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Opinion: Duer Tut Duer cannot lead the SPLM/A-IO, find out why!

By Ran Kuoth Chak,

Hon. Duer Tut Duer, former governor of SPLM/A-IO Sobat State(Photo credit: courtesy image/Nyamilepedia)

Hon. Duer Tut Duer, former governor of SPLM/A-IO Sobat State(Photo credit: courtesy image/Nyamilepedia)

Dec 8, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Of all the aspiring candidates in the SPLM/A-IO leadership, who would replace the chairman Dr. Riek Machar Teny(PhD) in any eventuality, the one and only self-proclaimed leader that can never ascend to that position is none other than Hon. Duer Tut Duer. In a few words, Duer has proven that he cannot lead a more diverse and complex armed movement like SPLM/A-IO; even if he is imposed by Ngundeng or whatever miracle tonight, he would still fail the next day. Duer has failed at the most substantive levels, most likely because of his name DUER which means sin or a failure, and therefore, the best thing he would need to do would be to retract to fix himself first. For the sake of those who care, here is what it would take to lead an organization like the SPLM/A-IO.

Charismatic Leadership:

To lead an organization that draws loyalty from all the 64 tribes of South Sudan like the SPLM/A-IO, one would have to command a compelling charm that inspires devotion in others from all the 64 tribes. Such a leader would have to be strong physically and emotionally, and be able to attract like-minded leaders to the party. In South Sudan, the only leader who has proven this quality is Riek Machar Teny.

Riek did it in 1991 when he broke away from the SPLM/A mainstream and pulled out with almost all the top leadership of the SPLM/A with the exception of Dr. John Garang and a few others, mostly from his Dinka tribe and junior officers from other tribes. From the top 10 commanders of the SPLM/A: William Nyuon, Kerbino Kwanyin Bol, John Kulang Puot, Arok Thon Arok and Dr. Lam Akol defected or later joined Dr. Riek Machar Teny. For someone who was the eighth on the list of seniority to split the leadership and attracted a majority (6:4), not only from his immediate tribe(Nuer) but also from other tribes including the tribe of his opponent(Dinka), Riek must have been a promising young man back then; however, like any other human, Riek has his shortcomings and one of his weaknesses is maintenance or management. Riek does not have the charms to motivate people to keep them hanging around him. Because of this, he struggled to manage the Lion Share that he had; otherwise, he had a better chance to defeat his opponents and he did it to a greater extent but never cemented it.

Riek did it again between 2012 and 2013 when he cornered Salva Kiir in all avenues including in the national legislative assembly(parliament), in the SPLM party and also in the army. At some point it became crystal clearly that Riek had majority support in the parliament, in the political bureau and also he had a better chance to win the National Liberation Council. This is what frustrated Salva Kiir because he could not pass anything through the parliament or through the party without Riek’s consent.

To counterbalance Riek’s influence and to boost his chances, Kiir resorted to intimidations, calling for “voting by show of hands” and proposing that he would handpick at least 5 percent of those who would have participated in the National Liberation Council(NLC) that was going to elect the SPLM flag bearer(new Chairman) before the 2015 elections. When all these avenues failed, Salva Kiir hired Ugandan army and Sudanese (JEM) rebels, on top of Mathianganyoor that he trained in Luri, and resorted to fighting. That clearly proves that Dr. Riek had majority support at all levels and therefore he had higher chances to win within the SPLM/A party or through election and also through military means if there were no foreign interference and if Kiir did not train additional militias, Mathianganyoor and dotkubeny.

Unlike Salva Kiir who bribed neighboring countries using national resources and South Sudanese land along the borders, Riek decided to fight a honest war with the little that he could find and this is where Salva Kiir got his upper hand. Whether this is a victory or not is something the next generations who will pay off the debts will have to answer!

Despite lack of resources and military support, the world witnessed how Dr. Riek, a man wo was constantly on the run, continued to attract support from all generations starting with old men such as Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, Alfred Lado Gore, Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual and many senior veterans across the tribes of South Sudan.

In summary, after seven years of literally fighting the whole world with bare hands, Dr. Riek Machar still has very strong support from almost all the ten states plus three administrative areas of South Sudan including Warrap State, Abyei and Northern Bahr el Ghazal. In addition, Dr. Riek has a lot of support among the enlightened (educated) youth and women of South Sudan and a huge support in diaspora. Therefore, as things stand today, Riek is the only politician in South Sudan who has a chance to win a free and fair election against Salva Kiir. The rest are just flower girls and boys.

What does Duer Tut Duer have to offer?

Very little is known about Duer Tut Duer starting with his academic background, when he joined the SPLM/A and his past experiences – simply because these are not in public domain. Among the Nuer politicians and military generals alone, Duer may not stand among the top 50 elites.

In Eastern Jikany Nuer section alone, Duer is outshone by Hon. Kun Puoch, Hon. Changson Lew Chang, Gen. Hoth Mai, Hon. Dak Duop Bichiok, Gen CDR James Koang Chuol Raanley, Amb. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth and Hon. James Gai Yoach, just to mention a few. It should also be mentioned that Hon. Duer may struggle to win popular votes against Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, Gen. Ochan Puot and a few other junior politicians and generals in Eastern Jikany Nuer community alone.

Since 2016, when he first defected from the SPLM/A-IO, Duer has not figured out exactly what he wants and for four years he has not grown above Facebook politics. Many politicians and generals, who know what they want, have switched sides or formed their own parties and some have gone as far as finding friends and mediators in Europe; however, Duer has been sleeping on and waking up to Facebook for the last four years. The most senior retired politician Duer has met within the last four years is a retired Ethiopian rebel leader, Thowath Pal, and this was an easy catch because Thowath is a fellow tribesman from the Eastern Jikany section where he draws 99% of his handful supporters.

Duer does not have the capacity to unite his own clan, leave alone the Eastern Jikany Nuer that is currently divided behind more than 10 leaders. In fact the few individuals who are buying his social media campaign are either less educated or just emotionally vulnerable to fully comprehend what it takes to lead a country. Most of them can’t even differentiate between the Nuer community and the SPLM/A-IO.

Compared to someone like Taban Deng Gai, who enjoys support among his Western Jikany Nuer community to a greater extent, and has street intelligence to buy some loyalty outside his Nuer-subsection, Duer cannot effectively market himself within his own tribesmen and women, and that is why he remained very lonely for the last four years. Given that Taban Deng failed to attract Nuer’s support in 2016 even when he gave them all the food (8/10 ministers and 35/50 MPs), Duer cannot get even a quarter of the support Taban got in 2016 and therefore the best thing he should try to do is to campaign for a county commissioner position or for a position in the Upper Nile State government to rebuild his tainted portfolio.

The author Dr. Ran Kuoth Chak can be reached through his email at rankchak@gmail.com,

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