Jan 13, 2018(Nyamilepedia) —– South Sudan’s controversial First Vice President, Gen. Taban Deng Gai, faces challenges in his bit to forge his ways into Nuer mainland and “into the hearts of the Nuer people”, who are mostly loyal to ousted First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
The former governor of Unity State, Taban, who chose to travel by land through the New Jonglei State was more welcomed in Dinka areas than in Lou-Nuer areas, which are his major targets.
In Bor, Panyigor and Poktap, Gen. Taban was received by a fairly large population that include traditional chiefs of the Dinka clans, youth and women; however, in Yuai of Lou-Nuer mostly soldiers and a few loyalists of Lou-Nuer politicians in Kiir government came to see the First Vice President.
In the crowd a few brave elders of Lou-Nuer attended the meeting and engaged the First Vice President on peace initiatives that he promotes.
While addressing a poorly attended gathering, Taban gave a narrative of two fishes. He explained that one fish was dead and rotten, and the other fish was alive and fresh.
Without elaborating further, the first Vice President asked his audience of which fish would they choose to eat if presented with only those two choices.
Some elders responded that they would choose the fresh fish for consumption until Taban clarifies that the fresh fish was himself and the dead fish was Riek Machar.
Taban then went on to try to persuade the Lou-Nuer community of Yuai to choose and support him instead of Riek Machar, who according to his narrative is a dead fish, a statement that angered the few Lou-Nuer elders in attendance.
One elder stood up and chant Riek Machar names saying that the Lou-Nuer would rather prefer a dead fish than a poisonous fresh fish.
Despite eminent threat to his life, the elder went on to accuse Taban Deng Gai of being a bad example in Nuer community and told him that his people support Riek Machar and SPLM/A(IO).
One after another, the elders walked out of the meeting leaving the First Vice President and a few of his supporters murmuring.
While Gen. Taban was organizing his meeting in Yuai, the Military governor of SPLM/A(IO) was holding parallel meetings in Eastern Akobo with local chiefs and rebel officials.
According to rebel sources, Taban plans to penetrate his way to Akobo through military means and that worries the local Lou-Nuer populations.
Latest reports indicate that there is an ongoing fighting in Payai and Paduay of Lou-Nuer, however, there is no clear information on how it started and which side is on offensive.
Taban Deng Gai is a former governor of Unity State and a former Chief negotiator of SPLM/A(IO) until 2016.
On July 8th, 2016, a fighting broke out during a meeting between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, and eventually forced the outnumbered First Vice President out of the capital, which saw Taban claiming the position of the First Vice President.
Taban is not popular in Nuer community but since he claimed the second highest position he lobbies extremely hard to get the Nuer people behind him but that has met a lots of challenges so far.
Majority of the Nuer people remain in UN protected sites within Juba and they continue to protest against Taban’s leadership, which leaves doubts if the Nuer at the grassroots would work with Taban better than those in UNMISS camps across the country.