APPLYING THE ‘KONKOC THEORY’: Do Not Bomb Gen. ‘King Paul’ into Another Conflict Conflagration!
For South Sudan, what has already come around will always come around. I mean, the same lobbying group that trooped between Nairobi and Yei in the case of Garang and Kiir in 2004 is now doing so between Juba and Yirol on similar fallout between Malong and Kiir. Here we go…!
So I am going to write brief sentences on how such internal conflict cases were handled on Cdr. William Nyuon, Gen. George Athor, Dr. Riek Machar on the one hand, and Gen. Salva Kiir, ‘Gen.’ David Yau Yau, and now Gen. Malong Awan on the other hand. But before I give you this synopsis on these personal vendettas gone national, President Kiir, who just reported (May 12, 2017) that Gen. Malong Awan was talking to him while in a ‘war mood’, has summarized his own ascension history this way:
“When I was appointed by Dr John in 1992 as the SPLA Chief of Staff after the rebellion of William Nyuon, I didn’t take over from anybody. In the same vein, when the SPLM elected me in 2005 to succeed the Late Dr John, nobody handed over to me the position.”
Let’s begin from there…: William Nyuon Bany Machar, whether he was provoked into defection by conspirators’ frustration is not my concern here. The incident happened when I was a small soldier-pupil in Eastern Equatoria and we were affected — displaced from Palotaka to Pajok in the Christmas season of 1992 by Cdr. William Nyuon’s forces, the Deputy C-in-C of SPLM/SPLA. Cdr. Salva Kiir replaced Cdr. Nyuon’s deserted position.
This piece of history is recorded in Panchol Deng Ajang’s musical story: “Wɔ ye nyuc ë thöi ci ke waan yiic. Thöny ë aci jäl röng ke Kiir ë Mayäär. Bɛ̈ny Thälpa, Bɛ̈ny ee yin akɔɔr thööc…!” Translation:… “We sit in vacated seats. This seat is then fit with Kiir Mayar. Sir, Salva, it’s you the seat wanted.”
History to its future books, my concern here is the way William Nyuon’s conflict was mishandled, as Nyuon was himself militarily manhandled. I mean the situation must have been exaggerated and accelerated? Suppose it was Cdr. Salva Kiir or Cdr. Kuol Manyang that was defecting, would the story be different in Pageri that time? Would the history be the same in Juba this time?
Cdr. William Nyuon stormed out of Pageri towards Ame, a refugee camp between Magwi and Pageri. By his good design, which showed that he did not want bloodshed, William’s convoy bypassed the Bor IDPs camps in Ame but was heavily ambushed near Panyikwara, a few kilometres from Magwi town. the same happened to Gen. Paul Malong who passed through Bor IDP Camps of Minkaman.
Cdr. Nyuon survived the ambush and went and overran Magwi garrison, killing many SPLA officers. If power wrangle did not cause a foul play here, it is believed the SPLA would not lose so many men on both sides of the internal conflict, men meant for the liberation war from our modern colonialists.
In contrast, Cdr. Salva Kiir’s similar near-defection conflict with Dr. John Garang in 2004 was quietened beforehand. Take note, Kiir has fanned many similar circumstances into full-swing rebellion. In Yei, Kiir had actually taken a ‘fighting mood’ but Garang played it cool. He rebuked and restrained rumour smugglers and warmongers from exploiting the situation. Dr. Garang first suggested Yirol as the negotiation ground (mark the role of Yirol in our internal conflict) but Kiir turned it down. Rumbek was finally the destination, and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was saved one month to the grand finale (signing). Dr. Garang, being the top peacemaker himself, saw the interest of the long-suffering South Sudanese people above their personal conflict interest. Dr. Garang apologized for angering Cdr. Salva Kiir and promised to go ahead for our nation’s common good. War profiteers were therefore put to shame.
This could have been done with Dr. Riek Machar and his group in 2013, just the way Garang did it to him in 2002. As shown in many independent reports and as witnessed by the citizens during the showdown at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre’s impromptu SPLM National Convention, the conflict was drummed up with war songs and hate speech by the president himself. The president’s bodyguards’ clash that evening was exploited to perpetuate the war to some quarters’ advantage. And we are here today!
As if that is not enough, the J1 (presidential palace’s) flare up in July 2016 was also due to power struggle machination. What if Kiir had sent multitudes of lobbyists and mediators to ‘Pagak II’, Dr. Riek’s residence on the aborted independence day (July 9) and subdue him? Would Gen. Malong and Gen. Gatwich turn that situation into this full-scale war?
What if the group now meeting Gen. Paul Malong, immediate form SPLA’s Chief of General Staff, in Yirol had sat down in December and decamped to Bor ahead of Riek Machar’s arrival? With the help of IGAD ministers and UN, with diplomatic personalities, Dr. Riek Machar, Taban Deng Gai and the lot would have been contained in Bor by peaceful means. Of course, without arresting the so-called G10, there would be no ‘December War’ today.
Take note, the same cohort of Aleu Ayieny, Awet Akot, Tilar Ring, Garang Mabil, etc. who forced President Kiir into a fake coup attempt narrative to spark off the civil war in 2013 (just as they almost did it in 2004) are now sitting around Gen. Malong Awan in Yirol. Embarrassingly, they are using the tribal card of the Bahr al Ghazal Dinka, Ngok and Bor excluded, to persuade the general into unconditional submission. That would be faulted by the non-Dinka leaders who did not deserve that much effort of persuasion and negotiation. Remember the July 10 negotiation by helicopter fire! If Gen. Malong were a Nuer or Acholi defector, would he be sent a single-engine caravan plane in Yirol. Not sure!
Imagine how J1 handled David Yau Yau’s war. It ended with Yau Yau getting all his demands, including the rank of a militarily untrained general. This was not the case with the slain Gen. George Athor Deng Dut. What if President Kiir’s effort was weighed meaningfully on Gen. George’s negotiation, since he was now in East Africa? That Yau Yau and Athor’s comparison, plus others that we know of, prove that Gen. Kiir has all the powers to start and stop any war in South Sudan using the same efforts on others that he is now using to peacefully subdue his fellow Dinkas. Can he do so with Gen. Malong’s?
Yes he can!