Taban Deng Gai’s appointment as FVP: A complete delusion that “implementation of ARCISS must continue without Riek Machar”!

By Bol Khan

Former Machar allies, now serving Salva Kiir's side, Taban Deng Gai, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth and Stephen Dhieu Mathok Ding, drinking tea at a kiosk in Juba.(Photo: file)

Former Machar allies, now serving Salva Kiir’s side, Taban Deng Gai, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth and Stephen Dhieu Mathok Ding, drinking tea at a kiosk in Juba.(Photo: file)

Sept 13, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —— Taban Deng Gai’s appointment as South Sudan’s First Vice President (FVP) was a total delusion that “the implementation of ARCSS (Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan) would move on; without SPLM-IO’s Dr. Riek Machar”! Taban Deng was appointed, by the President, to his current gory position he illegally holds, on 25th July 2016 two weeks after “unknown gunmen” destroyed Dr. Riek Machar’s residence and forced the later to flee Juba on 11th July 2016.

Perhaps, they (the so-called unknown guns men plus known men) did oust Dr. Riek Machar from Juba and subsequently appointed Taban FVP for variety of reasons, some of which are mentioned below. First, they did it, maybe, as a part of divide and rule ploy; a policy of buying times at the expense of innocently suffering civilians, usually use by anti-peace groups worldwide. Second, the appointment of Taban Deng as FVP was meant to swindle the world that the TGoNU and the peace agreement signed last year  was still alive, especially after 8th -11th July 2016 deadly clashes in Juba. That’s to say; for both unknown and well known gunmen in Juba, the implementation of the peace agreement must continue moving on even without Dr. Machar! Third, they also thought Taban appointment as FVP was going to portray Riek Machar a person who is politically eliminated in the SPLM/A-IO’s leadership as well as in the grassroots level.

In retrospect, majority of Riek Machar’s supporters worldwide were all skeptical but because of immense duress from regional and international actors, Dr. Riek Machar Teny and his forces went to un-demilitarized capital, Juba in April 2016 to participate in an implementation process of peace agreement. A Peace Agreement which, upon Dr. Machar’s arrival, subsequently gave birth on 28 April 2016 in Juba to a present amputated and so-called Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). But unfortunately and simultaneously, both the agreement (ARCSS) and the national unity government all seemed-murdered on 8th and completely buried on 11th July 2016, of course by the same tarnished SPLM/A faction (s). The recent report showed that President Kiir and his right hand man, Malong personally responsible for 8th-11th July 2016. What a shame!!

In the thoughts of Juba’s well known leadership—Presidential sources say, and I quote “Riek Machar is the cause of all evils; he is a person who does not want peace to prevail in South Sudan. Riek did not want to cooperate with the President in the implementation process; he wanted for instance the Speaker of Transitional National Legislative Assembly to be subjected to election and not to be selected by SPLM/A. Unlike Gen. Taban Deng Gai, the new First Vice President, that has already shown willingness even before his appointment and better cooperation with the President in a smooth implementation of the peace agreement. The implementation of Compromise Peace Agreement (CPA II) will quickly move on now by Gen. Taban Deng Gai led SPLM/A-IO and President Salva Kiir’s SPLM/A Party”. End of quotes. Clearly, with the above or similar sentences express by the Presidential sources in mind, one could just conclude that the 8th-11th July 2016 incident in Juba was an intention plan to do away with Dr. Machar in one way or another so that to bring in Taban. That’s a food for thought.

Unless otherwise, if indeed it isn’t in a best interest of the President Kiir to end the sufferings, there would be no different between the SPLM/A-IO leads by Riek Machar and the SPLM/A-IO wishes to be lead by Taban Deng. Or the problem was all about to implement the peace agreement in partnership with SPLM/A-IO leads by Riek Machar?  As Salva Kiir mentioned earlier on; before the incident of July 2016 that “the peace agreement [Riek Machar and I signed] was written in a way that inu it is very difficult to implementation”. The whole world community should thoroughly investigate all these and as well as to where South Sudan’s unknown gunmen could get those military hardware including military helicopters they used in a well-planned final offensive of “let’s crush him (Riek Machar) for once and for all”. To this end, Dr. Machar now survived the unknown gunmen’s attempt. Though, Dr. Machar was successfully pushed out of Juba, perhaps as planned. Now especially after 11th July 2016, politicizing the realities won’t help bring peace to South Sudan.

South Sudan’s downtrodden citizens are not allow to judge and tell the true pictures of deadly events happening therein

A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is not only a nation that is afraid of its people but also a nation that is afraid of the truth” John F. Kennedy.

Nowadays, Juba’s residents are not allowed to judge and unfolding mal-governance issues. The governed cannot talk to tell the truth of what they are seeing happening around them. Everybody is indirectly/directly oriented, threatened and forced to support only the interest of a ruling clique— by giving bogus narratives of the real deadly events happening in and around the country. For instance, if somebody has been killed with gun, UN warehouses are looted by soldiers, money is taken from the Central Bank even by very well-known men, women or girls are raped, and the residence of Mr. X or Y is bombarded or destroyed with artilleries and military jets/helicopters clearly marked. In all these cases, all residents are required by law to put blames squarely on “unknown gunmen” even if the perpetrators are known. This is an official law set forth by the clique and sort of description or a situation in which the people are in today, in Juba.

Again, when Dr. Riek Machar was pushed out of Juba, then Taban Deng Gai was brought up far from bottom and illegally appointed First Vice President over stepping Lt. Gen. Alfred Ladu Gore who was a SPLM/A-IO senior minister in a TGoNU as well as a legitimate deputy Chairman, SPLM/A-IO. Gen. Alfred Ladu would have appointed as Machar’s replacement if Juba indeed was following what the agreement says not as fallaciously being said. Chapter One (1) article 6.5 of the ARCISS says “In the event of temporary absence of the First Vice President, the First Vice President may delegate a senior South Sudan Armed Opposition to carry out functions and duties as stipulated in this Agreement”. So, legally and by all means there was no way Taban could have come in as Machar’s replacement if President Kiir acted indeed in accordance with ARCISS as they were saying given the SPLM/A-IO ministerial arrangement in TGoNU and in the party hierarchy as well.

During Taban’s nomination in Juba, we could hear that some of the prominent members of the SPLM/A-IO were reported to have either nominate Taban Deng as FVP or risk being responsible for their own security while in Juba. On the same note also, the citizens living in Juba are all strictly forced to believe and tell “IGAD-PLUS Peace Agreement is still alive” particularly after July deadly incident which ouster out of Juba the SPLM/A-IO’s Chairman and his forces who went to Juba to implement the peace Agreement. And in this case, if you happen to talk to or hear the fans of Juba’s regime talking; they would tell that “peace is just around the corner, it’s already in the heart of the Juba city now. And its implementation process is going on smoothly compared to when Dr. Riek Machar was in Juba”.

However, when you look at what that amputated-Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) has done after July incident; you can evidently see that none has been achieved. Only the selection of Transitional National Legislative Assembly’s Speaker which they also did contrary to ARCSS’s article 11.4 “The selection of the Speaker of the TNLA, who hails from Equatoria, shall be conducted once the expansion of the membership of the Assembly is completed”.  Nothing else was achieved, apart from this. Now, the question is: Will the implementation process of the IGAD-PLUS broken-Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan [ARCSS]; have to move on really without Machar or the original structure of TGoNU, announced on 28th April 2016? This question must worry all, especially, South Sudan’s peace lovers plus their global friends. Because, partial implementation or none implementation of the peace agreement is tantamount to continuing the suffering of the people of South Sudan. Taban Deng, the so-called SPLM/A-IO’s legitimate Chairman and First Vice President has no access to SPLM/A-IO’s controlled areas.

In conclusion

To me, there are a lot of things that can show Taban’s appointment as FVP was neither meant to bring PEACE to South Sudanese people nor to implement the peace agreement signed. Take for instance; he [Taban] is just roaming around Juba and other countries as a blanket Chairman of the SPLM/A-IO. As we speak, we are un-doubtfully cognizant of the fact that Taban personally cannot go to and will never go to Pagak which is the Headquarters of the armed Opposition, the SPLM/A-IO. He cannot access other SPLM/A-IO’s controlled areas as well; places like, Fashoda, Thonyor, Akoba, Waat, Pigi..etc, all the strongholds of the SPLM/A-IO. Now, how come a person who has no grassroots’ support can be bestowed to implement an agreement and bring peace to the people? To all his fans and that of his appointer’s supporters: Is Taban Deng really a SPLM/A-IO Chairman and Commander-in-Chief? If so; is it possible for him to organize a SPLM/A-IO’s Leadership consultative meeting in the movement’s Headquarters, Pagak, so that the party’s disturbing internal issues are sorted out there? In order to shed more lights but not limited onto the following. One, to help address the question of as to why IO’s forces that went to Juba in April 2016 under peace agreement are still in and around the bushes/forests of Equatoria region and not inside Juba with Taban Deng together.

Two, as to why some SPLM/A-IO including some prominent members are not allow to move outside Juba, like going to Kenya, Sudan, Uganda..Etc, if it is genuine peace that is being implemented. Third, to address and agree on the question of whether Taban Deng as FVP should continue implementing ARCSS with Salva Kiir of SPLM/A-IG or Riek Machar will make a go back to Juba. Fourth, to update also the SPLM/A-IO grassroots about the already [if any]achieved items and those items not achieved so far in regard to the progress of peace agreement implementation process, among other, name them.

Taban needs to follow and do the above mentioned suggestions to show that he is really in touch with his own Party’s Headquarters as a Chairman and Commander-in-Chief. Should Taban fail to make these entire things practically happen, then we will conclude that Taban was appointed by Salva Kiir in Juba not to implement the peace agreement but both to continue inflicting more sufferings on the innocent South Sudanese people. Then, I think it would be legitimate for real Chairman, Commander-in-Chief and this country’s citizens to break silence and decide to show their true revolutionary colors against the mafia.

The author, Bol Khan , is a South Sudanese concerned citizen. He can be reached at bolkhan39@yahoo.com