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Why President Kiir Must appoints Kuong Danhier as Unity State Governor? 

By Dak Buoth,

Hon Kuong Danhier Gatluak, former Deputy Minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development reading the Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny’s statement in the past(Photo credit: supplied)
Hon Kuong Danhier Gatluak, former Deputy Minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development reading the Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny’s statement in the past(Photo credit: supplied)

June 23, 2020(Nyamilepedia)On 17th June, 2020, South Sudan President, General Salva Kiir and the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar held a meeting and reached a consensus on the allocation of the ten states in the country. In this historical communiqué, Unity State was one of the 6 states that were allocated to President Kiir as earlier anticipated. Perhaps, the names of the governors will be unveiled later this week. I’m sure the key principals will not afford to consume more times after they made a break through, owing to the pressure mounting on them from various sections of the society. Now, as the country await the governors’ names to be unveil, the debate shifted to whom will they appointed to implement the revitalized peace agreement at the state levels. Good analysts can tell whom will President Kiir appoint as his governors for the 6 states. President Kiir is used to acting manly unlike Dr. Riek Machar who acts godly. The latter is typical Ngundengist who had inculcated mysterious features. Therefore, it’s hard to tell or predict on his next move. His actions and appointments do not hit the hearts of his followers and sympathizers. In fact, no one can tell what he will do or say next even on things that are obvious. In Kenya, Raila Odinga is called Agwambo which means mystery or unpredictable one in Luo Language. But in my observations and comparisons, I found Riek to be more mysterious than Raila. At times his insiders or associates depend on rumours like outsiders; and they cannot talk with authority about what he will do. Machar’s men are like men of the cloths who seems to enjoy closed spiritual proximity to heavenly Father but cannot tell exactly what God will do on particular situation at hand. President Kiir acted manly in the sense that when you do him good, he will try to reciprocate. He doesn’t treat his comrades and foes alike. Sometimes, even a common citizen can foresee what his next actions are based on the available facts before them. His manly way of doing things is shown by admitting that ‘he doesn’t know all’ that is why he has political and ethnic advisors who advise him on daily basis. Riek don’t embrace advisors because he doesn’t want to be lectured on anything for, he believed ‘he knows it all’, and this is main indicator that demonstrates his godly traits. Those who want to offer him free advices are discouraged by his usual Kach Lora sentiments. Kach Lora is Nuer Phrase meaning rubbish. This phrase was attributed to him because he used to rubbish others views. But I think time is ripe for Dr. Riek to change and act not just manly but humanly because this contemporary world should not be governed by deity. This brings me to the point that I’m driving at here. We can objectively analyse and conclude whom will President Kiir appoint as governors in the six-state allocated to him. I believe President Kiir will not just appoint someone as Unity State governor on mere political friendship basis. As we know, he has many friends and political allies from Unity State. In other words, he has allies from across the seven main counties of Unity State. And so he will only nominate one of his friend and political ally who is suitable for Unity State governorship. 


Currently, there are four close friends and allies of President Kiir who are coveting this lucrative governorship of Unity State. Their names are Lawyer Riek Bim, former Minister of Roads and Transports, Kuong Danhier Gatluak, Former Governor of the defunct Northern Liech State, Dr Nguen Monytuil and Former Army General, Stephen Buay Rolnyang who was recently defrocked from top army echelon for subversive activities. These three lobbyists except Kuong are from Mayom County. Many Leaders from Mayom County are seeking this governorship position, because they think they are more entitled to it than others in unity state. And the reason is not because they are more capable than other Unity State’s sons and daughters, but it’s because they think they had supported and fought alongside Kiir more than the rest in Unity State and beyond.  This is partly true and partly not. In any case, majority of our Mayom community will always back the government as long as Riek Machar remains the opposition leader in South Sudan. We learnt that the Mayom community had a grudge with Dr Riek for what happened to one renegade Maliny Kawai in the 1980s. The latter was alleged to have been beheaded by the former’s forces. Thus, the backing of the government by Mayom community was not the making of Nguen Monytuil or any other leader from Mayom. Even if one of them doesn’t became governor, they will still back the government in any combat led by Riek against the government. Giving the governorship to one of Mayom’s Son will only increase the number by small number. If I was Riek Machar I would have apologized to Mayom community like he did to Bor community in 2012. Understandably, Kuong’s Nyuong community are bitterly opposed to the current regime because they had been denied services, and the former Unity State governor, and now vice president Taban Deng is to be blame for their rebellious attitude. As far as I know, the people of Panyijiar County will continue to show rebellious tendencies against the government as long as they are denied what they deserve. As of now, Unity State governorship is supposed to be from Panyijiar because other six counties have had governor before. The day the government will extend her hand to them by appointing one of their own, they will have little or no reason to back war against the systems.   


There are hopes that Riek Bim can deliver if appointed as Unity State governor by virtue of him being lawyer by training. A Lawyer is often deemed to be someone who does things based on merit and equality. He ought to be someone who cannot thrive in violence because of his knowledge of Human Rights. The Major problem with Riek Bim is that he is not well known in Unity State. I heard he is known in J1 corridors and corners. He was rumoured to be closed associate of Late General Paulino Matip but these are not enough reasons to earn him governorship. I understood few within J1 are lobbying for him. His appointment as Unity state governor will be great surprise and we don’t expect that for sure.    


Stephen Buay is an educated former army general, but he has serious issues that can derail or bar him from performing his duties. Buay is known but he has little network both in Mayom and Unity State. He has made a name for himself outside Unity State. Remember, he is one of the Nuer army generals from unity state who held several senior positions but little or none can be said about him in terms of contribution. The coming of Buay as governor will be surprised to many unity state residents. Apart from surprising residents, his appointment will instil great fear in Unity State and Mayom County in particular because of what was done to him in Mayom that led to his eventual demotion from general to civilian and his subsequent removal from the South Sudan Peoples Defence Forces (SSPDF). Many think the government might want to appoint Stephen Buay as governor to compensate or correct the wrong they did to him so as to avoid being haunted by his tears. But President should not consider cleaning himself and pleasing Buay minus Unity State residents.     


Initially, Dr Nguen Monytuil Wicjang was the supreme and overall leader of Liech community of unity state before 2013 crisis. Riek and Taban were not holding any position at the time. When he was appointed as governor to replaced Taban Dengai, joy and celebration filled the air all over the land of Bentiu. However, his support died down as soon as he stood and fought against them after the crisis.  A politician and a leader always go with the people. If he believed Riek Machar and Taban Deng were the causative in what brought the violence, he could have sided with the people first and then brings them back later after informing them of the reality they don’t know. I know his siding with his Nuer people then would make him loss his seat but its better for the future is always bigger and sweeter than present. The Nuer community populace was right to fight back in self defense because some rogue soldiers went and killed innocent Nuer people in juba in 2013, and this is the fact which the government admitsed.  Then Foreign affairs minister Benjamin Marial in BBC hard talk with Stephen sucker said that, they would track down those killer soldiers and bring them to book. The one advantage that can make him be appointed again as unity state governor is because he was among the few Nuer leaders with president Kiir when he addressed the press conference with military uniforms on 16th December 2013 in the wake of the crisis in juba. But on this, we can say Nguen had been paid back more than enough. He had been governor of Unity State from 2013 up to 2020. Many who declared war and stood with President Kiir the likes of Dr. Riek Gai Kok and Dr. Marial Benjamin Bil were removed and replaced already, and so Nguen is no exception.  It would be better if Nguen is given another position if at all he is still darling of the government. His tenure as governor was characterized by runaway corruptions, killings and rapes. He planted hatred and division among our communities back home in Unity State and abroad. It was during his time as governor that our two counties of Parieng and Abiemnon broke away from Unity State to became what we now called Ruweng administrative Area. Even our dead ones will be very unhappy should Nguen be appointed again. As we speak right now, even the informed Mayom community youth do not wish for Nguen to return as governor because he is not likable. In fact, the return of Dr. Nguen Monytuil as governor will be mourned and cursed. The guy hardly laughs or smiles; he is not symbol of peace; he is life threatening person. If President Kiir holds the view that any Unity State governor must come from Mayom County for whatever reason, then it should not be Dr. Nguen. We are not short of good sons and daughters from Mayom County. I can name for him the good ones in case he doesn’t know them. Even the Unity State community Association that I lead has got many vibrant and brilliant young ones from Mayom who are fit to serve us. Our former governor, Dr Nguen used to be good guy but he has misused his usefulness. His reappointment will be treated as reintroduction of war in Unity state. Dr. Nguen is not right person to maintain status quo because it will be disrupted. The bottom-line is not that the next governor should not come from Mayom County; the bottom-line is that the next governor should not be Dr. Nguen because it will be unfair to recycle less peaceful person.  


If President Kiir wants to be just and equitable to the people of Unity State, he should appoint Kuong because he has unquestionable integrity. Moreover, he hails from Panyijiar County that never produced governor before. Like we stated before in a letter authored by Liech community to the President, Kuong has a fantastic attribute such as honesty, humility and respect for all persons irrespective of age and gender. Notably, Kuong don’t thrive in violence, so it is likely that he can reunite and reconciled our divided region. Economist, Kuong is accessible and workaholic. And he has good leadership quality of listening to people respective of their status in society. This means therefore he can cooperate and work with all communities in restoring peace and normalcy back to Unity State. Kuong is a discipline public servant and dedicated soldier. His experiences in security and public services can enable him to put things in order.  More importantly, he is more senior in the SPLM/SPLA compared to the trio; and he also has wide network across Unity State. These are some of the main reasons why president Kiir must appoint him as unity state governor to implement peace and security in our region. I heard many describing Kuong negatively as less calculative and too secretive because of his dislike for theft, lies and dishonesty. I once asked his opinion about this description years back but he went mum. I made my own conclusions. And I think the people are right because you become increasingly unpopular and get no promotion if you refrain from theft, lies and violence in South Sudan. Many have risen to prominent for engaging in these vices that have brought our country into disrepute.  

The Writer is the Chairman of Liech Community Association in Kenya; the views expressed here are his own; he can be reach for comments via eligodakb@yahoo.com

Unity State Community Leaders and Youth Group led by their overall Chairman Present Sport T-shirt to Kuong Danhier in Nairobi in 2018. From left, (white and Cap) Chigom Poljour Wicyoah, Gatkuoth Thak Gatluak, Sebit Muolpiny, Gatkouth Chan alias Rock Nyakulang, Kuong Danhier (center), John Mading Koryom, Dak Buoth, Odingo Kueth and Machar Gattot Chiok,

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