Contributor's Opinion

Equatorians: The Victims of Taban Deng Gai’s Political Chauvinism in SPLM-IO!

By Nicolas Deng Mawien,

Gen. Alfred Lado Gore, the minister of Environment, a former deputy chairman of SPLM/A-IO . Lado was bypassed by Taban Deng Gai and switched to a less influential position in the new TGNU(Photo: file)
Gen. Alfred Lado Gore, the minister of Environment and a former deputy chairman of SPLM/A-IO , who was bypassed by Taban Deng Gai and switched to a less influential position in the new TGNU(Photo: file)

July 06, 2017(Nyamilepedia) ——- We, the Equatorians in the SPLM-IO, live in denial of our own failures to notice the unfolding marginalization in every aspect of our contribution in struggle for justice. Like many other South Sudanese who have joined the Movement (IO), we thought the system we want to change would be changed with what reflects our aspirations and beliefs unfortunately the unchallenged political dominance spearheaded by the SPLM-IO Chairman and First Vice President Taban Deng Gai has undisputedly silenced and denied Equatorians’ contribution in the SPLM-IO. The political stratagem choreographed by Taban Deng Gai to weed out Equatorians in the SPLM-IO is the centerpiece of this disquisition.

With sudden departure of Dr. Riek Machar from Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), the IO leadership under Taban Deng quickly embarked on mending fences and worked very hard to convince the partners to the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) that the agreement stays on course and be implemented. We collectively campaigned for our legitimacy in the region and in international community that resulted into isolation of Riek Machar only to find that we have again fallen victims of another booby trap setup by Taban Deng and his inner cliques.

Our intelligence has reliably ascertained that the current SPLM reunification drive is indeed an initiative of Taban Deng Gai. The man is mischievously scheming to ascend to the First Deputy position of the United SPLM with intention of capturing the topmost position in the country, the office of the president. Creditable sources have corroborated that Taban Deng Gai has been prophesized by his paternal uncle, who resides in White Nile State in Sudan, that he would one day preside over the country and this prophecy seems to have energized him to pursue supportive avenues aggressively. This is another Ngundeng version that would once again plunge this country into flame in the near future.

The prophecy has it that Taban would rise in a party (imaginary party that is interpreted to be SPLM) and he would be so close to attaining the presidency but that would not happen until a miracle happen. The miracle is that the Chairman of that fanciful party would mysteriously die or disappear and after that the ascension to power would be achieved through elevation in the Party’s hierarchy.

Such superstitious beliefs seem to have been pursued in the united SPLM-IO but the internal political dynamic of IO leadership under Dr. Riek Machar did not give a room for this to happen. Taban Deng Gai is essentially convinced that his faction of IO would not really strive to fulfill the prophecy without the support from other forces, and this is the basis of his current push to reunite the SPLM.  

He is aware that his political survival remains in the Mainstream SPLM where he would rely on support of all South Sudanese than rather being in the SPLM-IO as a stance alone entity that does not garner enough support outside Nuer constituencies. Taban Deng undoubtedly denied Equatorians’ contribution in SPLM-IO and he is clandestinely conspiring against their interest given his fear that Equatorians may not be ready to support his bid against Comrade Wani Igga to become the First Deputy Chairman of the SPLM. It is in this context that Taban is plotting to get rid of all Equatorians in IO and replace them with amateur Equatorian politicians in order to effectively court Jieng Power Base for formidable alliance in anticipation of any new political dispensation comes 2018.

On 11th June, 2017, Taban with some of his close confidents had a meeting at his residence to design strategies on how to smoke out Equatorians from SPLM-IO currently implementing the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) in TGoNU. The group resolved that the dismissal of Equatorians in IO should be a gradual process such that the disenfranchised group (Equatorians) may not feel outright hit which could probably stir backlash against the leadership of IO.

There was a consensus that Dr. Richard K. Mulla would be relieved from his current docket as Minister of Federal Affairs and thereafter Ladu Gore, the Minister of Land and Housing will follow suit. They allegedly accused Dr. Mulla of failing to bring onboard enough support from Western Equatoria region and he is also covertly still loyal to the chained rebel warlord, Dr. Riek Machar. They elaborated that Dr. Mulla is unlikely to support Taban’s bid to become the First Deputy Chairman of united SPLM if indeed the SPLM reunification materialized.

It is in this spirit in the government that, Taban Deng seems to have completely canopied the influence of our beloved son and Vice President Dr. Wani Igga. The latter has been consistently sidelined in major governing issues that he would have prominently featured in but Taban’s dominant has shut him down. The individuals’ powers specified by the agreement have been unreasonably stretched by the First Vice President to enable him to appear in every decision contrary to what the agreement says. This has rendered the role of Vice President redundant and given the fact that Dr. Wani is a man who doesn’t fight back sometime, he ended up being outraced. This behavior is not stopping there though but has now turned on Equatorians in the SPLM-IO under Taban. If Dr. Mulla and Gore are replaced with “yes men” from Equatoria, then we (Equatorians) will utterly become irrelevance in governing equation in South Sudan.

Such political machination put us, Equatorians under IO, in an obnoxious position – a betrayal against our own principles of taking up arms to fight for justice in South Sudan. I am warning and at the same time calling upon all Equatorians in the SPLM-IO to bravely chart our course before we are degradingly humiliated by Taban Deng Gai and his cliques.

The author of this article can be reached for further comments at andrewmabor444@gmail.com

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