Opinion: SPLM/A-IO under C-in-C and FVP Dr. Riek Machar Teny on the verge of disintegration

By Gatwech Deng Wal

Langwarrin, Victoria,

Machar mourns ‘dedicated’ Gen. Simon Jok Gatwech
SPLM-IO Chairperson and South Sudan First President Dr. Riek Machar (photo credit: ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images)

July 17, 2021South Sudan’s main opposition, IO led by the C – in – C and current FVP, Dr. Teny-Dhurgon is on the verge of disintegration. The disintegration seems to occur when the IO’s Chief of General Staff (CoGS), 1st Lt, Simon Gatwech Dual’s presidential advisory appointment was announced by South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit on South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) last month. A call that was swiftly turned down by the CoGS, 1st Lt, Dual, explaining that the presidential advisor appointment does not suit his interest and other South Sudanese interests, it is bake and fake.

A situation of this type went deeper and caused a big disagreement between the C -in -C and FVP Dr. Teny-Dhurgon and his CoGS, 1st Lt, Dual. The disagreement between the C – in -C/FVP and the CoGS leaves members of the IO in the shadow of confusion, not knowing what went wrong between their leaders, and are asking why the CoGS, 1st Lt, Dual’s refusal to the presidential advisory position would be an issue to an IO.

As the two leaders are no longer on good terms, their disagreement implies the breakdown of a set of values on which the IO has been based since its formation, resulting in a withdrawal of the population. A situation that was uncalled for by the IO’s members and their sympathisers.

Given that the IO is on the verge of disintegration, the maintenance of its orders, as well as other forms of authority, fall into the hands of nobody, and thus this led to Duer Tut Duer to announce himself as a Chairman and Commander in Chief of the IO. That is, although the IO itself does not physically disappear, it gradually loses the capacity to carry out its normal functions.

Without mentioning 2015, 2016 and 2017 events that initially scratched the IO’s functions and unity, the disintegration of the IO’s camp was not just triggered by the CoGS, 1st Lt, Dual’s appointment, however, the appointment just fuelled what has already been in the making for a very long time.

Factually, the IO’s disintegration began in 2018 when South Sudan’s government under the president, Salva Kiir Mayardit and the IO under Dr. Riek Machar started negotiating the peace agreement in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. During and after the negotiation of the peace agreement, there were some IO’s members who liked and/or disliked the way the peace was thus negotiated and signed. Another episode that made the IO be on the verge of disintegration is that the C -in – C and FVP, Dr. Teny-Dhurgon signed the peace agreement, went to Juba, took the oath and was sworn in as the FVP without informing his subordinates (military sectors on the ground and supporters abroad). A move that put IO at large into a weaker position in the peace process in Juba and across South Sudan.

However, all these did not matter to some of the IO members who think that the peace agreement was properly framed, it is the best peace ever negotiated in the world and it just needs to be implemented in letter and spirit. While on the other hand, there were some of the IO’s members who think that the 2018 peace agreement was a luring peace, nothing good about it, and so the IO’s C – in – C and  FVP, Dr. Teny-Dhurgon’s move to take the oath without communicating it to his subordinates is shenanigan and betrayal to the movement cause. While the IO’s members were wrestling on what is and not good for the 2018  peace agreement and shenanigan action taken by their C -in – C, — leaders such as C -in – C and FVP, Dr. Teny-Dhurgon, CoGS, 1st Lt, Dual and others were not out of the hook in the support of the IO’s disintegration.  

Here the question that may be worth a million dollars for the IO and its members is what is next? Well, the future of the IO does not look good at the moment and, likely, the IO’s members will soon or later turn guns’ barrels to themselves. The next level in the process for the IO’s members would be to make a consultative mechanism, sit down and discuss what went wrong in their leadership. If nothing works as it should in that process, they have to then take a bold decision to select and appoint another leader who may thus embrace an idea of togetherness in the struggle.

The author can be reached via email at gatwechdeng@gmail.com,

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