Dak Buoth Opinion

Dinka Do Not Back An Underdog: A Case Of Salva Kiir And Malong Awan


By Dak Buoth,

Malong Awan, meeting Jieng elders sent to him in Yirol, Lakes State, to convince him to return to Juba (Photo/supplied)
Malong Awan, meeting Jieng elders sent to him in Yirol, Lakes State, to convince him to return to Juba (Photo/supplied)

May 13, 2017 (Nyamilepedia) —— At this moment, there is a stiff and probably even uglier between two Dinka’s prominent sons: President Gen. Salva Kiir and immediate former Chief of General Staff Gen. Paul Malong.

Their discord followed the latter’s untimely purge by the former on May 9th, 2017 on the pretext that he was a divisive figure in the country. I think the President was being economical with the truth, he would have said Paul Malong was becoming too ambitious, and that he was coveting his seat.

We would like to be on record that it is Salva Kiir who is more divisive than Paul Malong. What is crystal clear is that Paul Malong is a very bitter man. And as you can see, he is talking with his mouth full of foam. I do not know whether to commensurate or what the word is, but it is very nasty development. As such, Paul Malong has reason to be annoyed.

Those of us who look at it morally saw that Paul Malong was offended wittingly, and thus he ought to impart some sort of restitution on Salva Kiir and company. On the one hand, others see it that Salva Kiir acted wisely for he is going to maintain his iron hold on power.

Contrarily, I’m of the opinion that we must now set a living precedent in the manner we run our politics; and that we must deal with this callous situation perpendicularly with a view to ending this political backstabbing once and for all. We cannot wait to install or restore political hygiene in our country. Once that is done, we are good to go.

In doing so, we should be mindful that, ‘‘to replace the old paradigm of political violence with new understanding, we must be soldiers of peace who can do more than preaching to the choir. It means avoiding not only external violence but also internal violence of spirit. So, we not only refuse to shoot our opponent but also we refuse to hate him’’ Prof. Wanjohi Kicbicho.

From there onward, any aspiring politician would learn to exercise politics in a way that reflect the traditional political doctrine of ‘‘who get what, when and where’’. In view of the foregoing, Paul Malong should teach Salva Kiir a poignant a lesson to learn from.

In the year 2002, when Kenyans were clamoring to breaks Kanu’s grips on power, they were cheering and chanting a revolutionary song that goes; ‘‘without Moi everything is possible’’. Relatively, South Sudanese must begin to realize that ‘everything including peace is impossible with Salva Kiir in power’ for he is deformed beyond reform.

As someone who observes the political scene keenly, I would say that Gen. Salva Kiir and Paul Malong Awan are the co- chairs of Juba regime. At the onset, in 2013, the duo sat down and decided to grab peoples’ power by means of a bullet. They agreed that anybody who defies orders will be in for rude shock. The likes of Duoth Guet, Kuol Manyang and Makuei Lueth are just mere employees posted to serve as an attack dog; and they can be relegated or substituted to sit in the cold the same way they did to Dr. Barnaba Marial Biel.

Gen. Paul Malong and Gen. Salva Kiir are the key architects who orchestrated the war against the Nuer. And they did manage to scatter the Nuer using all means at their disposals. Some Nuer can say it was because of the Ugandans or the by extension the region, but the fact remains that the Nuer have been floored and beaten hands down. You know I’m soccer player, and I learned when to admit defeats. However, that is not to say you cannot win another contest in the second half.

Evidently, Salva Kiir and Paul Malong have managed to split Nuer into three groups, and we have dispersed in separate directions. The first group led by Gen. Taban Deng Gai surrendered and join them in Juba. The second group led by Dr. Riek Machar has been pushed farther to the peripheries, and the third and underground group which comprised of this writer, Gai Manyuon, Botrous Biel and the likes had gone into hiding In thick bushes with a view to regaining momentum before taking the next course of action.

Gen. Salva Kiir and Gen. Paul Malong considers this stage as an opportune time to eat before the dissidents regroup. And because human wants are never and will never be satisfied, we are seeing a stampede on the dining table. I could see that Paul Malong and Salva Kiir fanatics are scrambling over the same cake. On the other hand, the Taban Deng’s group is also eyeing the same dining table carrying their begging bowls. This eating competition is what caused this squabbles between Salva Kiir and Paul Malong. At this pivotal moment in our nation history, South Sudanese should remember Martin Luther King, Jr’s dictum: ‘‘we need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice’’

To add salt to injury, Salva Kiir is not comfortable with a group who christened Malong as ‘King Paul’. You would agree, there cannot be King and President at the same time in the country. Because of this nicknamed, Salva Kiir has been losing his sleep. He considered Paul Malong as a thorn, and he is saying that he cannot continue eating with the thorn in the flesh. This is the bond of contention.

As matter of fact, those who referred to Malong as King Paul are undermining his legitimacy. In a real sense, it is an affront to the presidency. But because Malong believes he is the co- chair of Juba regime, that name fit him.

Historians will remind us of the story of King Paul of Athens Greece (1st April 1947-6th 1964). King Paul was a soldier like Malong. ‘‘He was trained as an Army officer cadet in the cold-stream Guards and Lieutenant with the Ev-zones’’. However, my understanding of the same is that those who called King Paul were mere fanatics who only rejoice over Malong’s victory against the aforementioned factions. To make the matter worse, those call Malong‘King Paul’ are increasing in numbers. More often than not, they called Malong King Paul even in present of Salva Kiir, on cameras, and in front of foreign dignitaries. But in a real sense, these praising choirs do not really intent to persuade Malong to oust Kiir.

Over the last three days, there has been a simmering tension in Juba and across the Dinka community worldwide. Other ethnicities that are not a party to the regime are very eager to spectate what will unfold between these infamous giants.

I think this battle between Salva Kiir and Paul Malong has ended prematurely. Paul Malong has sense defeat. The ancient dictum has it that ‘‘when you are weaker, never fight for honor’s sake; choose surrender instead’’. ‘‘in vicissitude of politics, it is suicidal to take on an enemy without a back of crude force’’

I concurred with Salva Kiir when he said on 12th May 2017, ‘‘that Paul Malong was in fighting mood’’ On the day Malong was dismissed, he left the capital Juba at 2:00 am with convoy of tanks and other military vehicles. His rationale for leaving at a time of the night speaks volumes. And in my view, he thought maybe there will group who will announce their defection to him. He was trying to replicate what Dr. Riek Machar did when they attacked him in Juba in December 2013. By then, Machar left at night with his foot soldiers heading to Bor where General Gadet was stationed. The following days General Gadet declared his defection in broad daylight.

On learning that Gen. Gadet had bolted, Dr. Riek soon denounced Juba regime and Salva Kiir altogether. If General Gadet did not shift allegiance, perhaps Riek would have either join him and settle quietly in Lou Nuer areas or flew into exile immediately.

Nonetheless, Paul Malong was testing the impossible. When he reached Yirol the previous day, people were only staring at him with little or no sympathy at all. The civilians were going about their daily businesses as if nothing had happened. Even up to this moment, only a few Dinka are murmuring on social media. In fact, no one has yet come out to speak boldly about this event.

Internally, ninety-eight percent of the Dinka Population are unhappy with Malong’s dismissal, but they could not get a gut to speak their hearts.

On 11th May 2017, when Malong realized no one was coming to his aids, he started saying his removal was constitutional; that he finished his four-year term, and that it was up to the President to extend his tenure. This is the utterances of someone who had given in. The question that begs a million answers is: then why did he left and ran away at night? He has would remain and waited quietly to hand over the office to his predecessor Gen. James Ajongo Mawut.I believe Malong is aware that there is nothing known constitutional in South Sudan. Undoubtedly, the transitional constitution 2011 was already dumped and consigned into pit far away from the executive organ. Everything is being done via decree because the country is under the dictatorship. He also knows that the so-call 28 states were unconstitutional but he still believed them.

There is old adage in Dinka known as ‘Kon-Koc’ which I can paraphrase to means ‘let us wait for a bid until the situation is diffuse’’ Maybe we can buy this ‘wising saying’ in understanding what could have led to the premature end of the ripe confrontation between erstwhile comrades Gen. Salva Kiir and Paul Malong. Perhaps our Dinka community might have studied the duo’s case and made a unanimous determination. They might have resolved that if the two Bulls fight the grass will suffer; and thus will give an advantage to the downtrodden which Salva and Malong had pushed to the peripheries. Notably, they had foreseen should they allow Malong and Kiir clash, ultimately, Malong will lose the battle against the Salva Kiir considering the enormous state resources at his disposal.
When I go memory lane, I realized Dinka do not support and underdog except a few in our midst. The vast majority of the Dinka are conservatives unlike their cousin ‘Nuer’ who are seen to be radical and reactionary in nature. Pundits opined that ‘‘conservatives support the status quo not so because they like it but because they believe that it is the best that can be achieved at the moment and that conservatives oppose change because they doubt that it will result in something better, not because they do not desire improvement’’.

Prior to Paul Malong’s arbitrary dismissal, Ambassador Gordon Buay was elevated from mere consular to a deputy head of mission in Washington DC USA. The master-minders of Malong’s dismissal might have guessed or suspected that Gordon Buay could easily bolt out and join General Malong if left unappeased. You would recall, in the 1990s, when veteran liberator Gen. Kerubino Kuanyin Bol was put incarceration by John Garang, no one raise finger. Even when he later fall out with Dr. Riek, and formed his own movement number of Dinka from his home turf were hesitating to join. In 2004, if Salva Kiir had insisted to fight John Garang, he would be a lone ranger.

Even if Dr. John Garang resurrected today and reclaims his seat from President Salva Kiir, I’m sure he would fight it alone. In the 2010 post-election violence, when Gen. George Athor rebelled after he was robbed of victory, the only handful of Dinka went with him, Majority of his forces were the Nuer.

In Nuer vernacular, an underis referredfers to as ‘‘ram mi nott wuende’. And they always stand with him against any persons deemed as ‘Goliath’. Today, when you see ninety percent of Dinka backing Salva Kiir regime, it is not largely because of tribal proximity nor was it because they do not see that the government of the day has fail beyonf repair, but they refrain simply because Salva still have upper hands.

In 2014, when Dr. Riek Machar was gaining ground militarily, dozen disgruntle Dinka politicians thronged Fagak, SPLM-IO Headquarters. Later, when Machar and company were booted outin July 2016, they all retracted and joined the regime, and some have opted to settle with Taban Deng.In the near future, for instance, If David Yau Yau, Taban Deng or Riek Machar ascended to presidency and later behave like Salva Kiir, it will still be the Nuer that will spearhead his ouster either democratically or otherwise.

In light of the aforementioned cases, I believe our Dinka theory of Kon-Koc is the justification for backing the status quo, and I suggest we cannot apply ‘konkoc theory’ in all critical scenarios and or in expense of justice and truth.

In any discourse or contest, winning or losing are immaterial, but you shall have been on record as having made your stance heard. In unlikely event that you loss justly, it will add to your advantage because you will correct where you erred before, and take a different path in future.

The Writer can be reached for comments via eligodakb@yahoo.com

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