Contributor's Opinion

Who is behind the South Sudan`s return to conflict? Domestic and international Level.

Part 1

By Marum Ruon Wicjoat.

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

April 7, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —– As heavy fighting that erupted in the capital Juba over the past few years, leading to hundreds of deaths and the suggestion that South Sudan is “back to war”, the question on everyone’s lips has been: who is behind the violence? This question is all the more curious given that President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar − the leaders of the main rival factions in the recent civil war were seen to have been having harsh political differences in the ruling SPLM party in the country. President Kiir who hails from the country` main ethnic group Dinka who constitute about 35.8% of the 12.5 million based on July 2016 estimate, has been seen changing his political strategy as of his early years of getting into powers.

When Kiir got into power, he was seen as a person who will bring changes to the lives of the millions of South Sudanese who were enslaved by the northern regime for more than two decades. But things fall apart as the foreign powers interfered in the national affairs of South Sudan. And the shoots of dictatorship began to appear in Kiir`s leadership. Kiir began his new strategy by retiring all his military generals in SPLA in 2013 followed by dissolution of his entire cabinet removing his main political rival Dr. Machar after he declare his intentions of campaigning for the chairmanship of the main political party SPLM. Kiir backed by his Dinka allies and his closest counterpart the president of Uganda Yoweri, Initiated the rotting of South Sudan political system after independent.

Salva Kiir`s leadership has been described by many as incompetent, inexperienced and corrupt leadership. His leadership has violated the constitution of the new nation forcing his rivals take up arms and call for popular uprising throughout the country which has currently plunged the country into failed state with economy dangling between decline and valueless. The country which was much loved by all its citizens has been turned into slaughter house, rape cage and corruption opportunity base by Salva Kiir and his JCE. Killing his opponents, indiscriminate arrest, torture and murder of innocent civilians based on ethnicity and fibnally turning the national army into tribal militia. Based on my own observation and research by human right watch, enough project and South Sudan Human right commission, president Kiir is held accountable for the grave human right abuses committed in the current civil war of South Sudan.[ much will be elaborated later.]

Paul Malong.

Malong established his authority over Northern Bahr El Ghazal and the SPLA during the civil war that spanned from 1983 to 2005. In this period, Malong dominated the local war economy and used its proceeds to cement strategic allegiances. He did this through the practice of large-scale polygamy and by godfathering his supporters’ marriages. One of those supporters was Salva Kiir, whom Malong provided financial support after Kiir fell out with then SPLA leader John Garang in 2004. One bit of anecdotal evidence that points to the supremacy Malong developed over Kiir. Malong went far as paying the bride price of Slava`s wife, a role traditionally taken up by a groom’s father and his close and extended kin. In 2008, Malong was appointed state governor of his home area of Northern Bahr El Ghazal.

In the following few years, as episodes of fighting with Sudanese forces continued, Malong managed to convince Kiir of the need to create a militia that would be loyal to them both. He took advantage of the economic disarray in his home region and began recruiting and training men into this new fighting force. Some members originated from Kiir’s home state of Warrap, but the majority were from Malong’s Northern Bahr El Ghazal. Malong was trying to position himself as the first leader from Northern Bahr El Ghazal with national stature. Their forces were called Mathiang Anyoor or Dut ku beny in Dinka for ‘’rescue the president’’. This militia were responsible for the massacre of thousands of Nuer ethnic group in December 15th 2013. In Capital Juba. It was financed with the help of Ambrose Riing Thiik, the chairman of the Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders (JCE). The tribal political group that dominated the decisions of the president and act as propellers of the current civil war in the country. Malong was promoted as a SPLA chief of General staff.[ more on Malong to be continued]

Dr. Riek Machar.

Dr, Riek Machar, the current C-IN-C of the main political party SPLA/M IO was known to have political rift with John Garang who many called the founder of SPLM/A. the duo separated and fought in 1991 with Machar forming the SPLA Nasir which was Nuer dominated. Machar who is Nuer the second largest ethnic group after Dinka constituting approximately 15.6%, is the second most important political figure in the history of South Sudan struggle. He is regarded as ‘’Father of self-determination’’ and his tireless work has finally bore fruits when South Sudan seceded from Sudan and got her independence in July 9th 2011. The political differences between Machar and his old foe Garang resulted into what many called as ‘’Bor massacre’’ in 1991 when thousands of Nuer white Army marched into the home town of Garang resulting to the death of hundreds and thousands displaced.

Machar became a vice president of South Sudan soon after the death of Garang and his early role in the government as vice president was seen a success of South Sudanese people. Although Machar is regarded as competent in his political personality, he is seen by many Nuer politicians as a person with weak military affiliation and too much sympathy in his political and military career. Which as a result led to the defection of many Nuer senior Generals in SPLA IO. Leaving the movement shaky.[ to be continued..]

The author is a South Sudanese young political analyst who studies bachelor of business administration in Ethiopia and the content of this articles are solely his own. He can be reached through marumruon@gmail.com

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