Personal, ideological and geopolitical issues stand in way of peace in Juba

By John Gachie, TheEastAfrican, Saturday, Feb/13/2016, SSN;

IN SUMMARY: What political vehicle of mobilisation will the two men have for what will undoubtedly be the most hotly contested political showdown between them in 2018?

It’s just a numbers game and power-play, who’s fooling who?

Political and military posturing and covert plans to outwit each other characterise the relationship between the two principals in the South Sudan conflict — President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Dr Riek Machar — in spite of their public and diplomatic declarations of peace and reconciliation.

These positions taken by the two comrades-turned-rivals betray deep-seated antagonism going back to their military days, competing ethnic leanings and regional and international geostrategic imperatives.

In short, the two principals are as different as day and night: They can co-exist, but cannot cohabit; they can share the same environment but cannot share the same space — for there is no space big enough for both them.

They repel each other despite the strong magnetic pull exacted by their friends, allies and enemies to bring them together.

That is the crux of the matter in the current South Sudan tragedy.

Dr Machar is a genial, highly educated and highly ambitious political and military man, a shrewd operative with the gift of the gab. He is articulate, suave and very mercurial in planning, with one consuming ambition: To lead at the top.

He believes that he is a child of destiny. That he will not be denied what the gods have so ordained.

President Kiir is a sombre, somewhat dull, if not inscrutable introvert not given to wearing his emotions on his sleeve. But he is nonetheless a brave military man with a wicked sense of humour that belies a sharp and nimble mind. He honed his skills through decades spent in the bush waging war against a far superior enemy, with a larger-than-life leader, the late John Garang.

President Kiir does not suffer fools gladly. He is stoic, calculating, highly informed and vicious when the occasion so demands. He is certainly no pushover.

The man does not give away his thoughts easily, rarely shows his hand, never thumps his chest and always has an ace up his sleeve.

Now, as we await the consummation of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, will the two rivals deliver comprehensive and sustainable peace, or will theirs be a short marriage akin to the one in Angola between Jonas Savimbi and Eduardo dos Santos in the 1990s? Never mind that President Kiir reappointed Dr Machar as his First vice president last week, as part of the peace deal. Prior to the conflict, he was vice president.

South Sudan and Angola have an uncanny similarity. The bush war never fully addressed the personality, ideological and ethnic chasm; neither party initially enjoyed military and geographical dominance; and each principal enjoyed regional and international patronage and support, albeit not publicly.

In the case of South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, the Troika (US, Britain and Norway) and other Western countries are more sympathetic to Dr Machar, while Uganda supports President Kiir. Kenya is torn between the two, with the business community more amenable to President Kiir. The African Union is almost held hostage by both while Russia and China openly favour President Kiir on account of oil.

Egypt, India and Malaysia are inclined towards the president due to commercial, energy and mineral wealth interests.

For Sudan, the Juba conflict is a classic “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation, although the defeat or capitulation of Dr Machar would not augur well for President Omar al-Bashir’s relationship with Juba, and more importantly in the on-going conflict in Darfur and eastern Sudan.

Ethiopian link:

For Ethiopia, it is another classic dilemma, because it has large ethnic groups related to and involved in the conflict in South Sudan on its southwestern border with South Sudan.

In the Angolan scenario, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana and Namibia provided the same geopolitical impetus, including large cross-border ethnic groups; thereupon the Cold War dynamics came into play, while diamonds and oil played a role as well.

Though they are over 5,000 kilometres apart, Angola’s Eduado dos Santos and Salva Kiir are similar, likewise Dos Santos’s nemesis, the late Dr Jonas Savimbi and South Sudan’s Dr Machar.

The question now is, will President Kiir see the red line in terms of consolidation, retention and hoarding of executive powers?

For Dr Machar, what are his immediate gains? What are his guarantees that his hold on the movement and in particular the motley military groups that comprise his force will remain loyal to him?

More fundamentally, what guarantees does he get that his political support group will not be dismantled once he joins the government?

What guarantees does he get for his personal safety and what executive powers will he exercise to keep his team in line?

What political vehicle of mobilisation will the two men have for what will undoubtedly be the most hotly contested political showdown between them in 2018?

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), to which they all pledge loyalty, has split into three in all but name.

One would just hope that the two principals in the South Sudan crisis are not tempted to engage in brinkmanship. END


  1. Deng says:

    Good analysis Mr John, but only God knows what lies ahead of us (South Sudanese) when these two power greed leaders are given second chance to lead South Sudan again!

    • Southdn says:

      I have read section of Hilde Johnson book about comperhasive peace agreement (CPA)in which she had appreciated
      Dr. John Garang D-Mabiour for his bravery and perseverance. Every one knows, Hilde Johnson she attended CPA like midwife who attending childbirth. Howevr, what happened when the war started 2013 she was mistreated by Jeing elders council (The Red hands organization) for her critics to the information minster Mr.Makuei Lueth (lie).she played a big role supporting both government of South Sudan and it’s peopl. Her second book about South Sudan, title who killed Dr. John Garang D-Mabiour, will be issued on July, 2016. Since 2005, there was speculations Jeing elders council, or (The red hand organization) as I called it, was the one had assassinated Dr. John Garang D-Mabiour with With collaboration of ugadan President Mosavein. So my friend Deng, just wanted to inform you the world Will soon discover the nackedness of Dinka, if in fact. Hilde Johnson came out with news of who was the real person assassinatied Dr. Garang D-Mabiour. So Don’t ever dance for war continuing yur legs are so thin and breakable.


  2. Okuc says:


    your analysis about the similarities and dynamic of war in South Sudan and Angola in 1970 is very interesting. in South Sudan the cause of war is the failure of ruling party SPLA/M, the liberation movement turned into political party after CPA agreement in 2005. The SPLA/M has lost vision when Dr John Garange lost his life on Helicopter crash a few months after his appointment as first vice president of republic of Sudan in 2005 and heirs of the movement are incompetent and unprepared for the leadership of independent South Sudan in 2011.
    The similarities between South Sudan and Angola both countries are led by liberation movements which assumed power after independence; endowed with oil money which both ruling elites in respective countries used to enrich themselves and buy patronage for consolidation of the power and therefore the domination by one party in case of South and Angola.
    The contrast of conflict between South Sudan and Angola lies in geopolitics of cold war in 1970 between USA and its allies and USSR and its satellites states in Eastern Europe.The Angola’s war was a proxy war between superpowers and both leaders Eduardo dos Santos and Dr Jonas Savimbi were supported by Soviet Union, Cuba, East Germany and the rest of Soviet block and the later by USA and South Africa.
    Angola achieved peace when Jonas Savimbi was killed by one of his bodyguard in early nighties otherwise, the war would have continued because Savimbi was very ambitious and aiming for top position anything less than that wouldn’t satisfied him.The only difference between Savimbi and machar is the former was well equip with arsenals given to him by USA and South Africa during cold war and would have use it fight Angola government for many years, but machar doesn’t has such support from countries Mr Gachie mentioned in his analysis and whether his forces will remain intact in case he assume his position as first vice president will be difficult to predict.

  3. Peacemaker says:

    Wow! what a bleak picture and objective analysis.

  4. alex says:

    It is unfortunate that educated African people would still like orders from
    other powerful countries. African leaders do not learn from history. The temptation for getting free money for development from these countries has blinded our leaders to the extent that , they fail to learn from their former colleagues. They fail to release that the money promised will not be for free. A person in needs will always be cheated. Congo was cheated of their resources and the list continues. The sad thing is even our journalists because of love for money have been used by the same countries in exchange for money. This does not mean I don’t acknowledged that there are some problems with our leaders. We have been used to destroy ourselves. Black people have been shoot by police in America. They have been discriminated from good jobs. The indigenous Indians and many others ethnic groups had this to happen in Africa, our journalists will have big news but my question is as journalists what are you people reporting about the suffering of those people because you claim you are a voice for the voiceless people in the world. What are you reporting today about the Arabs spring revolution which has been brought by our brotherly democratic countries to the Arab world?
    It’s shame to us. The educated African people instead of working to improve the lives of their people have become agency of the West. Mandela and Anshan vhe Sue of Nyammer , Gandhi are true heroes who have brought changes to their countries with a minimal lose of human lives because they are patient and they care about the lives of their people.

  5. Bol says:

    With implantation of 28 states, Savimbi had already lost 2018 contest…The question is : will he tetires or choose to reegnite the war again in 2018? Will he survives the next round of fight? Savimbi’s problem is miscalculating the power behind de Santos!

  6. Francis says:

    The situation of Angola in the 1970 and South Sudan in 2016 are similar in many ways. Except that Machar is afraid of his own lives from Kiir’s supporters and he forgets that he had brought a lot of pain to Lou people whom he used as a vehicle to come to power! and as we speak, he has left these Lou in the cold after securing his position as First Vice President. His fate therefore lies in the hands that saved him and he is now running the movement like a family affairs; Gen. Taban Deng a cousin of Angelina Teny Riak’s wife and there are romours that he plans to place Jal Thomas the brother of Angelina as Governor of Unity state if the 28 states become void which I doubt. The 28 states would helped Riak get away safely from Lou grip as they have something to talk about , however, if that is dissolved he is going to loose a big constituency if they were to be given a ministerial post, which would not appease for their great loss of lives. If Riak cares about his lives and the lives of others it would be wise to take the 28 states!

  7. Southdn says:

    your analysis is wrong, your allegation eino Edurado dos Santos have similarity to president kiir. you Dink are not shame saying things which are contradictory to each, how come you equalized president Salva Kiir to Eduardo dos Santos and there Dinka equalized him to Adolf Hitler, Mamar Qaddafi, Saddam Hussein, and Amein Dada of Uganda. So, i think, Dinka had preferred president Salva Kiir not to be like them for a reason unknown to others. What a psychopath people.

    Mr. John there no need to hide you self i know your true identity a Dinka even though you corrupted your last name as (Gachei). you have mentioned Jonas Savimbi as an ambitious man thus he was killed by Eduardo dos Santos body guard right. Jackal, i tell you your wish same fate happen to Dr. Reik Machar will never come true your analytic which based on coward emotion is for yourself. How do you know peace will collapse? no it will not a peace guarded by most powerful men and nations will not be allowed be destroyed by a necked person as you. I wouldn’t agreed, as you have said”just game and power playing who’s fooling who” i could tell if you talking like this it is an indication you are anti-peace.

    in addition, when Dr. Riek Machar visited USA last September 2015 there was rumors Dinka said they will assassinate Dr.Machar in Kansas city but when he accepted invitation, many people admired including those who hate him. i know your article intention was to unleash big dog president Salve Kiir, to fight a big elephant Dr.Reik Machar.
    Enough is enough, people talking empty. John (Gachie) yourself would not be able even cray out an assassination of ordinary person leave alone Dr. Machar. You had assassinated Dr. John Garang D-mabiour 2005 by the red hands organization (Jeing Elders council), hope Hilde Johnson book about Dr. john Grang death will tell the world who really assassinated Dr. John Garang.

  8. Elhag Paul says:

    Just curious – is Southdn the pen name of president Salva Kiir? I have been following his style which rhymes with President Kiir’s spoken English. Can someone please enlighten us. If Southdn is Kiir I want to warmly welcome you Mr President to the highly rated democratic website. Please bring along the JCE also so we can have a lively non-stop exchange of ideas.

  9. Southdn says:

    Dear Elhuge paul,
    Why would you call me presiden kiir I’m look like Kiir can you please explain briefly? I’m not against you, or any body, but with the situation in South Sudan. I’m also prostrated with people, who think they can prolong the war, rejecting peace by writing things which are not ryhme with culture of Peace in our country. Dear Elhuge, I will be happy, if you disagree with and same time happy if agree with me.once more, I’m sorry tell that I was an SPLA supporters form 1983-2011. I switched my loyalty to Dr.Machar, when( big dogs) most higher organization the jeing Elder council(the red hands) massacred Nuer in Juba. I had debated many people whom were against Dr. John Garang due to his dictator leadership style. people call me eino, I was like israli priminster debating PLO Yassir Arafat. In this democratic forum, I can challenge a person who against peace. I know.

  10. Southdn says:

    Thanks Mr. Elhuge
    I know why you called me President Kiir. Because i went to Arabic school section when I was in Malakal that wher eino I had learned Arab are cheating southerners by propaganda and empty unity, equality and division of 28 states.

  11. jok lual says:

    yes, mr John, your right for your analysis; machar will been like Angola rebel leader.

  12. Gatdarwich says:

    Too all the treasonous Jenges:

    It is too soon to celebrate the demise of Dr. Riek, because your kingdom of terror total dismantlement is imminent. And it will and shall be implemented and solely supervised by none other than the indisputable patriot, Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon period

  13. Deng says:

    Mr Southdn,

    I tried to make sense of your comment but found it difficult however what I can tell you is, it doesn’t matter anymore whether you’re Kiir’s or Riek’s supporter. What we need to understand as South Sudanese is that these two have caused so much sufferings to our people and I am afraid they will continue to do so regardless unless they are kicked out of politic right now!

    • Gatdarwich says:


      Please don’t equate the indisputable patriot, Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon to the career killer and traitor, killer NyanKiir. Killer NyanKiir planned and executed the elimination of countless South Sudanese intellectuals from 1983 to the present, and he devilishly planed, supervised, and executed the December 2013 Nuer massacre in Juba. On the other hand, Dr. Riek did not killed south Sudanese intellectuals-ordinary citizens–never had committed-planned-supervised-executed civilians massacre in South Sudan soil period
      In short, killer NyanKiir has a long-traceable history of treacherous and indescribable records of killings, while Dr. Riek, don’t!

  14. Nuer-Another Israel in East Africa says:


    I concur with your comment. Both need to retire from politic for good. Sadly, they will not do it voluntarily. So they are in to kill us for very long time.

    • Bol says:

      Nuer-Another Israel in East Africa,
      Congratulation! This is the comment you ever made. Political evolution is what we need this Country, not blind followers.

  15. Southdn says:

    Okay, that fine my bother. I thought you will insult me because I’m Dr. Riek Machar supporters. It was known President Kiir supporters aggressively attacked peopl who have disagree with thier ideology.let come back to the point you stated above, Kiir and Riek must go for they have caused out country failed. Aha, this not what international community and ordenary south sudan wants. Believe me. What you saying is true, Dinka knew Kiir had failed the country so, because they Dinka don’t want Nuer to rule South Sudan, thus they come with this shallow plan, which says let both Reik, Kiir go.But the laws and logic doesn’t see Reik,Kiir as bad leaders. Therefore, if you Dinka continue propaganda. I’m not insulting Dink, than the international community will preside a Court between Machar and Kiir, as had happened in the bible, Soliman gave the child to it’s own mother. Thus the international community will give the country to Dr. Machar, for he was the on who lobbying independent.

  16. False Millionaire says:

    Nuer & Deng,
    U appear very smart and modern in thinking.That’s very good news for our masses and the country.
    We will reconsile our broken communities,consolidate our unity and move forward as one people and one nation without Riak,Kiir and the rest of their likes in the SPLM/A.
    Long live the true spirit of ngundeng!!!

  17. Gatdarwich says:

    Bol & false millionaire–Jenges extremists!

    Killer NyanKiir is a career killer. He personally conspired, planned, supervised, and executed the elimination of countless South Sudanese intellectuals and ordinary citizens from 1983 to present(33 years career of killing rampage–extreme treacherous records). Dr. Riek Machar’s historical records is full of traceable patriotism deeds–records—he singlehandedly pioneered the self-determination–CPA–South Sudan independence. In a nutshell, killer NyanKiir undeniably earned a one way ticket to hell, while Dr. Riek rightfully earned national praise and heroism period

  18. Southdn says:

    Dear Gatdarwich
    Dr. Reik Machar you have said truths Dr. Machar has won is every things: he is the father of selfedetermination, referendum, free people who calling to eradicating curraption, of democracy in a younger nation. Dr. Reik Machar Teny is a Abraham Lincoln of South Sudan.

  19. Deng says:

    Mr Southdn

    I am not the kind of person you’re talking about here for so many reasons, why? I never been anyone’s supporter if we’re talking about this senseless war between Kiir & Riek as I can’t see any different between the two therefore, I have no reason to insult you even if I know where you’re leaning to. Further, I would like to challenge this assumption that anyone with the name “Deng” is always from the Dinka tribe is wrong because we have other tribal groups in South Sudan who could name their sons Deng for example, Nuer, Shuluk,Mundari, etc. Addition to that, you might have mistaken my comments with other commentators on this forum with the same name, I can tell you my comments are always short and to the point and SSN can validate my claim if you like.

    To False Millionaire, thank you for your objective observation. And to Gatdarwich, a lasting peace will comes to South Sudan only when we (South Sudanese) come back to our sense and begin to see our leaders as true national representatives but not our tribal groups representatives.

    • Southdn says:

      Sorry Mr. Deng, actually as you have said Deng is trible male name found in Dinka, Nuer, cholo and Mandarin. Frankly let you, I have no animosity toward you, or any one name Deng. if I had posted a wrong reply please forgive ne. this doesn’t mean I’m against who ever had posted something. I’m just against words that someone might written against Nuer or Reik Machar, as you know my friend South people Sudan has been divided by Jeing elders. I always places my post or reply accordingly to historical facts, biblical quote and other logical sens. why ? I think of Dinka elites had hijacked the country in broad daylight. I’m happy you agree with me, I’m happy i agree with me

  20. Bol says:

    Have you assumed the role of GOD to determine who goes to Hell or Paradise? I thought you were a simple Ngudeng believer, not Almighty God himself! I don’t want to doubt or debate your new role, but Dr Riek and President Kiir are human beings who are capable of making bad and good decision, and must people would judge them as such, not Angles or Devils. However, feel free to worship one of them, spread his new theology and convince the world that RSS has given birth to a Prophet in 21 century……That is less harmful than wagging fertile wars, and who knows I may convert into this new domestic faith…What an achievement!?

  21. Gatdarwich says:


    Killer NyanKiir is indisputable career killer. He killed more South Sudanese intellectuals-ordinary citizens in 33 years period, in every tribe(Jieng included), than any disease or nature–Killer NyanKiir, Malual Bona, and Ambrose Riiny, are prime suspects in the mystery death of Dr. John Garang.
    This is proven fact period

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