BY: Malith Kur, London, Canada, JUL/23/2016, SSN;
“Riek Machar had a gun in our meeting, reveals President Kiir as he recounts gun battle ordeal.” CCTV Africa Reporter (http://cctv-africa.com/2016/07/21/video).
As time goes by, extremely troubling details are emerging from what happened in and around the State House in Juba over a week ago. The scene of devastation and unexploded ordnances lying around the presidential compound are indications that a vicious battle took place there. It is a scene that an ordinary person would expect to see on a battlefield, but not within the vicinity of a presidential palace.
According to CCTV reporter, “it is an extraordinary tale.” It is a tale that betrays the madness which has always accompanied Riek Machar’s search for power in South Sudan. But what is even more extraordinary in the eyewitness—President Kiir—account is that the First Vice President was carrying a pistol, a gun.
The simple question to ask in this situation is, “why he carried a gun?” It is a legitimate question for South Sudanese and foreigners alike to ask. But before we try to answer this question, let us take a look at how senior government officials are protected in the world.
We understand that high-ranking government officials around the world fall under the protection of their assigned, professional security personnel. They do not need guns when they attend the business of running the affairs of a nation.
All nations protect their very important people very well. Their protection is governed by the so-called “first rule of protection,” which states that “the protector cannot be a protectee, at least not at the same time.” In other words, important government officials cannot function while looking after their own security. Somebody has to protect them.
Following that principle, presidents and other high-ranking officials worldwide are not responsible for their security details. The state agencies specializing in the protection of government officials carry this responsibility.
The business of the state officials is to run the country, not to manage the minute details of their security. Often well-trained security agents are given necessary resources by states to perform efficient protection of high-ranking officials.
So president Kiir, Fist Vice President Machar, and the Vice-President Wani have well-trained bodyguards and do not need guns to protect themselves.
Given the first rule of protection we have mentioned above, why did Riek Machar, the Fist Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, carry an undeclared gun to the meeting at the State House on July 8, 2016? It is an act that warrants a criminal investigation. It has gone beyond what we expect from political aspirants in the country.
As we now know, few hours before the fighting around the State House in Juba began, Mr Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet, posted a note on his Facebook page in which he claimed that President Kiir attempted to put Machar behind bars. He also rushed to announcing the incident of fighting around the State House.
Indeed, there is a correlation between the Facebook post, the fighting that erupted at the State House, and the gun Mr Machar was carrying in his pocket.
Looking at these activities, one cannot fail to see that there was a coup planned to take place on that day. Machar came with a gun in the anticipation of a violent confrontation and he was ready to use his gun had the conditions permitted him to do so.
President Kiir is right when he says that Mr Machar was likely to assassinate him if he had a chance. The apparent reason Machar did not use his gun to assassinate the president was the fear for his own safety. If his forces had entered the State House, he would have shot the president and announced a takeover by force. That is it.
There is no doubt Mr James Gatdet, who is a professional liar, is going to come out denying that Machar had a gun is his pocket. He will go as far as suggesting that president Kiir is lying to gain sympathy from the public.
But we need to be very clear here that Dr Riek Machar has gone too far and his behaviors amount to a criminal activity. He has chosen terrorism instead of sound political discourse. The ways in which he is pursuing his opportunities to grasp power are no longer governed or supported by the international norms.
I heard him last time saying that he had never killed even a fly, but this time around he wanted to kill the President of South Sudan.
In this unprecedented episode, President Kiir has shown high standards of political civility and how a statesman should conduct himself when dealing with political enemies. He sacrificed his own safety in protecting Machar from a potential harm.
As I have learnt over the years the conduct of Riek Machar, he cannot protect his political enemies. If Mr Kiir were in Machar’s position, Machar would not have spared his life. It would have been an opportunity for him to get rid of a political competitor. This is how William Nyoun, Peter Panom Thinypin, and Karbino Kuanyin Bol died. Riek Machar’s political and military associates killed them in a cold blood.
In 1991, senior military and political figures from Dinka, Nuba, and other communities who were in Nasir but did not endorse his coup against John Garang were brutally butchered in front of him. He never lifted a finger to protect them.
The fact that Machar was armed when the fight occurred at the State House explains why he is refusing to return to Juba and call for a special protection force to intervene in South Sudan to guard him.
The emergence of these details concerning what happened in Juba on that fateful afternoon makes it impossible for the government and the South Sudanese populace to accept a third party intervention in the country at this time.
What needs to happen instead is for IGAD to launch an investigation into the events which occurred at the State House in Juba to establish its cause. This process does not require any military intervention. It requires urgent criminal investigation to uncover the hidden facts.
The revelation indicating that a member of South Sudanese Presidency carried an undeclared gun while in a meeting with the president is quite serious. It reveals a gang’s mentality that has developed in the rebel movement. This gang’s mentality prevalent in the SPLM/A-IO is the factor driving the endless violence in South Sudan.
South Sudanese would want to know why Mr. Machar carried a gun into the meeting at the presidential palace in Juba.
Those who call for Mr Machar to be replaced with someone else from his party are right. He is no longer a politician but a potential assassin, who is willing to lead a death squad as we have seen at the State House in Juba. He should not be allowed to come near the State House again. He is a failed suicide bomber.
Malith J. Kur