July 26, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– The retired general, Taban Deng Gai, who took oath today as the new First Vice President replacing Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the Commander-in-chief and chairman of SPLM/SPLA in Opposition, has sworn his allegiance to President Salva Kiir as his Commander in Chief and calls for the abolition of SPLA-IO.
Speaking after his swearing-in ceremony to a position that requires the holder to be the Commander in Chief and Chairman of the armed opposition, SPLM/SPLA-IO, Taban spoken sweet and softly, mostly, to please the president.
While assuring his allegiance, the former Chief negotiator surrenders his supposedly SPLA-IO army and calls on civilians under the protection of the United Nations to come out and begin contributing to building the nation.
“I will work with all of you and my target is that you [IDPs] come out of the refugee camps, you will return to your homes and help develope your country” Taban said.
“As I said, you re my commander in chief, the country cannot have two armies” he continued.
President Salva Kiir has high hope that Taban could be the next messiah for the people of South Sudan.
“What I want comrade Taban to do is actually for all of us, to silence the guns, we must stop the war.” Kiir said.
Although it is yet to be seen, Taban does not control the SPLA in Opposition, in fact many generals who defected from Machar in the past cited Taban as their internal enemy.
Speaking to disgruntled generals in Nairobi in December 2015, Maj. Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, who spoke on behave of the defected senior generals, clearly blames his defection on Taban saying that the chief negotiator took his position as the deputy Chief of SPLA-IO for logistics and Machar could not intervene.
Gai has also been tested in United States, however, his leadership witnessed many defections of many senior SPLA generals including the Lt. Gen. Peter Gatdet, Lt. Gen. Baping Manytuil and maj. gen Mathew Puljang among other senior generals.
Most of these bull Nuer generals teamed up with Taban main’s rival, Dr. Joseph Nguen Manytuil, who took power from Taban through a presidential decree in mid 2013.
The rivalry between Taban and Dr. Nguen, whose brother Gen. Bapiny is now a deputy chief of staff on Kiir’s side, saw Nguen group vacating the city as Taban began to gain President Salva Kiir’s confidence.
Despite that Taban’s allegiance to President Salva Kiir is hoped to bring peace to the war-torn country, the unity within Kiir’s ranks alone is at risk.
Taban could be forced to resign if the First Vice President returns but it is less unlikely given that Salva Kiir government is now weighing military solution to crush Riek Machar and his forces.