Dak Buoth Opinion

Riek Machar Always Beats His Nuer Peers, And Taban Deng Is No Exception

By Dak Buoth,

Current South Sudan's First Vice President Taban Deng Gai
Current South Sudan’s First Vice President Taban Deng Gai

May 03, 2017 (Nyamilepedia) —— The trending rumor has it that Taban Deng is not a typical member of the Naath Nation. He has however been reluctant to come public and clear the air, and his silence on the same gives merit to such malicious narrative. Nonetheless, there is an old adage saying, ‘‘a lie repeated many times ultimately becomes the truth’’. Those who are peddling this rumor are out to spoil his name, and I think as a politician of his stature, he ought to refute this assertion if it is untrue. Anyway, let me leave this to Taban and those who are privy to this chronology.

Riek and Taban are erstwhile comrades; and mysterious politicians who are two sides of the same coin. Many share the view that their names are synonymous with betrayal. I’m fondly cognizant that betrayals do characterize politics, especially at the transitional stage. However, these guys normally betray their contemporaries’ even when it is not necessary. We hail in the same region, and therefore, we know what they cannot and what they can do better. They are politicians who often plot and execute things prematurely, and never reach the other end of the tunnel together.

Vast Majority knows one thing about them: that both have a ravenous lust for political power, and on the other hands, people are not sure of what they will do upon attaining the throne. As matter of fact, we did not hear of them yesterday, they have been at the helm of our affairs for over three decades; they have been tested with leadership, and each one of us only saw their negative results. They are tested with power but they cannot show an iota of physical or human developments. In an unlikely event that one of Riek and Taban ascend to the presidency, many will only tolerate but they will never celebrate.

With the look of things now, we can’t entirely dismiss that none of them would become President of South Sudan. The indigenous imperialists can wake up one morning and decide to substitute Salva Kiir with one of them without our consent. As you can see, the same groups are the one maintaining Salva Kiir on power even when they know he lost national support, and the only handful of his relatives back his inept regime.

Riek and Taban differ slightly in terms of pulling masses on their sides. The latter apply coercion, intimidation and largely lure people with goodies especially those with weak philosophical and ideological balance. The Nuer accused him of having a direct hand in deporting and detaining those that he considered hard nut to crack, the likes of Gadet Dak and senior Samuel Dong Luak. So far, Taban has succeeded in enticing the newly wedded gentlemen and women; and he is using those political greenhorns as praising choirs who sing his tune every day and night. The former thrive among the impoverished and the mentally retarded fellows, these lots follow him like moths attracted by fire; he often presents himself as blur hope which never comes, and they consider him as the only messiah who can rescue and alleviate them from their recurrent predicaments.

If you meditate and scan the Naath Nation using ‘SWOT analysis’, (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats), you will certainly ascertain that the duo has wasted the Nuer’s ‘Strength’. Thus, Nuer’s traditional nemesis are busy taking advantage of this loophole; and now the Dinka’s dominated regime in Juba is descending on them using State machinations at their disposal, castrating boys and raping their young ladies en mass. I guessed no reader will misconstrue this reality as mere propaganda, but rather a documentary evidence filed by reputable rights Agencies such Amnesty International and human Rights Watch.


The Naath Nation is at the state of anarchy and on the verge of ruination because of Riek and Taban’s political miscalculations. These two men have allowed Nuer’s detractors to infiltrate and cause havoc in their midst. I had foreseen the ongoing war between Riek and Taban before it flared up like wildfire; I saw this mess coming before its eruption in July 2016, and I told many of my colleagues about it. Only a few who refused to think were doubting that Riek and Taban would soon be baying for each other’s blood.

Recently, my colleague who is a Don at the University of Juba told me Taban Deng has handed victory to Salva Kiir for free. It means, therefore, it is Salva Kiir, and not Taban that has won.

Many will attest that Riek and Taban were never soul mates. As I have alluded to therein, the only thing they have in common is the uncompromised quest for power, period. The two have been engaging in grueling cold war from day one. In late 2013, Riek stepped on Nguen Monytuil to have Taban sit by his side as they plot and orchestrate the current political storm. During the war in 2014, the SPLM-IO was making use of Taban’s ill-gotten wealth to purchase war Arsenals. On the other hand, Taban was climbing on Riek’s shoulders to build and enrich his political base and networks within the SPLM-IO. If you noticed keenly, you would see that there were some sort of power sharing between Riek and Taban in the SPLM-IO appointments, all Taban’s former allies who worked with him in Unity state were appointed as representatives of strategic countries, and others given influential dockets.


I do believe Riek will return to South Sudan soon, but I can’t tell when. He is just in South Africa for a while. As you can see neither Riek nor his cohorts are feeling disturbed of his absence. They are simply murmuring over his delay in Pretoria. The South African government had no legal or moral grounds to detain Riek Machar while he was just going there for medication. Therefore, Riek still enjoys his freedom of movement, expression, and association for he is yet found guilty and charged in any court of law.


The South Africa government has only two options, one is to allow him to enter and stay in South Africa, and to let him exit freely if he so wishes. Riek can leave South Africa today if he wants, and if they don’t want him to use their planes, Riek can hire a private jet and land in Pagak any day he wants. I doubt whether there is an existing precedent to detain Riek Machar who is yet accused of any wrongdoing. You would recall a couple of years ago, South Africa disobey the high court order to arrest President Omar El Bashir in 2015 when we all know that Omar El Bashir was indicted for war crime and crimes against humanity. At that time, Riek was in South Africa too, and he came on National Television (SSBC) the same evening to backed South Africa’s decision not to arrest President Bashir against the wishes of the international community.

In a nutshell, I’m saying South Africa has no justification whatsoever to arrest Riek. I presume that South Africans have learned the consequences of arbitrary arrest and detention right from the apartheid era. In the unlikely event they announced that Riek is unanimously barred from entering South Sudan for whatever reasons, we would, of course, demand the substantial explanation. Should that happened, I think they will allow him to go to the country of his choice.

In view of the foregoing, the question as to whether Riek is being held in Pretoria is far from the truth. They say ‘‘what you see is not the thing, but what you see behind the thing is the thing’’ I believe there is political experiment that is being undertaken right now, and Taban Deng is being used as test-tube without his consent; and once that exercise is exhausted and concluded, they will let Riek return to South Sudan.

However, as soon as Riek Machar returns from South Africa, Taban Deng will be booted out of the political scene. Alternatively, Taban will then formally join Salva Kiir’s camp as SPLM’s prodigal son. The report that will bring Riek Machar back to South Sudan will be authored alongside Taban Deng’s political obituary.

As you know, I’m frequent observer of South Sudan political blunders. Since the ongoing civil war unfolded in 2013, I have seen the international community are supporting Riek Machar and defending Salva Kiir at the same time. And it is crystal clear, the duo is the beneficiaries of this schemes except for the common man.


In my view, Riek has two major achievements, one, he has always defeated his Nuer contemporaries, and secondly, he has risen from humble background to the peak of the academic echelon earning a doctorate in his early years, which is commendable work. Since he joins politics, he has been using all means including the orthodox means to gain popularity. Now his name is synonymous with Prophet Ngundeng, and he is now the most popular personality after Jesus Christ in the Naath Nation. Some do not call it fame but rather a notoriety. But I learned that a ‘terrorist’ is always another one’s freedom fighter.

Riek’s Nuer contemporaries who fall out with him have found themselves into political oblivion. Late Gen. Peter Par Jiek from his home turf is the latest casualty. I saw some guys celebrating his untimely demises, but one thing I know is that Peter Par will rest in peace more than some of us. Gen. Bol Kong has finally conceded defeat and retired completely. So far, Changson Chang has already been relegated after he was politically wounded by Riek’s forces in 2015. He could be nursing his wounds where ever he is at the moment, and he has no muscles to soldier on. John Luk was earlier floored and beaten hands down. He has now been converted to an errand Boy without a say.

Last year, the AnyaNya two founder and staunchest separatist Gen. Gabriel Tangiye who fall out with him was cornered and butchered in Malakal like Col. Maumur Gadafi. Around the year 2000, late Prof. Mai Duany tried to pitch his own political tent in Lou Nuer, but was later uprooted and neutralized. Gen. Peter Gadet’s meteoric rise in the Naath community soon haunted him. Gadet‘s steady rise was becoming a threat to all Nuer Politicians. In 2014/15, Gadet’s influenced was spreading like wildfire. Those who would come from abroad and went to Pagak were only interested in taking a photo with Gadet. However, when the Politicians saw this trend persisting, they began fidgeting uncontrollably. They got worried that if Gadet combined political muscles, charisma, and military ability, their days will be as good as over. Thus, they decided to end that once and for all. As such, the SPLM-IO top brass devised a plot against him. First, they were called for meeting in Addis Ababa to seek his opinion on some emotive issues concerning the running of the SPLM-IO. Finally, when they ascertained his stances on the same, they set a trap on his way to Pagak.

On landing at Gambella, his irregular purged was declared and soon circulated; Gadet had to escape assassination attempt and finally fled to Khartoum. Subsequently, they accused him of wanting to oust SPLM-IO leader. A letter was produced to justify this weird scheme. Others Generals, the likes, Gathoth Gatkuoth and Chuol Gakak were just implicated and put there as collateral damages to make it appeared they were not targeting Gadet alone.

I must say, that coup claim against Gadet was nonsensical. It was similar to Salva Kiir’s coup against Riek in 2013. I also compared it with the fictitious coup labeled against former vice president Ms. Joyce Mujuru by Robert Mugabe in 2015 to pave way for his wife Grace Mugabe. They say if you want to kill dog give it a bad name. That is exactly what they did to him, such that if he got kill, no one could dare raise a finger or sympathize with him notwithstanding the splendid work he did. Recently, Gadet pleaded to return to SPLM-IO, but they declined. I heard that SPLM-IO said they would rather accept Paul Malong than Peter Gadet.

With all the aforementioned cases in mind, you will come to term that Taban Deng will still be defeated by Riek Machar just like Riek did to the rest. Since his first days in office as vice President, he has not attempted to do a single thing that is meant to convince Nuer against Riek. Whatever he is doing right now only add popularity to Riek Machar in one way or the other. The way they continue cutting his limbs off and pushing him badly to his early grave makes Riek the underdog and everybody always associate with an underdog. For the first time in decades, I can hear Riek’s name being mentioned and sung in none Nuer areas of Equatoria, all those are caused by the mistreatment done to Riek and his perceived supporters.

Soon Salva Kiir and his regional backers will be in deep trouble if South Sudanese starts fighting him as one. Taban does not add up, he has not come up with a convincing and practical vision that can attract the Nuer to follow him. It is very sad to see Taban applying his usual archaic tactics of coercion, threats, and bribery et cetera. Now he is busy encroaching and invading the Nuer land with helicopters and machine guns. As we speak, the Nuer are now transferring their anger from Salva Kiir to Taban Deng and company.

However, since Taban Deng has refused to learn from the past and chart a new path, I will not make any suggestions on how he can turn his political misfortunes to fortune. As my ink dry up, I will end by invoking the longwise saying that ‘‘two wrongs never make one right’’.

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

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