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REVEALED: How Kiir manages power wrangle between Gen. Akol Koor and Hon. Nhial Deng

Dec 7, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — The United Nations Security Council has revealed in its latest report, the UNSC Panel of Experts report on South Sudan, S/2020/1141, how president Salva Kiir has been managing political feuds and power wrangles between senior officials and members of his ethnic Dinka community, who are wrangling over the top seat, behind closed doors.

South Sudan's new presidential affairs minister Nhial Deng Nhial taking oath of office before president Salva Kiir in Juba today (Photo credit: presidency)
South Sudan’s new presidential affairs minister Nhial Deng Nhial taking oath of office before president Salva Kiir in Juba today (Photo credit: presidency)

The report, which was addressed to the President of the Security Council by the Panel of Experts on South Sudan last month, details how political fissures among the signatories have sparked new conflicts since February this year, 2020.

“Since February 2020, political fissures among and within the signatories of the peace agreements have sparked new conflicts.” The UNSC Reports details.

According to the UNSC, the new internal conflicts within and between the signatories have threatened peaceful co-existence between the elites and their commitments to the implementation of the peace agreement.

“Divisions within the two primary signatories – President Kiir’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and First Vice-President Riek Machar Teny’s SPLM/A-IO – have threatened the cohesion of the signatories and their commitment to the peace agreement (see S/2020/342).” The UNSC Panel of Experts report reads.

Competition between Gen. Akol Koor and Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial

According to the UN Panel of Experts, there are tense feuds within Kiir’s SPLM and between Dinka ethno-political elites that Mr. Kiir is managing behind closed doors.

“Competition within Mr. Kiir’s SPLM and Dinka ethno-political elites has exacerbated since the formation of the Government.” The Experts said.

The UN experts believe that the division was exacerbated by the allocation of government positions and that revived rivalry between Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial and Director General of the Internal Security Bureau Lt. Gen. Akol Koor Kuc.

“In particular, divisions have formed over the redistribution of government positions enshrined in the peace agreement and the rivalry between the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Nhial Deng Nhial, and the Director General of the Internal Security Bureau of the National Security Service, Lieutenant General Akol Koor Kuc.” The UN Panel of Experts noticed.

To mitigate the chaos and to manage Gen. Akol Koor, whose powers became unmatched, president Kiir appointed Nhial Deng as the Minister of Presidential Affairs (in his office) and elevated him to the cabinet.

“In June, the President appointed Mr. Nhial to the cabinet to counterbalance Lieutenant General Kuc, who has acquired unmatched security and financial resources (see S/2019/301, S/2019/897 and S/2020/342).” Read part of the UNSC report.

Two months later, President Kiir dropped Gen. Akol Koor from the Board of Directors of the Nile Petroleum Corporation to curb his financial influence and again promoted Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial to head the Board of Directors of the Nilepet.

“In August, the President also removed Lieutenant General Kuc from the Board of Directors of Nile Petroleum Corporation, an influential quasi-governmental body, and appointed Mr. Nhial to head the Board.” The UNSC report further added.

According to the UN Experts, these steps sent strong signals in attempts to put off the tension between Nhial Deng and Akol Koor which was already being felt at the grassroots in Warrap state.

“Lieutenant General Kuc and Mr. Nhial, who are both from Warrap, have also jockeyed for political supremacy at the sub-ethnic level.” the report stated.

The report dated 25 November 2020 was addressed to the President of the Security Council on November 6, 2020 and considered by the Committee on November 20, 2020. 

President Kiir has been issuing several decrees in attempt to contain or reward elites in his government.

Other than pushing some to rebel, the officials are never investigated or dragged to high court to answer for the allegations.

South Sudan has witnessed more rebellions and inter-communal conflicts since Kiir rose to power in 2005. So far more than 400 thousands have died and nearly half of the country’s 12 million population has been displaced to IDPs and refugee camps.

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