By Kharubino Kur Bol, JUL/13/2017, SSN;
The fall of Gen. Paul Malong from the corridors of power to house arrest perfectly defied an apothegm that goes, “the bigger they are, they harder the fall.” Malong was not just a powerful military figure, but he was believed to be the de facto President of South Sudan.
His relationship with the President is dated back 30 years ago. Rumors have it that the once powerful Gen. had once swaggered about his close ties with the President, “I am in Kiir’s throat, he can’t swallow me nor vomit me out; we are intertwined,” brags Malong.
However, his untimely fall left a lot to be desired and we all look forward to seeing pathologists coming out to tell the country the postmortem results of the dead ‘intertwined relationship.’
Ho yes! Amb. Telar was the government’s chief pathologist sent to Malong in Yirol. Can you please tell us something?
Speculatively, the Malong’s superiority complex is among what caused the death of the intertwined relationship.
If there was a great paradox in Kiir’s government, do not think of Micheal Makuei, it is Gen. Malong. He embodied what government supporters need and what they do not need.
He palls the people with equal ease, he charms them to support the government. He influenced major presidential decrees; he fixed his people in every angle of the government, and commanded huge followers than Kiir within the Dinka tribe.
He walked out of Freedom Hall in protest when President Kiir signed Compromised Peace Agreement in 2015. He accepts the truth and rejects the false.
He talks black and white. He is a no nonsense man.
With that charisma, Malong did not know that he has broken law number one of the 48 commandments of power by Robert Greene. In his book called “48 laws of power,” law number one says, “Don’t outshine your master.”
Malong outshone the President and he is neutered.
In his recent portfolio as an army chief, an influential position that some Generals used to breach the constitution and ascend to the presidency by coup, Malong did not strictly stand on the side of law; but stood against anyone who sought to take political capital through the bullet; stood against anyone who sought to kill the citizens and abrogate the constitution.
However, he almost brought to an end the rebellion of Riek — and indeed lamed the rebellion. President Kiir un-deservingly humiliated him at wrong time on illogical accusations concocted by gossip mongers.
To be fair, Gen. Malong was not everyone’s cup of tea. He is a ruthless military leader who believes that the war can be fairly won in the battlefield rather on negotiation table. And this belief earns him thousands of supporters.
The gossip mongers accused him of overflowing ego, Presidential ambition and offensive management of power.
However, with that rank (LT GEN.) of his and his previous experiences in politics, he is already in politics and politics does not often go without ego and ambition. Less than that, you are ordinary.
They also accused him of overstretching his hands farther than they were meant to be, and biting off more than he can chew.
Leave it or take it, Malong has won the admiration of many South Sudanese especially when he heeded the calls of his friends and the hoi polloi to return to Juba. This is a rare demonstration of leadership.
Though he was ignominiously neutered by the President and intimidated by some junior officers, Malong accepted to come to Juba for the interest of South Sudanese irrespective of their tribes and political affiliations.
With his unabated leadership aplomb, Malong didn’t lambast the government for placing him under house arrest nor did he forcefully demand for his release to go for medication in abroad. He is just suffering in a silent mode.
Do not shoot the messenger — I am just telling you the truth. Malong Awan is not AWAN. Malong knows ‘LONG’, he stands and lives by ‘law’. He is not as sly as fox; he knows law as Justice Chan Reech Madut.
He is a good and honorable man. He is temperate and thoughtful. He is not a power hungry dude. His demeanor shows a man who understands the laws and cannot misuse the army to advance his political interest___, which I believed he has none.
He does not throw bombs, or speak haphazardly and his recent serenity not to respond to reckless and antagonizing statements uttered several times by the government against him bears the witness.
As a soldier, he is a follower of Sun Tzu, a famous Chinese military strategist who taught his followers to choose their fights carefully; Know whom they are fighting and why.
In addition, know their options in fight. Therefore, Malong did not choose to fight and that is why he returned to Juba in defiance of all odds.
His exit from Juba had shaken the whole nation to the core and put all people in panic.
However, the patriotic Malong was not scheming for rebellion but to let the country know that the President is being held hostage by the gossip mongers and is running the country under their influences.
It is clear now that the witch’s brew of gossiping in J-1 will sooner than later throw South Sudan into the abyss.
On 12th of May, President Kiir unwittingly accepted that he embraces the rumors more than realities. “I was receiving reports about Malong almost every hour of people telling me things which I knew Malong was not doing. This was becoming a routine talk and it was like I was not listening to them,” Kiir cacophonously added.
“I made the changes because I wanted to see what the people coming with reports about him will have to say again.”
This misbegotten practice by our politicians to gossip against their colleagues in order to register their allegiances and trust of the President is primeval politics of 21st century. Nevertheless, it is the perceived reality in the SPLM.
The President sacked Gen. Malong because of this kind of politicking. This gossipy political creed will set this nation on the precipice if the President does not discard it soon.
However, the President seems loath to learn from his astronomical blunders of embracing gossiping. He drops a clanger after a clanger, and learns nothing. The blunders of 2013 should have served as his lessons.
In conclusion, today Gen. Malong is two months old in Juba under house arrest since he returned from Yirol. It is now upon President Kiir to genuinely reconcile with Malong, forget the past and move on.
Or else, he keeps Malong under house arrest till he, Malong, sneaks out of Juba and uses his detention as an accuse for launching a rebellion.
It is true that in politics, there is no friend but an ally; President Kiir should bring Malong back into government and teach him the table manners.
The writer is reachable via firstname.lastname@example.org