NEW NEWS: WILL SALVA’S SALVATION ATTEMPTS BY SACKING TOP GENERALS, WHICH IS MORE TILTED ONTO BAHR AL GHAZAL, SALVAGE THE SITUATION?
Six Presidential Decrees (Decree 16 to 21) were read out on behalf of the Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan, on the state-owned SSTV (South Sudan Television) in the evening of 23rd day of April, 2014. Why do these decrees differ from the previous decrees? Before I answer myself in this question, let me share a quote from my 2011 blog letter to the president on tribalism in his government in a message with this very long title:
‘THE LETTER FROM ABOVE’: SALVA’S SALVAGING POLICY AND THE DILEMMA OF REPLACING HIRING SQUAD WITH FIRING SQUAD AGAINST IMPUNITY BY IMMUNITY FROM THE COMMUNITY
“The parable of the Bible aside, let us bring the point home. I am talking about impunity, the type protected by immunity, which is backed up by the community. Our man is in a dilemma. What is a dilemma? It is a lose-lose condition or the opposite situation whereby one is forced to choose between two extremes. Say, being asked by a Janjaweed to give them your mother or your father to kill, or by Tong-Tong (LRA) to give up your daughter or sister to be ‘married’ when you are the spectator, or even by your electorates to save the republic (your government officials) or the public (the ordinary citizens) of your country. Another term used with the dilemma in the heading of this piece is salvaging, a word close to salvation and Salvatore in our South Sudanese reactionary dictionary. This is not a concoction of an adjective from Salva. No. To salvage is to save, to rescue or restore due to a certain condition. So when used in relation to the name of our president here, the writer suggests if Salva’s Salvation or Salvaging brand of leadership is not blended with another well designed extreme, the dilemma will make the going very tough as explained here.
Back to the impunity issue, it is a fact well known in South Sudan as well as elsewhere in Africa, that if you sacked a minister or a commissioner, you have sacked their tribe from your government. I call it a dilemma because the ‘sacked community’ will storm the office of the ‘sacker’ and threaten him with a revenge action of creating malicious militias against his government. Indeed, the new former minister will turn sinister as soon as they read the ‘letter of disappointment’ that automatically makes them feel justified to send their boys to ‘The Republic of Militialand’ against his dictatorship. Yea, he becomes a dictator upon firing ‘their son’, as they, whose son he is hiring, will bombard the media with congratulatory messages, “Long live our Hero, the Great Democrat!” As this chorus rumbles in from Community B, the incoming one, another chorus tumbles out from Community A, the outgoing lot, “Wrong Live our Villain, the Great Dictator!” And here lies the psychological monster on the bed of dilemma. Keep the government as it is? No, it is too obese from political accommodation, sir! Downsize it to solve that obesity? No, it is too lean, causing ethnic malnutrition towards elections, Your Excellency!” Complete your reading later from this link: https://weakleak.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/blackout/
THE PRESIDENTIAL DECREES ON SSTV ON 23/04/2014
This evening, Gen. Salva Kiir has made it again! More presidential decrees have struck the unsuspecting nation at a time we need more peace and unity than before. And this should, according to most of the citizens, be reflected in the formation of the government.
1- General James Hoth Mai is sacked from his position of the Chief of General Staff of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA). Believe it or leave it, he is replaced by Gen. Paul Malong Awan Anei. Paul Malong was ‘relieved of his position’ as an elected governor of Northern Bahr al Ghazal State and put in place of Gen. James Hoth Mai. As usual, with presidential decrees, no explanation is given about any changes. It’s a near-military rule. I mean it is a new military dictatorship meted out under the carpet of a constitutional democracy (call it DemoKiirracy), a leadership practice that is regrettably loaded with boomerangs or negative kickbacks.
2- General Mach Paul Kuol was sacked from being the Chief of Military Intelligence and replaced with Gen. Marial Nuor Jok, a former Director of Public Security who was arrested and put in prison for numerous charges that include murder of one engineer, John Louis, over land grabbing quarrel. Marial was released without explanation after a series of serious court cases. Now, he is the chief of Military Intelligence! Ask me not how and why?
As to why Gen. Mac Paul was sacked is a story known to even a primary school child who attends treason trials against the SPLM leaders accused of ‘attempting a coup’ in Juba. Gen. Mac, in his position as Chief of Military Intelligence (MI) was lined up as one of the high profile witnesses against the G4 (four members) of the SPLM party in the court in Juba. Gen. Mac did the contrary and shocked his boss, the President, by declaring in the court that the accused were not involved in the alleged ‘coup attempt’ in any way. This did not only change public opinion but also sent jitters of confusion and fear down the spines of other would-be witnesses. Gen. Mac’s testimony caused many weaknesses in the witnesses. This is blamed in the way Hon. Aleu Ayieny Aleu, Minister for Interior, took off from the witness box for a safe weekend in East Africa, followed by a number of ordinary soldiers who were arraigned against the G4.
This was so embarrassing. So embarrassing in such a way that the case is rendered too weakened that the prisoners may walk out majestically, and the government made too wicked that the case of the coup attempt that sparked off this war may backfire against the government during those unimaginable days when realities will be shown in the international courts of justice and accountability. Am I daydreaming? This is how I always appear…distinctly unrealistic and distantly impractical. But my predictions will come to pass. Somebody must answer for all this bloody mess!
Therefore, it was an open analytical secret in and around town that Mac Paul was sacked immediately after he dropped his last sentence in the it-was-not-a-coup-by-the-four-guys testimony in the court. What a general! Though crucified at the altar of truth, Gen. Mac Paul remains a hero in the face of impunity and tribal politics.
3- Hon. Kuel Aguer Kuel is now the caretaker governor–not actually a scare-taker governor as I label some military appointees to such positions. He (Kuel or Kiir) is supposed to organize an election within the next 60 days according to the constitution, but not according to the president, the only man who violates the constitution unquestionably. Let’s wait and see. I mean let’s waste (the time) and see (the boomerangs) of this scheming to prolong the war on our innocent people.
4- SPLM Members of Northern Bahr al Ghazal were reinstated upon Malong’s exit from the state. This almost confirms that the allegations that it was Governor Malong who sacked these party members a few years ago have come to pass. This legacy of Gen. Malong may reverbrate in the SPLA as some officers will lose their positions upon Malong’s installation as army chief. Also, be reminded that Malong is leading both the party and the army for time being, till Kiir hears our cries to respect the people’s supreme laws in his bloody quest for power sustainability.
5- Besides, numerous names of some ‘PhDs’ were read out to a certain commission to do with pension funds. Well, whatever, even job employment news of citizens are converted into Presidential Decrees. The Ministry of Public Service and Labour, plus a number of line commissions and committees, are jobless as even personal private secretaries are read out in Presidential Decrees as seen in the previous peace talks delegation appointments. What is wrong with this? Of course, what is not wrong with this? It’s dictatorial i.e. a one-man power show, which does not augur well for a country that disentangled itself painfully from the same rule in Khartoum.
In conclusion, the president, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, has all it takes to make changes. However, our problems as citizens who are affected by such changes should be understood. By removing the chief of the army, who is a Nuer, and replacing him with a fellow tribesman, makes Kiir’s appointment questionable even if Gen. Malong is as competent militarily as we know.
Also, replacing Mac Paul with somebody from Bahr al Ghazal again negates the reception of the news by the public. Not only that, it would be seen as a punishment to Gen. Mac due to his ‘disobedience’ that he depicted during his said testimony in the ongoing treason case against their former comrades.
As if that is not enough, it was just last year that some citizens and relatives of the victims demonstrated against the unconditional and surprised release of Gen. Marial Nuor from a treason prison. If you want to win the public favour, you would not appoint people of questionable characters.
In short, since Gen. Malong is deemed important and now being imported from the NBG state to the army with the main aim of crushing the rebellion within 30 days, as he just declared upon his appointment today. To me, this sounds like 30 months! Gen. Museveni by his UPDF (Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces, now South Sudan Peoples’ Defence Forces). Let us pray that more genocidal operations do not ensue upon his exercise of powers. By the way, my obsession with nomenclature interpretation (using meanings of names) tells me that Malong AWAN ANEI’s names are loaded with political superstitions, viz: AWAN means ‘FOX’ and ANEI means CONSPIRACY. And, given the way he has managed the state, ask me not about the context of the name ‘Malong’. There is nothing ‘long’ (lawful) with that. So let’s pray that the enigmatic name resounds not bigger in the current confusion around the president, who has proven a novice being confused here and there by men around him. I have heard of such men in history, who (were) rushed in to save their masters later turned into monsters upon tasting power.
In other words, if you bring such a pyschologically power-loaded man near the altar of power, you one day would regret your decision. I am talking to President Kiir. Malong Awan, or such ethnically groomed uneducated leaders, are always obsessed with crude power. Such a leader is like fire that becomes a good servant in the beginning and a bad master in the end. Nobody will understand what I am saying now till later. I believe in some sort of a Machiavellian principle: the ultimate truth is penultimately a falsehood. Not to argue much into the unforeseen future, let me leave the leaders and my readers, with this quote from one political mind-reader.
“If you give a charlatan power over you, you almost will never get it back!” Carl Sagan. This quote, I trust Paul Malong Awan Anei, will be fulfilled by the end of the war. Which war? I mean by the end of his tenure as army chief. I will say, I told you!
By the way, we need more peace appointments than war appointments in any position in the country now, unless somebody does not believe in peace talks as final and safer solutions to our current ethnically motivated crisis.
Funny enough, this news came in by the time the town’s rumour mill was awash with talks on a desperate attempt to save Bahr al Ghazal by all means. This is manifest in the way Abiemnom bridge was blown up to save Warrap from the marauding rebels. Another rumour, which is too wild to believe, was the secret formation of a committee to assess the relocation of the government seat from Juba to Wau (Western Bahr al Ghazal State) as a measure to escape from rebel threats through Jonglei. The last rumour,
which is being openly condemned in Bor now, is the mass withdrawal of the so-called ‘Mathiang-anyior’ troops, a local youth militia recruited by Gen. Malong from Bahr al Ghazal to save Salva and salvage the situation. Part of this private army was trained in Luri near Juba, and is being blamed for the targeted massacres that sparked off the war in Juba last December.
The reports from Duk County today show that these armed youth were annoyed with the news that the rebels were threatening to capture Warrap, hence are pulling out to save their state and region. That is the impact of recruiting tribal-based army into the national army. This weakness is being felt throughout this useless “War of the Big Seat” in the nascent Republic of South Sudan.
As for the case of tribal or regional tendency of Kiir’s administration, it’s so cheap for me to bow low and enumerate all the top positions occupied by Kiir’s kinsmen and fellow Bahr al Ghazalians in the current administration. It’s self evidence! Let’s wait and see the future of this nation in the hands of the charlatans protected by shenanigans.