South Sudan. Finally, the kiir’s’ dictatorial last u turn was the political bureau meeting in which did not go well. As the result of it, Kiir has planned to arrest those who were against him by all mean. Within that, kiir ordered his loyalists to disarm the Nuers soldiers within the integrating units of the SPLA with in republican guards as they call it and that was where the fight started and partially control. The next day, Kiir did strategic mistake by declaring the curfew that led to the death of innocent Nuers on the 15th of December. The death of all those innocents people happened because kiir and his likes were defeated politically by Dr.Riek Marchar’s team that was why he created the mess in wanting Machar to say something related to coup as he finally had it, and Machar was closely missed of being killed by the regime. In this scenario, however, If 15th of December was a coup  as his regime has been portrayed on the media or not, what would be the reason for the government to kill only one ethnic groups while there were Baria, shilluk,Dinkas and Nuers within Dr.Riek  Machar’s Camp? The answer is yours. Mind will sincerely be different with yours because if it was coup or not, Innocent Nuers would have not been killed either way. To be candid though, they were killed simply because of their affiliation with Dr.Riek machar ethnically. That was it. If that was not the case, Shilluk, Dinka and Baria civilians should have been killed if the definition of the coup has been changed from the military to the civilians as it did to  the Nuers. But because it was the smear tactic by the regime to isolate only one ethic group, that did not happen.

Moreover, to make the things worse, kiir fused his dictatorial power with tribalism to solidify his tribal base in term of an economic ascendancy. Economic monopoly of President’s kin became reality in South Sudan. One could  have ask him/herself why only kiir’s aggregate of his kin mainly in greater Bhar el Ghazal  had what every it takes to be prosperous than the others groups in the country? Should that be their smartness than others groups in the country? This may meddle the minds of many. But it would not apply to the most, me included because those of Bahr el Ghazal cannot outwit the rest of the country men. It was because of their accessibility to the country resources due to the power invested in one person. Not only economic prosperity, public media has been a weapon of choice by the president’s tribal men. For instance, Malak Ayuen in public relations, Philip Aguer Panyang in military and Ateny Wek Ateny as the secretary of press. What is this tell you as the ordinary South Sudanese? In my view, this has shown many colour if not most about the building of an empire this president has done and it is the way where the things get out of hands on the minds of people of South Sudan. These folks controlled everything in term of information. If you look at this as the rationalize individual, do you think there are no others qualify individuals from other 63 tribes in South Sudan who could do such a job?  No! It is not. This was not and will never be the may think so, only if you are among the single-minded persons who are always thinking of no other but only themselves. The reasonable individuals who think inclusively cannot even attempt to repudiate the facts. However, the world knows what is going on inside the country of ours. No matter what Kiir and his kin may be trying to portray on media. Things are obvious to everyone. There is no way to deny the reality. “As the Bible says, if you know the truth, it will make you free.” This is true and it will apply to the one who knows not about it.In this quote, if kiir and his likes do not know the truth, then, they will not be free until they know it. Truth is not concealable. It is always apparent.Kiir and his companions may play whatever games they want to play. Ultimately, they will fail miserably because truth will reveal itself. This will only be a matter of time before things work themselves out.

Nonetheless, South Sudan today has historical bias created by this regime if not the past one. History has been twisted to 1983.The struggle for the South Sudan independence has started long before the date mentioned above as the regime sympathizers manipulated on the SSTV and recognize public events to the regime’s kin dating such as may 16th 1983   and July 30th 2005 which mark the death of Dr.John Garang.What about others? Be the judge! In Contrast, the regimes completely unheeded the August 18th 1955 as well as 1975 Torit and Akobo mutiny sequentially. These two historical instances have nowhere to be found in today’s South Sudan.  They have been downgraded to the ashes in the minds of regime’s backers. But still alive on the minds of most South Sudanese. However, in numerous national events and commemorations, the heroes of today South Sudan struggle have been presented by regime’s kin as the only ones that had achieved everything in all sort of life when the regime seemed to recognize the past. But mostly, the whole history has been shifted from 1983 to present.  If one seriously looks at that, how would it be possible without considering contributions that had been done by the people in the mentioned dates? It wouldn’t be. But would be possible for all four. I am neither denying1983 nor discredited 2005.what I am saying is, we should value all historical days as even as we could. We should not be biased to our history as it has been the case in this regime. This is a fact and Only Moron backers of the regime may have denied this. A free biase individual cannot and will never deny this at all.

Finally, South Sudan today is idolizing or revering the people who  did not  contribute an effort to the cause as heroes as we speak because of the regime that heavy investing on the tribal base. This is happening every day in front of our eyes. These included people  like William Deng, Abel Alier, Santino Deng,Bullen Alier and countless other of the regime’s kin. What did these names do than other South Sudanese? Be the judge and when you analytically look at  those names, you will satisfy by yourself and be able to judge the truth. These mentioned names are always being revered as heroes while sidelining the real heroes that most people know of, such as Joseph Oduho, Joseph Lagu, Both Dieu Samuel Gai Tut and countless other. These Heroes supposed to be honor in South Sudan plus theirs if they were fair. But seems not to be the case in kiir’s nation that is intended to promote his kin rather than the Country’s heroes. Honoring people who had done little if any at all while leaving the ones who hardly fought for the freedom of all is disgrace. They deserved to have symbolic things to remember them for if the regime is serious enough for the history rather than twisting it. Without them, people of South Sudan would have not otherwise vote in 2011.They did so because of the history made by those heroes. Putting them on the dark side of our history that they had initiated, is a terrible orchestrated mistake that ever done in the history of the human kind. This has only been done by the regime whose power and tribalism had been mixed as the tool to twist the history of South Sudan in which will not continue to happen in years to come.

The author is concerned South Sudanese and can be reached at