Pres. Kiir shouldn’t Regret having spared the Lives of his Political Opponents

BY: Taban Abel Aguek, Member of Parliament & State minister, MAY/02/2018, SSN;

President Salva Kiir Mayardit has, for the first time, expressed his regret for sparing the lives of his political opponents. He stated this at Dr. John Garang Mausoleum last week in Juba when citizens and members of South Sudan military had gathered there to pay their last respects to the late Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. James Ajongo Mawut.

President Salva Kiir isn’t alone in anger towards his political opponents over their abuse of the president’s goodwill and what the public see as continuous efforts by the same group to destabilize the country either to force President Kiir out or bargain for share of power in any new transition arrangement.

Many supporters of the President across the country have clearly opposed the decision to have the political enemies released into a world of freedom, including the freedom to span more chaos and strengthen the opposition.

For many, President Kiir’s so many amnesties and his reluctance to be tough are the major causes of the country’s problems.

A cross-section of his supporters among all regions and among all tribes of South Sudan think the President, in his being too soft, is the problem. Some of his own supporters already refer to him as “Abuna,” an Arabic word for “pastor” or “Priest”. For being an ardent Catholic who go to church every Sunday, others say his catholic upbringing is a factor in his major political decisions.

The argument among President Kiir supporters is that he is refusing to be John Garang in the sense that Garang used to be feared because he could crush his opponents mercilessly, imprison them or kill them.

So, from this viewpoint it looks like the pressure from the public, mainly from his ardent supporters – and the continuing ugly aggression by his opponents including those that saw freedom through his mercy – have made president Kiir to regret his decision to spare the lives of his political opponents.

Although the members of Former Detainees have, through their spokesman Kosti Manibe, quickly denied that Kiir spared their lives, the truth is all there open to all.

Kosti Manibe, one of Kiir’s beneficiaries, in his talk to Radio Tamazuj said that it is “unfortunate” that Kiir said he spared their lives. He went on to say that, “It is the system he put in place that spared our lives, not Salva”.

This is a whole former minister in so many Portfolios in South Sudan absurdly contradicting himself.

First, did Kosti Manibe not acknowledge that the regime of Salva Kiir has a system put in place contrary to all what they have been saying about reforms and the country being without systems?

Secondly, did our former minister not know that in most parts of Africa, court orders are not obeyed? If it’s Salva Kiir’s system that released them, then the credit still goes to Kiir.

So, it’s not correct for Kosti Manibe to say that Kiir made them “go through a fair process”, the same process which released them and again deny that he didn’t spare their lives.

After all, when has African courts been above the powers of a country’s president? In few recent weeks, a Kenyan politician, lawyer Miguna Miguna was deported out of the country twice against several court orders. The SPLM Former Detainees would not have been freed had the President not allowed what they now called ‘a fair process’.

The fact of the matter is that the SPLM Former Detainees were spared by President Salva Kiir through the influence from both regional and international actors. Again, the hope of the president was that these guys would rethink their decision and join Kiir’s camp rather be on their own. That did not happen, though.

Dr Riek Machar’s coup in 2013 was clever enough and unexpected that government could not establish his whereabouts, let alone an attempt to kill him. But in the J1 fight of 2016, Riek’s forces were badly annihilated leaving him holed up in J1 alone and in the mercy of Kiir.

Indeed, if Kiir had wanted to kill Dr Riek Machar, there was no any better opportunity to do it than during the J1 fight. In a bid to save the peace accord, the president and his second VP Dr James Wani Igga had to hover over him to protect him from the angry soldiers who lost their dear colleagues in the fight and got him escorted to his base in Jebel.

When fighting resumed the following morning, President Kiir went out calling for calm and silencing of the guns as he urged Riek Machar to come back to work. The fight still ensued and it went completely out of hand.

The real and the first time the SPLA wanted to kill Dr Riek was when he defied the president’s call and headed again back to the bush. Gen Malong, who was then the Chief of Staff of SPLA, had immediately pledged that it is either Riek kills him or he kills Riek. But in the end he managed to escape unharmed.

The bottom line is, as much as others refute it, President Kiir actually spared the lives of the Former Detainees and the life of Dr. Riek Machar.

With that said, I am not so much in agreement with those who call Kiir an “Abuna” (pastor) though. No kind of a soft pastor would choose to fight two brutal wars in his life. President Kiir is a tough soldier but with a kind heart.

However, the president should not regret having done that. The decision to spare the lives of his opponents put above the rest. Humanity is happy with it. God is happy with it. It presents a complete opposite of what the people have labelled against the president.

Those who called him a dictator, killer or any other thing were proven wrong. Every problem has its ending. Wars are (and have been) fought and they end; what does remain are their stories.

South Sudanese in many generations have gone through the history of conflicts. One will be on the right side of history if he or she has tried as much as possible to spare lives of those in danger.

It’s a heroic deed that no one should regret about regardless of the pressure from the angry supporters who want to see a tough ruthless president in South Sudan. All leaders must learn to forgive and so, it is a worthy credit to spare lives.

Taban Abel Aguek (MP) is State Minister for Gender, Child & Social Welfare in Eastern Lakes State, Yirol. He can be reached at


  1. Gum Wel Kiir says:

    Dear Taban,

    We know your sister’s adultery with Kiir and that is why you are praising the president in this way but time will come when all these will be put to book and South Sudan will see light again.

    • Taban A Aguek says:

      You are a little man. We will write the books of history. You go on with insults. You will make a good history there.

  2. Dinka Enclave says:

    Taban Abel Aguek,
    It is true that those of Nyangdeng, Majak D’agot and Mabior Garang sold the dignity of South Sudan to our enemy. What did Nyangdeng Garang, Majak D’agot and Mabior Garang do when evil Dr. Riek Macher with his white armies slaughtered innocent people in Bor town? After their released by President Kiir, Nyangdeng, Majak D’ago and Mabior Garangt, instead of teaming with the president and defeat the enemy, the three flew to Nairobi and start drinking whiskey as if nothing has happened

    • Bismark says:

      Dinka Enclave,

      Like a racist of the then Apartheid South Africa, you are a great advocate of tribalism who does not want to see South Sudan at peace and have every body in the country to be equal before the law and opportunity for progress. You are a devil who does not deserve to be a South Sudanese in its multi ethnic setting.

  3. Martin L. says:

    This article is a BS!

  4. Ww says:

    Hon. Taban,

    Great piece and this site must be appreciated; for the first time, in a long time, it published a voice in support of the President. Thank you Mr. editor.
    I disagree with your central arguement though, on many grounds, but more importantly, on the security of our nation. Individuals are not greater than the State: Rebellions by those who presume self importance and entitlement destroyed our country. Rebellion being the greatest threat to the people and survival of the State itself, must be brought to an end. To end it, political, military, and rebel leaders must know that the end result of betraying a country are life imprisonment or death.
    Many of these “political opponents” are rebels with military wings. It’s the responsibility of the government to hunt them down and destroy them completely. Kill them if the government must. The security and sovereignity of South Sudan will never be completely achieved until when brute force is successful against the enemies of the State; internally or externally. “kind heart” is not a security vocabulary for the utmost responsibility of the President to guarantee is security, stability, and peace; whatever it takes.

    • info@southsudannation says:

      Perhaps you might have quickly forgotten, but this has always and persistently being publishing articles and comments for and against the president. So, this isn’t the first time.
      Since 2003, now 15 years that the has continually and uninterruptedly being publishing, we can very proudly reassert our record of fairness and inclusivity, we published from the government and their sycophants to the opposition or anti-government critics.
      We have no tribe like some ethnic-dominated websites, every one is included as well as every one is criticized if the need is there.
      As always, you and all are welcome.

    • Bol says:

      Clear thinking. We all have our own grievances against the SPLA and the state of RSS, but picking up arms against the state entitles it kill anybody who opposes it. Isn’t that what any country does? Just kill them all anywhere.

  5. Martin L. says:

    I’m appalled by the way some of us, South Sudanese, think! Advocating for “killing” and “crushing” your political opponents is a cheap talk! It seems we never learned a thing or two from our recent past history of united Sudan! What makes Kiir and his supporters think they can successfully crush political opponents – mind you – it has been 4 years since the beginning of this war? Our problem is a political, and a political solution is needed!

  6. J. Malooma says:

    I wonder of what’s left of this so-called President that would encourage the beneficiaries of his unimaginable corruption and mess of all times to write such a nonsense like this?
    FYI, the event of J1 was not 100% planned by Kirr himself. Yes, Kirr did agree for Riak to be killed if possible because he was under pressure from Bilpam to call Dr. Riak to J1.
    But it did not turn out the way Kirr wanted. If I can ask u a question, why did Kirr call for an investigations of the J1 fighting in the same night and appoint Lado Gore, the Deputy of Dr. Riak as the head of that investigating committee?
    Why distorting facts when it had a common knowledge for every informed person that the presidency including Pirr were indeed at risks of being killed in J1 that night; from Malong, Kuol Manyang and Taban etc?… Again, you guys need to rethink about the hatred and jealousy which you have developed for decades against Nuers in General and Riak Machar ln particular.
    This man is more powerful than you think!

  7. mading says:

    J. Malooma. Please stop lying about Kiir trying to kill Riek, if that was the case what prevent Kiir from killing Riek ? May be one of your rebels general was trying to do something to Kiir and Riek in J1 as you all know that it was Riek’s rebels who attacked J1. To Gum Wel Kiir you need to show respect to Taban A. Aguek, we talk politics on this web, not our families private lives, what is the connect between Taban and his sister’s private live even if your story is true ? Let’s try to respect each other is families Gum.

    • Mor-amook says:

      Dear all,
      I agree with those who are discouraging killing of so and so in the websites. It’s was right to spare live of Dr. Riak in J1, but not because there was no opportunity for Kiir to kill him, let’s admit reality. For example, when Kiir ordered Gen. Marial to escort Riak to his home in Jebel, Kiir would have ordered Malong to ambush and kill Riak on the way or talk to Gen Marial in clandestine. Do you think it would not have been possible?

      There could have been so many tricks that night if Kiir had really wanted to eliminate Mr. Riak. But for me, killing of Riak is not the right option. Riak should be defeated through free, credible and transparent election. That would be the time he will get convince that his is not wanted by the people.

      Killing is not an option, you can defeat your political opponent through ballot not bullet, especially bad in our tribalise nation. I agree to author right of expression and right to opinions. However, it is not sparing lives of Dr. Riak that is making live difficult in South Sudan. We have problem with the so called super powers of the world who always eying to others resources to loot. There are so many jackals out there. At the same time we don’t cultivate, many are idle roaming to get chance to loot others property.

      I urge Kiir and his supporters to bring peace, organize free and fair elections to defeat Mr. Riak on ballot. That would convince Riak and his supporters, if the election is monitored well and without influence from the outsiders.

  8. False Millionnaire says:

    Why are MTN apologists horrified by sheer harmless Kiir’s regret for not having cut Dr Riek’s throat when he got him during the events of J1?
    The problems of RSS in général in conjunction to those of jieng in particular is the fact that,apart from Garang,the rest in possession of authority are soft Abunas.
    As Kiir is Abuna so is our most esteemed honorable who has warranted for himselves undue abuses for reasoning in favor of tolérance.
    What political solution are those fools ranting about when they are in favor of road blocks inorder to screen off unarmed jieng and murdering them in the name of politics?
    That sky that’s seen hanging blue without harm will come down one day and that’s the prime cause of concern that will leave no body with fat buttocks.

  9. J. Malooma says:

    Mading, I’m not lying here. You haven’t answered my question; “why Kirr appointed Lado Gore to investigats the J1 ordeal”? How are you going to write the J1 event into history if you failed to set the record straight? Don’t forget that historians never buy lies and fiction. My argument was that lets take Mr Kirr out of J1 conspiracy for now, and not manufacturing lies of saving Riak’s life. Because he (Kirr) himself was in danger of being killed in J1 – – – – and that explains why Kirr sent his own forces as parts of Dr Riak’s escort.

  10. GatCharwearbol says:

    J. Malooma,

    You’re candid in your respond to Mading. In J1, Kiir was about to get kill together with Riek. To avoid the unfortunate news coming out from J1, he ordered his forces to stop and used Dr. Machar as his saving grace. In their ploy to murder Machar on his way to Jabel Kujur, many of Riek forces arrived and quell the waylaid ambush meant to put him to death (Riek). So the claim that Kiir save Riek’s life is absurd.

  11. mading says:

    You people like to talk big for show. If Kiir’s body guards can take Riek home after J1 fighting, even J. Malooma acknowledged here read it up there, then what is this lie about Kiir almost killing Riek, you have been preaching?….

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