The Fate of Nuer Government Officials in South Sudan Politics Under Salva Kiir Leadership
Jan 3, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —— While the International Community and the United Nations fear that South Sudan may witness one of the worst genocides this coming dry season, the fates of many loyal politicians from South Sudan’s minority communities and Nuer ethnic group, the second largest tribe, remain at crossroad.
Despite that the conflict has been fought for more than three years, the region of Upper Nile, which is dominated by the Nuer Ethnic group, the tribe of South Sudan’s Former Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, remains a stronghold for the SPLM/SPLA in Opposition, the major rebel faction that wages military struggle against Salva Kiir’s Dinka dominated leadership.
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Taking advantage of a split in SPLM in Opposition, President Salva Kiir and his Dinka dominated administration, advised by the Jieng Council of Elders, are now pressurizing the Nuer officials on government side to lead the conflict against their own people and end the war in favour of Salva Kiir government this coming dry season; however, the Nuer loyalists lack a fighting force to face the Nuer Youth and SPLA-IO army that is backing Dr. Machar’s SPLA faction.
Through a presidential decree last December, President Salva Kiir has ordered all the government officials, mostly the governors and commissioners, whose constituencies face insecurity and have been running temporary administrations in the capital, Juba, to go to their headquarters to set up their administrations or otherwise they won’t be paid.
Responding to presidential order or risked being dismissed, Nuer government officials for Phow and Bieh States, and Payinjiar County attempted to return home to set up their administrations but most of them felt unwelcomed by the local populations.
Salva Kiir’s government through the office of his First Vice President has controversially landed a government appointed commissioner and his 12-members delegation in Ganyliel of Panyinjiar county but all were arrested by the rebels.
Officials for Phow and Bieh States moved to neighbouring counties of Duk and Pibor but the white armies and SPLA-IO are aggressively monitoring their entry points.
In Ayod, a heavy fighting between the warring parties has forced James Kok Ruei, the appointed Governor for Phow State on Kiir’s side, to evacuate Duk and returned to Juba for his safety.
Kok has never been to front line and lacks both academic and military skills to strategize effectively. In addition, the government forces in Ayod town controls less than 2% of the Phow state, which put Juba on a weaker side to set up an effective administration unless the government forces go on offensives in SPLA-IO liberated areas.
While Bieh State remains a “no go zone” for Salva Kiir government, officials and military generals, loyal to president Salva Kiir, are temporarily stationed in Pibor to plan a forced entry into Akobo. Whether such attempts will materialize this dry season remains to be seen.
In attempt to reach Pagak, Maiwut and other counties in Norther Upper Nile that are currently under SPLM/SPLA-IO control, the government has sent a delegation to Gambella to closely monitor the situation and plan a forced entry to Pagak.
The team which will depart on January 5, 2017 to Gambella, Ethiopia, include:
- Hon. Bor Gatwech Kuany, Chief Whip of SPLM(IO) MPs and Team Leader.
- Hon. Martha Martin Dar- Deputy Team leader
- Hon. Jacob Ruot Kuyoch
- Hon. Tulith Koang Diew
- Hon. James Kueth Chol
- Hon. Charles Wello Onyonyo
- Hon. Chuol Dep Kier
- Hon. Paul Biel Chol
- Hon. Gach David Dedoch
- Hon. Khot Gatluak Teny
- Hon. Butrous Deng Both
- Hon. John Wiyual Kuach
- Hon. Bol Ruach Rom
- Hon. Gach Puok Dak
- Hon. Nyalok Tiong Gatluak
- Hon. Gatluak Liphoth Diew, Deputy Governor of Latjor State.
- Hon. Gabrial Tut Gatchay Lual , Security Adviser to the Governor of Latjor State.
- Hon. Buk Lul Joak , Adviser for Peace and Reconciliation to Governor Latjor state.
- Hon. Gach Wol Guandong, Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement.
- Hon. Yohanis Yach Lul Puka ,Deputy Nasir Town Mayor
- Hon. Simon Duop Puok Tier, Former Minister of Upper Nile State.
In addition, Juba has delegated the following Nuer government officials to Khartoum on the same date for the same purpose:
- Hon. Peter Nhial Koch
- Hon. John Gatnyai Thot
- Hon. Michael Ruot Koryom
- Hon. Peter Gony Wur
- Hon. Samuel John Chol Ayiik
- Hon. Abdeldaim Machar Deng
- Hon. Deng Chuol Bei
- Hon. Khorhok Gal Gar
- Christopher Gawar Thichiot
- Hon. David Tor Puoch
- Hon. Khor Gony Chuol.
The delegations are predominantly Nuer, most of whom have not visited relatives and friends in UNMISS camps within Juba or elsewhere in the country. Unlike many Nuer nationals, who commemorated Dec-15, a date that began the current onslaught on the Nuer in the national capital, official loyalists[branded as Nuer-weew] do not recognize or attend such events, some of which were organized at their backyards in the IDPS camps in Juba.
These teams are being supervised by Taban Deng Gai, the First Vice President, who controversially replaced Dr. Riek Machar Teny as the First Vice President of the Transitional Government of National Unity.
Despite getting a lot of support and resources from Salva Kiir’s administration and government supporters, Gai does not command a significant loyalty within the SPLM/SPLA(IO) and within the Nuer community.
For 5 months now, less than 5 military generals and some of their bodyguards have defected from SPLA-IO to Taban Deng Gai. None of the defectors commanded a division in SPLA-IO system but their defection could intensify the conflict in Unity State.
The First Vice President, Gai, has transported hundreds of internally displaced persons from Juba to his home state of Unity State last December. A few more could response this year if war ends but that seems very less likely. In addition, Juba is not adhering to the Compensation and Reparation chapters that were agreed in the Agreement of Resolutions of Conflict in South Sudan(ARCISS)