Opinion: Defection of General Koang Chuol Ranley, A Double Edged Project
Defection of General Koang Chuol Ranley aka CDR from SPLM/A-IO, a Major JCE Double Edged Project of Neutralizing R-ARCSS and Nuer Opposition
By James Dual Dieu,
April 7, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) — From the onset of this civil war in 2013, it has been clearer than ever before that Machar and few close associates are not for the total defeat of Salva Kiir, but to militarily discipline him so as to re-instate them to the helm.
In her interview with Aljazeera news, his wife Angelina Teny in 2013, while on the run from Juba toward Bor had this to say, “I didn’t dream that I could one day live in the bush again”.
This is the truth of it all that Machar and his wife were beating political drums after he was sacked from his position of the First Vice president, magically believing things would go normal without proper plans ‘B’ and ‘C’ in place.
Moreover the saddest part is, before the Nuer genocide took place in December, 2013, Nuer officers and politicians projected the reality on the ground that something obvious and ugly was about to erupt.
And on such foreseen reality had to daily approach Machar to be vigilant and not to be caught off guard.
Not only the Nuer were concerned about the worse befalling the nation, a number of good Dinka Samaritans manning the top security organ also alerted him about the worse stalking hopes and aspirations of the two-year old nation, but he and wife trashed all these advises as unfounded ill-wishes in totality.
Then the youthful ethnic Dinka militia of Gelweng and Mathiang-Anyor got rolled into capital Juba from President Kiir’s Bar’el Ghazel home region straight to Luri, an adjacent site not far from Juba, which until today becomes his private military camp.
The conspiracy materialized without the consent or approval of the then Chief of General Staff, James Hoth Mai which Machar ignored all its warning signs revealed to him by even diplomatic corps to better position himself if the worse occurred.
Instead, he was busy discussing his next plans for the would be 2015 elections. Sarcastic!
This is the same Machar who six years later in the bush vehemently refused to listen as usual to genuine concerns on how the war should be fought and won.
After he reached Upper Nile, the home land of Nuer, rather than calling for an urgent conference to brief the Nuer community leadership about what had happened in Juba, that is the Nuer massacre, and how to come up with a noble strategy and counter the advancing forces of the enemy; Machar had waited unnecessarily too long until May 2014 to call this conference at Nasir which became inclusive of all South Sudanese who had just joined the rebel Movement.
The conference dwelt much on the leadership, whose outcome gave birth to SPLM-IO with Machar becoming its chairman and Commander-In-Chief todate, while resisting democratic voices calling for re-evaluation of his failed leadership and possible replacement.
Since then, the Nuer as people being targeted in Juba had not gotten a chance to meet by themselves and devise the way forward in order to counter this new aggression by the Jieng community.
If something is to be recalled in history, it’s again the same nagging Machar missing the target on its head a second time after he staged a coup de ’tat and miserably failed in 1991 despite the Capitalist Western world weighing in on his side in the early period of Nasir debacle against Communist guerrilla dictator Dr. John Garang.
Machar being so experienced with Nuer psychological wants and feelings: had to approach the situation differently together with all other South Sudanese to ensure that the Nuer do not corner him to speak their minds, especially in demanding to bring them guns and face the aggressing Dinka head on.
In other words, he succeeded to neutralize the angry Nuer by making the war that previously targeted the Nuer a South Sudanese one for them to collectively decide.
In a way, he was indirectly telling the South Sudanese public and the world that he is not a tribal leader, but nationalist one.
Thereafter, he intended to listen more to the advises of few personalities who are for the resolution of the conflict through peaceful means, whilst castigating efforts to push for war as warmongering.
Clearly until today, majority of the Nuer have a feeling that the war was not adequately fought as per their own wishes and plans contrary to the leader who holds a face-saving view different from them.
This introduced a lack of coherence and agreement at the level of military and political leadership on war strategy, engagement and how to secure the rich source of funding the war chest.
The question of losing the war was then becoming more common place, with leader himself refusing to delegate anyone to go around the world and transact military business.
On top of the searches for weapons; Machar had never set foot on the ground, unlike many other guerrilla leaders could do to practically experience the status of his forces and all evolving challenges, but rather locked himself in an IGAD-sponsored mansion in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia putting all eggs on an imaginary ‘peace basket’ by chasing a mirage of dispelling the gun-wielding African dictator with a wagging tongue.
The weakness on which the regime handsomely capitalized and swiftly put in place better strategies and mechanisms on how to kick this nonsensical rebellion out of their control areas in the shortest time possible.
Not only that, the regime had to purchase military consignments of all kinds including lethal weapons using oil money, and also dismissed the then Chief of General Staff who was a Nuer, and thought was reluctantly fighting the war with a staunch tribalist and warlord in the name of King Paul Malong.
The law of war normally dictates that the one who controls the battlefield dictates terms of negotiations, resulting in the cash-laden government controlling the show at the peace talks.
This spirit of not fighting could also be seen in his wife, Angelina Teny, who is at the same time the only trusted adviser for Machar, if he had a few.
Many political analysts until this very day wonder whether this family fears ICC too extremely or has a sense of humanity not to kill anyone according to Biblical perspective.
Regardless of what could be the reason, human being dies once, which is according to the UN-Panel of experts’ report, out of Four Hundred (400,000) people perished during this war, (70%) of them are from the Nuer community.
This begged the question whether Machar during his sleeping hours ever thinks of this massive loss incurred against the Nuer community.
Even if he one day becomes the president of the country, appointing his wife to powerful position that could have gone to someone else to share the peace dividends, clearly demonstrates the fact that he will never repay families of these dear lost souls. This is the saddest part of it.
Unluckily, the senior military officers and politicians, like the Nuer Council of Elders (NCE) who were calling and pressing for serious military confrontation and engagement, found themselves being dismissed from their positions, with Angelina Teny taking the new role to head the Defense and Security, while Machar took the control of logistics under his office.
The appointment of Angelina Teny and the control of logistics at the office of the Dr. Riek Machar sent a clear and dismissive statement that: ‘I am not for war’ and hell to you.
This latest development was well calculated by Machar to fend off what looked like a new environment of rebellion within the SPLM-IO orchestrated by officers and politicians aimed at purchasing sophisticate weapons which geared towards spilling more blood.
In other words, it’s only Dr. Machar and his wife who knew where to get weapons for the last six years, though this remains mythical.
On records, there had never been a single personnel dispatch to acquire weapons internationally, hence the result could have been witnessed practically on the ground.
Machar seemed to tell the Nuer, I will get back my position of First Vice President through the help of either Ngundeng or by hook or crook.
This disagreement on war strategy stirred up defections of senior officers: General Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang, late General Peter Gatdet Yak, and late General Gabriel Tanginya from the military, while the prominent political figures to exit the Movement were; Hon. Marieu Dhuor, Hon. James Tot Chuol and Hon. Gabriel Changson Lew Chang, just to mention a few.
Now that he has secured his seat of being the First Vice President in the Republic, with almost everything working smoothly for him, wife, immediate family members, and few tamed politicians. The end game looks like it is over, but not yet!
General Koang Chuol aka CDR Political Miscalculation
Koang among other three Generals tendered resignation letter dated on 17/03/2020 in which they name called SPLMA-IO a “family enterprise of Dr. Riek Machar and wife, Angelina among other nastiest terminologies”.
Surprisingly though, General CDR; a decorated top notch General and highly respected officer among the Nuer generals alike his former comrades who left the Movement in the same way, missed the target and got it wrong once again by leaving the fate of Nuer nation at the mercy of death merchant Riek Machar to decide.
If CDR’s problem was about the appointment of Angelina Teny dis-believably boggling his own mind, he could do the following, rather than joining the same regime Angelina and her husband have recently and colorfully married to: firstly, he could start de-campaigning Machar within the Movement by encouraging and persuading the top military command, such as General Gatwech Dual, General Johnson Olony and others with the view to disown Machar and takeover the leadership of the SPLM-IO.
By so doing, he could collectively fight both Kiir and Machar which at least could capture the support and sympathy of many Nuer out there who are not happy with how Machar turned everything into lucrative family business and naked nepotism.
Like in his letter, he could cite lacks of security arrangement, the family dominance over the Movement, particularly the recently ministerial appointment as some of the scoring points to sell to the forces on the ground and take over the leadership of the Movement.
Instead he is more pre-occupied with taking away the stick, which is President Kiir, Machar wanted to use to beat him and the disgruntled group.
This hastening move to join the enemy and leaving the Nuer in chock is an open proof of bribery accusations being labeled against him and nothing less.
His own constituency of Wang Family Association, according to their press dated on 17/3/2020 blasted and distanced themselves from him like a leper.
Same thing that goes to other Nuer sections who have aired this latest defection from General Koang as a sign of “betrayal”.
CDR is a Gone Sheep Long Time Ago
As the matter of record, CDR’s time to fall-out with the Movement goes beyond this recent defection.
CDR, being the co-chair of R-JMCC according to reliable source, had succumbed to Juba monetary bribing machinery long time ago.
A case in point, he had diverted all the money purportedly for food supplies at cantonment sites and training centers into his personal bank account along with some Generals at Bilpam.
He even went ahead planning together with his team and few politicians how to eliminate Machar once the R-TGoNU is formed.
When asked by one of the insiders, who remained anonymous of why not doing it before Machar took the oath of office in Juba, CDR had to say this, “Better resign when Machar is here in Juba and takeover the leadership of the army on the ground”.
How easy is this process to convince the forces after him already joining the enemy is too puzzling to fathom.
From experience, CDR is good at managing forces, but lacks taking bold decisions at the right place and time, according to a source that lived closer to him before.
While being the commander of 4th Division in Bentiu in 2013, CDR was having hard time to make a decision to either stand with the Nuer during dark days or remained with the regime, and had it not been for General Wang Chiok Koryoam, the former couldn’t easily make it to join the call to avenge the ‘tears of the genocide Nuer victims in Juba’.
Machar however through his intelligence network knew what was transpiring in Juba and about CDR in particular, with the view of cleverly dismissing him before deeply entrenching his feet in the regime.
This proves the above narrative that CDR is too slow in making decisions to the extent of failing to seize an opportunity and convince Salva Kiir not to create more rooms of extension after extension for Machar, who was in Khartoum fearing to come to Juba for his dear life.
CDR could have pushed Salva Kiir for an immediate formation of the R-TGoNU and should Machar fail to show up after 24 hours, then seized the opportunity to take over the position of First Vice President, like what Taban Deng Gai did in 2016.
Given how destitute and desperate are the SPLM-IO forces with no clear way forward from Machar, majority of the forces could easily declare their loyalty to him, particularly the Nuer of the Eastern bank of the Nile.
Once again, he missed it and now he is struggling to do it the old Nuer way, while Machar is on the throne with King Salva Kiir making deals, only favorable for both of them, families and extended clienteles, as well as harmonizing and overcoming their differences.
Short-Term Benefits for CDR
One of the major objectives of his goal is to see Machar being absolutely abandoned by his forces and bring them all under the command of Salva Kiir.
This will be done by buying off soldiers, especially the soft-hearted ones who are very discontented with Machar’s family business.
This project of purchase has already kicked-in at the training sites: such as ‘Gorom’ and ‘Wunaliet’, fitting SPLM-IO forces against one another, and whoever is discontented will announce to switch side to the SSPDF.
An anonymous source revealed that he has reached a deal with General Ochan Puot, a felt-out leader hails from Maiwut with an intention of using Gajaak land a launching pad to wage more war on SPLM-IO territories, with a possibility of clearing the whole Jikany land from SPLM-IO. No more surprises to see war ranging at Gajaak land and beyond.
Compounded by dire living conditions the SPLM-IO forces are undergoing with poor management and follow up by Machar, some of these forces if not many will become preys soon.
The readings are all there on the wall, and it’s up to Machar to balance.
On short-term perspective, CDR may succeed to dismantle and demobilize the nucleus strength of SPLM-IO forces by bringing the weakest ones under Salva Kiir, but in the long run, this will be felt by the Nuer future generations and CDR’s descendants included, when they will be treated as the ‘Third Class Citizens’ by the Jieng dominated army and ever thriving elite class. Arabs put it that, “Your dog is better than somebody’s dog”.
Advisably, CDR as a respected General within the Nuer community should be better off forming his own Movement to fight both Machar and Kiir to regain much needed grassroots support.
Machar’s Political Demise
On military aspect, Machar has tactically and professionally surrendered his forces to the enemy given these poor security arrangements.
He however unwittingly committed a sort of political suicide thereby proportioning the Movement’s power and wealth sharing in accordance with regional balance: that is giving away equal number of National Members of Parliament (MPs) to all his dysfunctional 21 states.
With the Nuer community, the bedrock of his rebellion and support, asking him to at least give them 60 MPs out of 128 which is not going down well with Machar’s nerve.
Nuer are just wondering whether or not Machar was using them for his self-gain, while rewarding none-contributing communities to the past war’s efforts, particularly the rival Jieng community at the expense of their blood.
To make matter worse, he has allocated key ministerial positions to very weakest individuals who lack nationwide popularity and requisite experience.
A fault to definitely hit back at him during the elections period, according to angry sources.
For Dinka remains a Dinka shall that time come for election, except Mabior Garang De’Mabior who irreparably differed with Kiir before the war.
The rest are just opportunistic survivalists never to generate a single vote for his election victory.
What he should heavily invested in from now is to reward the Nuer and other none-Dinka tribes who are genuinely after the meaningful democratic reforms in the country with the biggest lion share.
Than him bribing a number of Dinka moles with positions in IO so that they plead with their people in IG to spare his life as the only good Nuer promoting more than 50 years’ Dinka born-to-rule project.
Coupled with the latest defection of CDR and likes, plus the ongoing dysfunctional security arrangement in process, President Salva Kiir at any time in foreseeable future, may abrogate some provisions within the agreement.
The president based on his wishes and wills may surprise the nation announcing the state governors unanimously, whereas few days after reshuffle the government and claw back some key ministerial dockets currently allocated to Machar.
At the moment, Machar is toothless, and doesn’t have a backup force to balance the pendulum.
With common sense dictating that one can’t fight a lion in its den or surrender to an enemy in order to cause a deadly indigestion in him.
The only best option for him would be to keep smiling and floating with the wind to spare his life in which the previously adored leader of the bravest African people, the Nuer will be embarrassingly pleading for mercy before the victorious Dinka power barons.
It’s a different history altogether during the times of elections in 2023 or whenever when the outcome of most of the elections in Africa are pre-determined by the incumbents; that is the one who is leading the army or controlling all instruments of violence.
In this episode, Machar will have no army in defense of his votes in most usual case of rigging. He will have two choices to make: accept the defeat after election results are announced, and if he does that, then he is very smart dude.
He will tell the Nuer and followers, this is the democracy I have been preaching to you over many years and let’s accept the streaming results from polling stations.
And with this, Kiir will retire him with bountiful retirement package and subsequently accord him with full security protection, and from then on, he will write his books, etc. from the comfort of an infinite affluence and happiness.
This will serve him two things: 1) permanent protection by the government and, 2) indirectly escaping the blames from the Nuer who have been highly expecting him to rule the country.
Or else, he still got some window of opportunity to maneuver in politics, although too naive to use his cards strategically.
The Nuer-Weu, a Dead Mammoth
This is the group who have denied the massacre of Nuer in 2013, while arrogantly priding themselves of being nationalists and patriots by putting the interest of the country above the massacre of their fellow kith and kin.
The only person breathing and playing an active role among them is Vice President General Taban Deng Gai, the rest are ditched deep into the garbage bin.
The recent ministerial allocations and appointments from their side prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are no longer useful idiots, having lost twice both at government and grassroots levels and can’t help Kiir in either violent confrontation or peaceful campaign for votes in the Nuerland.
With their constituencies portraying them as serial betrayers and conspirators to the core who worked hard for the mass killings and displacement of their own people.
And sorrowfully who until now, shall one of them fall dead, he/she is not welcomed to be buried in their own birthplaces.
Tangible examples in the past are there visibly readable on the wall.
In Juba, one feels their frustrations both physically and emotionally, cursing the very same government they had sacrificially stood for, for the last six years, and which turned out to let them down at the final hour of their utmost need.
On the road sides and tea places, you find them talk like a trapped fish (Samaak) in the net, while cursing themselves for having chosen the wrong side of history during the war.
Their hope, on the contrary, lies on the once castigated SPLM-IO now turned savior to come back one day with full force and balance the security status in the country.
They admit this fact when chatting with each and everyone of them privately, while looking over their shoulders.
But in public, it is all about SPLM OYEEE, fearing heavy handed repercussions from their ungrateful master!
A further look on the distant horizon beyond the tinted lenses of Nuer-Weu, Nuer future is totally doomed much to the benefit of one self-seeking man, Dr. Riek Machar who had failed several times before to fully execute the war and successfully win it.
Others like CDR and his likes are just aimlessly adding more suffering on this very society with ruined future.
It has become obvious that Machar is no longer the expected savior and he is now working to forge good working relationship with Salva Kiir, with the objective to enrich himself during this transitional period and beyond.
The Nuer-Weu on their part are like dead mammoths dumped by their own master, who had only used them for his own pleasure like condoms during steamy sexual encounter.
The only person who has got a Nuer heart if given a chance to rescue this community is General Taban Deng Gai.
But he is the beleaguered man, already misunderstood and now is just struggling to survive in this unholy struggle for power, wealth and fame.
This community is buried deep in the soil by its own sons/daughters, unless miracle falls off from the sky.
Good news though, it’s not any longer the known Machar who used to dominate the Nuer politics alone now that General Taban Deng is one of the five Vice Presidents and any mistake Machar commits later on against Nuer, will be grabbed and exploited by the former to win the Nuer hearts and minds.
While on the other, it’s up to Machar to re-adjust himself to the Nuer interest or keeps his struggling political dream alive by continuously tricking this very community deeper and deeper into an abysmal folly.
The writer is a concerned South Sudanese who lives in Australia and can be reached at: email@example.com