Press Release

The Tabanists Revolution and the Future of SPLM/SPLA-IO

By James Tot Mathiang,

Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and Gen. Taban Deng Gai sits outside J1, Juba, South Sudan(Photo: file)
Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and Gen. Taban Deng Gai sits outside J1, Juba, South Sudan(Photo: file)

August 17, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —— Since the former Chief Negotiator for SPLM/SPLA-IO, General Taban Deng Gai and a small fraction of the SPLM-IO, declared their intention to take over the leadership of the SPLM/SPLA-IO from Dr. Riek Machar on July 20, 23rd, different political discussion dominated the media houses both locally and outside the country.

These media houses have been up for the past 4 weeks over the replacement of Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the First Vice president of South Sudan. Many South Sudanese, and the international experts are still asking questions regarding the future of SPLM/SPLA-IO and its leader. In this respect, it is good to mention that members of the SPLM/SPLA-IO, strongly believe that their Movement still intact and Dr. Riek Machar still the legitimate leader. However, the people of South Sudan are outraged by the illegal replacement of Dr. Riek orchestrated by General Taban and Salva Kiir. Although the outraged might be justified under normal circumstances, the emphasis in the news has little to do with Dr. Riek Machar’s temporal absence from the capital Juba. In a real sense, the outspreaded situation in JI on the 8 of July 20,2016, was an assassination attempt on the life of Dr. Riek Machar. These assassination attempt was planned and executed by General Taban Deng Gai, President Salva Kiir Mayardiit and South Sudan General Chief of staff Paul Malong Awan. The Trio planned to kill the opposition leader and then install General Taban Deng as a First Vice President of South Sudan. Even though the replacement of Dr. Riek Machar is evidently illegal, the media is focusing less on the circumstances that forced Dr. Machar to leave the capital city.

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Although the overwhelming members of the SPLM/SPLA-IO still believe that Dr. Riek is the only legitimate leader, one of the major points of localized political discourse is about the future of Dr. Riek Machar as a vice President of South Sudan and the commander in chief of the opposition forces. But, the obvious question one would ask is how much SUPPORTS General Taban Deng Gai and his group have in the opposition forces, SPLM-IO elites and the SPLM/SPLA-IO leadership as a whole?’ Of course, I must stress that politics is a manipulation and a struggle for power, but one of the most observable human insights in politics is that people often like to check politicians’ backgrounds and achievements, before they make informed choices. Therefore, this piece will explain why most of the SPLM/SPLA-IO supporters still believe that SPLM/S-IO will be much stronger without Taban Deng Gai and his group.

When people create something, not only do they have a sense of ownership over it, but they are often proud of it. Likewise, the SPLM/SPLA-IO was created by a collective of individuals who have been supported by volunteer’s youth (known as “White Army”) who are supporting the objective that aim is to end the suffering of innocent civilians in South Sudan. The majority of the people in South Sudan and in diasporas believe that the defection of individuals within the Movement would never affect the mission and the objectives of the SPLM-IO. Besides, the SPLM-IO Movement was formed on the basis of shared interests.

Tabanists antagonistic Backgrounds

It was not surprising news that there were office-seeking, and megalomaniac vermin in the SPLM/SPLA-IO. Those corrupted opportunists are always after money and power. As well, the antagonistic behavior of Taban Deng toward Dr. Riek Machar is the most obvious problem that every South Sudanese politician is well aware of. Nevertheless, Taban Deng Gai’s antisocial behavior and political prostitution, will never allow him to gain support even in his own subsection of Nuer Tribe.

First, in 1980s, Taban Deng was known by local people as an ill-mannered and brutal leader ever. Gai was heartlessly abusing his own tribe (Nuer) in order to please his boss. For instance, as a Camp Chairman for SPLM/SPLA in Itang Ethiopia, Taban used to order military personnel to collect young Nuer men and women from their houses to clean the roads or dig toilets for the SPLA military commanders in Itang Camp.

In 1991, Taban Deng Gai joined Dr. Riek Machar who disagreed with Dr. Garang Mabior over the idea of Self Determination versus Liberation of whole Sudan.

In 1997, Dr. Riek Machar appointed Taban Deng as a governor of Unity States, but the majority of the Nuer people in the state did not like Taban Deng due to his debauched record in the Nuer community. However, when Dr. Riek Machar played-down the people demand to remove Taban, war broke out between Taban supporters and the local people in the state. As a result of that conflict, too many people were killed and hundreds others were displaced.

When Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Garang Mabior were pressured by the western nations to come back to one leadership, Dr. Machar appointed General Taban Deng Gai to lead the SPLM/SPLA reunification team, but some days later Taban declared his allegiance to Dr. Garang Mabior’s faction.

In 2005, General Taban Deng Gai was appointed as a governor of Unity State once again, but this time Taban was appointed by Salva Kiir, the President of South Sudan. As soon as the people of Unity State heard that Taban was appointed again to be a governor, many civilians and local officials from the state rebelled against him and the government of South Sudan. During his 8 year period as governor of Unity State, Taban killed and imprisoned hundreds of people in Unity States.

This year (2016), Taban used exactly the same strategy he used when he defected from Dr. Riek Machar to Dr. Garang in 2002. Without looking back at the man’s record, Dr. Riek Machar sent General Taban Deng to Juba as a head of advanced team, but this time Taban planned to eliminate Riek Machar, so that he could be put in as a First Vice President of South Sudan. When General Taban Deng Gai failed to assassinate his former boss, he went ahead and replaced him.

Like Taban Deng, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth the current minister of Petroleum, is also a lone hyena who will never be followed. Lol Gatkuoth is a self-important, highhanded and a known corrupted person in South Sudan. Like his new boss, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth defected from Dr. Riek Machar for the second time in his political career. One of the worst things about Lol Gatkuoth too is that, he always creates havoc within his own community. Mr. Lol Gatkuoth seems to be blind to the incredible humiliation he brought upon his family, himself and Gajaak community. To make the matter worse Mr. Ezekiel Gatkuoth defected from Dr. Riek Machar simply because Dr. Machar appointed Mr. Dak Dup, Lol Gatkuoth’s own cousin to be the minister of petroleum. Lol wanted to be the minister of Petroleum, instead of his cousin, but Dr. Riek Machar was looking for real qualification and experience not online degree.

In their desperate hunt for Supporters, General Taban Deng Gai and his group dissolved the previous government so that they could recruit some supporters, but 90% of the people they have approached turned the appointment down. Again, the Tabanists second attempt was to bribe people in IDPs camps and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but that attempt yields no desired results. Last, but not least the good news is that many SPLM/SPLA-IO knew beforehand that special interests and influential opportunists will always try to find a way to disrupt the normal functions of the SPLM/SPLA-IO. Because of their worst record in their own community and in the country, Taban Deng’s group failed to convince even 1% of the SPLM/SPLA-IO.

To sum up, we now understand that the Tabanists revolutions will never produce any fruit as the record showed that the group failed to convince anyone nor even their own subsections. Given their appalling record in their own community and in the SPLM/SPLA-IO, the conspirers appear to be losing the political battle. And most importantly, the SPLM-IO Movement is moving on without them.

This author can be reached @ jamestot20032003@yahoo.ca.

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