FVP Gen. Taban Deng Gäi: A Poor Clone of Dr. Riek Machar.
By Junior William Deng
August 10, 2016(Nyamilepedia) ——- There are many analyses on political emergence of the then Governor of defunct Unity State and the “Battle of Guards,” end result FVP Gen. Taban Deng Gäi. His recent took over of First Vice President of South Sudan and SPLM -IO leadership from his former boss Dr. Riek Machar Teny has completely divided the country into: those who are celebrating the overthrowing of Dr. Riek by Taban; and those who have heavily criticised Taban and cohorts for conspiring against ARCISS born FVP Dr. Riek Machar. But as independent thinker, I have these trends:
1. Gen. Taban Deng Gäi has been on the side of President Kiir since 2010 general elections. This bonding made SPLM break & defile its laws and political processes to install Gen. Taban as the Governor of Unity State over Madame Angelina Teny. Taban Deng indeed lost elections but he was officially rigged into power by the Party -SPLM Politburo.
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This informal process divided Bentiu on clan basis leading to many military insurgencies until forces loyal to Angelina were defeated. His disappointment from the governorship during 2013 demand of political pluralism in the country exacerbated lost of trust between him and the president – his friend turned foe. He made skirmishes that fueled 2013 ethnic war. This happened because he expected to be given Ministry of Petroleum since he was released from governorship; Beny Salva didn’t do it as he expected. This escalated his already worse relationship with the President and probably mobilised for war; he pushed and convinced his tribesmen including Dr. Riek Machar to fight Kiir militarily.
2. Even in Pagak/Addis Ababa as Chief negotiator of the SPLM- IO; TDG was not instransigent as was his former boss. This was prompted by the fact that he was not in good terms with Teny’s ambitious duo, he began to looked out for friends across negotiation table. He convinced Amb. Lol Gatkuoth to decam FDs’ political camp and joined him to counter relate with Machar’s hopefuls. During negotiations he was slowly busy building & reconstructing his damaged relationship with President and Hon. Nhial Deng. There were times; TDG would collaborate with SPLM – IG to push FDs into the negotiation overboard or periphery. This didn’t work due to the experience and negotiation prowess, charm and diplomatic abilities FDs enjoy over waring counterparts. He slowly grew into a trusted friend of Juba regime.
3. TDG as a politician; he sees himself as a leader, change agent and positive alternative to the Dinkas than Dr. Riek Machar who has been in political dichotomy with the Dinka for two decades now. He had this in mind all along but he feared backlashes and social remorse from his tribe. But then he calculated and found a bearing. The fact that Nuer Bul are with the regime gives him an audacity of trial (not hope) to consolidate his political power base in Bentiu. He got euphoric support from Dinka power brokers to finally made this mouth agape decision.
4. Gen. Taban has proven that he is a living doubt on Dr. Riek side. Riek knew Taban wanted juicy Ministry of Petroleum this time under the ARCISS but because be didn’t trust him, it was given away to a new found blue eye. TDG reacted more faster than Dr. Riek could have imagined: he resigned as SPLM -IOs’ chief negotiator and from other ARCISS committees. This was a tact on his side; he became loose and charted his ambition linear to SPLM-IG, his long time courted political association. This put Dr. Riek Machar on the cold.
5. Gen. Taban after infamous “Battle of Guards,” he was conscious, lively and courageous than his bosses. He publicly said on Al-Jazeera news that, “there is one President and one Army.” He should not have made such statement on that fateful day, if he had not harnessed his interest – becoming the FVP of the Republic of South Sudan. He signed two armies with their Security valves and on that day, he declared one President, one Army. An obnoxious obscene reality was smoking!
6.Forget: Taban is not on temprorarly basis; he is the FVP whether Dr. Riek comes or not. Don’t doubt this dynamity. He is at his best and he has made political coalition with SPLM – IG. This is politics and it is interestingly dirty here!
7. He has achieved things this far but he can’t give President Kiir Nuer Support, he is a poor clone of Dr. Riek Machar tribal supremacy. In fact, TDG don’t have natural support of SPLM -IO’s politicians. What he got are politicians who are endearing to save their lives. There are no IO forces in Juba and even if there are remnants, they would have surely melted into the society. Taban calculated this and forged military relationship with Gen. Paul Malong. He is, since the battle of guards protected by President Kiir soldiers. Those who obeyed this new allegiance got protected or otherwise they need to fear Mathiang Anyoor.
8. TDG don’t have meaningful support of the IO’s command council but he can gauge support of the deadly Monytuil warlords and their accomplice Mathew Puljang. To get more support militarily, it will depend on his war economic situation. Nuer Youth, women, and local leaders from both Western Nuer and Eastern Nuer do support Dr. Machar. This mythologically anchored support for Dr. Riek will give Taban and allies run for their money and personnel. Dr. Riek remains the only prophesied leader that would proclaim Naath Nation and South Sudan. To undo this mythology is to say, unless Ngundeng Bong scripture is misconstrued to mean Gen. Taban Deng Gäi.
9. Gen. Taban has enhanced TGoNU defacto; this means that there is no TGoNU and ARCISS is no more, if at all it is on life support then it will be renegotiated on new terms in totality the way general Taban desires. Political association is won but peace and stability are far-fetched. This depends on Dr. Riek survival in the helicopter infested forest. Gen. Taban is not a prototype of Dr. Riek to amass support among Nuer People and a lot is yet to be ascertained.
The author, Junior William Deng, is a concern South Sudanese, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org