Nyandeng: IGAD must use the stick to get Kiir out as president, not diplomacy


Warring parties have failed to find solutions to a political crisis that started in 2013. Fred Oluoch spoke with John Garang’s widow Rebecca Nyandeng on the challenges facing South Sudan.

QUESTION: In 2013, you wanted to be the chairperson of SPLM and by extension the presidency. What was your objective?

NYANDENG: At that time, I wanted to inject democracy into SPLM. Two, I was the only woman then who could aspire to the post of the chairperson and I wanted to set an example for women.

If President Salva Kiir had allowed us to contest and he won, we would have accepted and shaken his hand.

I was satisfied with the leadership my husband and I had provided to the people of South Sudan, but after his death I realised that there was a major problem with the way our party was being run, so I offered to set things right.

That has not come and I guess it will not come because what the people of South Sudan want now is peace, and not who is leading them.

This is the last agenda after all of us sit down and decide who is the most suitable to lead and unite them. Even if you have ambitions, you cannot succeed with the current mess.

Again, we have to evaluate the root cause of the problem — which is lack of leadership with the capacity to address the basic needs of the people.

So we need to bring somebody with that capacity to deal with these issues and unite the people. If we focus only on the top leadership, then it is like a house with only the roof minus pillars — which will not stand.

QUESTION: Do you think South Sudanese are receptive to women?

NYANDENG: They are because the movement has taught the people that women can lead. Many women fought in the bush for 21 years and commanded a lot of respect.

But as women we still need to make more people understand that in leadership, you go for the person who can set things right, not the gender.

QUESTION: Having participated in Phase II of the revitalisation talks in Addis Ababa, do you hope for peace any time soon?

NYANDENG: We did not achieve much because the government refused to sign the Declaration of Principles that will guide future negotiations. But I cannot say that it is the end of everything, because as a politician you have to give hope to your people. The challenge was that delegates came to the negotiation hall with a fixed mind set on percentages and positions in government.

It was like negotiating with enemies and not people who belong to the same country. This bitterness, rigid positions and suspicion must change if we are to make progress in the future.

QUESTION: The opposition were resolute that President Kiir be excluded from the transitional government because he has abrogated the 2015 peace agreement. Do you agree with that?

NYANDENG: Yes, I was part of the groups that asked if Dr Machar is isolated and yet he is a major player, why is President Kiir there and yet he cannot bring peace?

We maintained that if the incumbent must be in the transitional government, then Dr Machar must be brought back, because you cannot say that one key signatory to the 2015 agreement is in and the other is out.

So we asked President Kiir to step down honourably and the two of them will be respected because they are our liberators and we don’t want to humiliate them. We want them to retire honourably and give room to new players because they have shown they cannot work together.

QUESTION: Do you think the Igad mediators and partner states are genuinely trying to bring peace to South Sudan?

NYANDENG: The majority of Igad states want peace but there are individual countries, which I cannot name, that are pursuing their interests. The biggest challenge is that Igad and the African Union cannot face President Kiir and tell him to step down.

They are using the carrot and not the stick. Igad should make the stick visible by calling out those who violate the agreement and the consequences that follow.

It happened in Liberia, Ivory Coast, Gambia, South Africa, Sierra Leone and recently Zimbabwe. Why not use the stick for South Sudan? If we and Igad fail, then the African Union and the UN will come in. END

In Summary:

Nyandeng’s Biography:

**** Born: 1956

**** Education: Rebecca Nyandeng did her high school in Iowa, US before, enrolling at Iowa State University where she studied Economics. However, she did not finish her degree course because her husband, Dr John Garang, decided to go back home after finishing his PhD.

**** Role in liberation struggle: Served in the SPLA army as alternate commander. She was promoted to the rank of LT General in the army but later retired.

**** Experience: Mrs Nyandeng served as an executive director of WODRANS, a non profit-making organisation, that takes care of orphans, widows and the disabled.

**** Positions in government: Minister for roads and transport and presidential adviser on gender and human rights.


  1. Eastern says:

    Rebecca Nyandeng is right. Since the carrots have been eaten without any results to show, now is the time to bring into use the stick!

  2. Dear All Of Us:

    I endorse The First Lady The Heroine The Mother Of The Nation The South Sudan Republic Ms.Rebecca Nyadeng Dr.John Garang De Mabior to lead our country THE SOUTH SUDAN REPUBLIC! I AM BEHIND HER ALL THE TIME! I would like her to Rescue our beloved country The South Sudan Republic! She will make The South Sudan Much better more than any else! Our country will be fine without! THE WARMONGERS AND ENEMIES OF PEACE! President Salva Kirr,and his entire government and and his entire,cabinets,has to go rest at homes well! Our people are really suffering at home! very bad and abroad as well!

    Well,there are people kirr supporters.They are saying without Kirr in the government,there going be chaos in the country! Which is Totally Nonsense! There is no any great threat of common enemies standing right now! There is no war in the South Sudan Soil! The long struggle in the South Sudan,IS OVER ONCE AND FOR ALL! The Sudanese Cligue Regime Sectarian Olichargy plutocracy in Northern Sudan in Central government based in north in khartoum,IS DONE FOR GOOD! We need to develop the South Sudan Republic in all kind of forms Army,Education,Social Justice hospitals food and many more! Back to you in the forum to the audience South Sudan Nation(SSN) Discussion Board.Thank you all1

    Sincere Kiling Fear!



  3. info@southsudannation says:

    Nyandeng is very right this time to call for both Machar and killer Kiir to be removed or to step aside from leadership in the country. However, after stepping aside, killer Kiir has to answer in the public court of opinion and in the legal court for all the crimes, murders and thieving that were perpetuated during his reign of terror in the country.

  4. GatCharwearbol says:

    Hat off for Nyandeng for coming out straight. It is common knowledge that Kiir is the problem of South Sudan. Dr. Machar has been out of the equation for the last 2 years and our problem continues unabated. This indicates Machar isn’t the problem but Kiir.

    Two people can never be wrong at the same time. When two sides are blamed, it is where our problem lies because the wrongdoer takes advantage of this game. Time for Kiir to step aside.

  5. Bala says:

    Nyandeng is lying. President Kiir didn’t refused them to run against him. She and her group, as well as Riek Machar wanted to replace Kiir through the caucus and not by who the public voting action was going to declare a winner or closer. It is okay to replace a head of state through the caucus in a democratic world but it must be done in a manner that shows the leader’s diminishing popularity in public polls. No approval or disapproval polls were run to determine if in fact Kiir has the public opinions support or disapproval. If once had balls to challenge the president, why not form and register once’s party and then run for presidency. I am sure it would played out well. Dr Lam Akol run against Kiir without engaging in some devious and sleazy caucus backstabbing activities. The actions of Nyandeng and the rest constituted the coup attempt. In a new country that was about to experience its first democratic elections,replacing the transitional president through the caucus is the last thing the devilish amateurs would have thought. Even though the president would have allowed them to replace him,the public would have rebuked Kiir and them for it,because such actions are corrupt and stupid.

  6. mading says:

    Nyandeng. Forget about it, you never run around with our South Sudan bank account in your purse like in the past. You can run around making noise with your ugly son Mabior, but it will never happen again.

  7. Bala says:

    Nyandeng’s notion that IGad should force President Kiir out is childish. Igad is the mediator and as such it has no rights to unseat an elected president. Igad chooses to be a dispute solver because it is impartial and its role is to persude all partities to conflicts, make concessions that would create win win scenarios for everyone involved. Of its functions is not to coerce one party over another. A neutral a person should not help, holding your two hands behind your back and letting the other party, keeps punching and kicking you in the stomach. The person whose hands are held behind his back will consider the person who does that as no different from the enem(y)ies. As a result he/she will be out of control, fighting the mediator and his main rival(s).The situation in South Sudan is unique or different. It cannot be compared to why ECOWAS or AU intervened in countries,which Nyandeng has mentioned above and removed their leaders.for once, Kiir didn’t refused anyone a chance to run against him as an independent candidate and number two he had/ has not lost an elections and decided to cling to the presidency,if there was any. Those the ECOWAS had removed had lost elections but refused to accept their losing and threatened to stay as presidents by military. Give Kiir the benefits of doubt, for he had not/has not done what those who were forced out from their leadership had done so far. Any Kiir removal by an outsider without democratic processes as in conducting ballots will leave South Sudanese divided forever. Rebellion will remain and the country will see no peace,development but insecurity, instead. There will be a time when the same AU, IGad and UN will leave us alone. This is the last chance for peace and despite the warnings that no party should come with new demands, your opposition groups have come up with a demand that President Kiir should be left out of the transitional government. Your demand is ludicrous and may cause the deadlock that would deny the last chances of peace to people in South Sudanese society who genuinely want the peace,not you elite types who have the luxuries to stay in foreign hotels while afassocis travel to developed nations. Kiir got a lot of support from every region of the populace. It is the very same reason why you, including the armed groups left him in major towns and popular counties in South Sudan. If Nyandeng wants peace for ordinary citizens, she and her associates must drop their demand for the president to stepdown in the next rounds of peace talks which could be the last.

  8. Deng says:

    I agree with nyanDeng if she demanded all the Splm leaders including herself must not take part in any government in south Sudan because all of them are part of the problem we are facing

  9. Ali Abdel Latif says:

    Nyandeng should not beg IGAD for stick. If she has one let her use it herself. Hahahaha oh Nyandeng poor Nyandeng.
    Please “kang aci lo nyiirdit cin” madam

  10. Puok Nyang says:

    Don’t forget that the existence of J1 is entirely lied on M7. Hence, the question is, for how long would you expected Mr M7 to rules both Uganda and S. Sudan?

  11. Deng Hanbol says:

    Is kingdom of Dinka about to collapse?

  12. mading says:

    Puok Nyang, Deng Hanbol. Puok M7 is not ruling South Sudan, he is a South Sudan friend, and if you don’t like it, it is your problem not South Sudan,s. Deng Dinkas never have kings, so there is no kingdom to collapse in our land. You Nuers are trying everything to put evil Riek Machar to power. But your Nuer madness thinking is not going to put your evil Riek to J1.

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