BY: Simon Kur, Juba, RoSS, MAY/18/2015, SSN;
South Sudan leader’s health is deteriorating at a high rate, said one of the former rebels who gave up the fight to overthrow President Salva Kiir. The unnamed source revealed to South Sudan Liberty News in an exclusive interview with him in an undisclosed location in Juba. The official who recently renounced achieving peace through the barrel of the gun claimed he met with President Kiir in his presidential office in Juba.
This meeting took place after they accepted the amnesty deal extended by the president to those who have not committed crimes.
This former rebel, who hails from Chollo majority clan, said President Salva Kiir may not be able to survive much longer time because he is visibly very sick, constantly looking very tired, and exhausted. He further went on to claim that Kiir is living on borrowed time, may not live to the end of the year.
Question: How is Kiir as far as his health is concerned?
Answer: when you look at the man himself, he looks very exhausted. He has fear of his own life. He looks shaky and traumatized.
Though the former rebel official who returned to Juba with the general amnesty extended by President Kiir could not pinpoint the kind of illness Kiir is suffering, he thinks it might be stressed related illness. This he said can be recalled when as you all might recall president Kiir collapsed during one of his trips to Khartoum on mission to meet his counterpart El Bashir in December 2014.
Other sources have also indicated that Kiir is suffering with undisclosed illness though his close aides declined to comment on his health.
Question: How does it feel like meeting President Salva Kiir face to face? And what do you say because there are people saying Mr. Kiir is not an intelligent man and often the decision to run the country is made by his chief of staff?
Answer: Well, Kiir is just a normal person like anyone of us. Just like any normal person, I can see he has emotions. I also see rudeness in him big time. During the time we spent in his office, I sensed rudeness and ruthlessness in him. I saw that one minute he can act normal and within the next minute he turns deadly.
I suppose this anxiety is due to the situation he finds himself in. Kiir admits during our meeting that he realized some of the mistakes he made and now he had wanted to correct those mistakes. He is open to accept any positive solutions to end the conflict in the country so that ordinary people will go on with their daily lives.
The official claimed in his answer that Kiir said that he cannot accept to see the country descending into further chaos. “I can no longer afford to see the suffering of my people and South Sudanese at large,” said Kiir.
At this juncture, South Sudan Liberty News cannot verify this statement claimed by former rebel official.
Question: There are people who claimed that President Salva Kiir is not the one running the daily administration of the country, but Dinka general elites are the one running the daily business of the country, what are your views?
Answer: You know this is what has dragged the country into civil war. There is a group which calls itself the “Dinka council of elders.” These are selfish and egoistic individuals who have not only misled the president but have damaged the image of South Sudan at the international level.
The so called the Dinka council of elders believed and have tasked itself with new Dinka imperialism culture. They are trying to build on nepotism, tribalism and this untold wrong concept and morally unacceptable ideology that they the Dinka are the masters.
The others are slaves is the common cancer that has inflicted hatred and has placed the Dinka ethnic group in an odd position with others and there can be no peace until a cure is found to heal this cancer.
Now, unless this is corrected now, South Sudan will not be at peace, because no single tribe can survive without the others. These council of Dinka elders believes that it is only the Dinka who have the absolute authority, and supreme power to live anywhere on other people’s ancestral land, this is very common practice by the Dinka and Nuer in Equatoria, and Upper Nile.
Also, these two initially warring tribes must change their concept of thinking that only they alone fought therefore they owned South Sudan and accept that South Sudan belongs to all of us.
Question: Why did you decide to come back to Juba and how are you going to fight the regime you once described as displaying nepotism, tribalism, dictatorial, genocidal and dominated by one tribe?
Answer: I and my colleagues decided to come back to Juba after we have seen discrimination by the Neur colleagues to our Shilluk men engaged in the front-lines. We learned this when we visited them in frontline after Pangak SPLA-IO conference in February 2015.
They told us how they were mistreated and killed in frontline by their comrades from Neur tribe. We were convinced and prompted by the devastation done in shilluk land by Neur and we tried to put the grievances of our people before Dr Riek Machar who is the chairman of SPLA-IO but he said there are things happening beyond him which he has no control of.
Here he was referring to what are happening in the frontline and in battle fields.
He added like the Dinka, the Neur have dominated rebellious, their common manifesto that they are fighting for the just cause and freedom, and fair liberation is used as a pretext by the Nuer to gain sympathy and empathy from other tribes to join them.
He blamed the leadership of SPLA-IO for not supplying Shilluk men with better weaponry to fight the regime in Juba, and also cited their return to Juba on promotion; everything is dominated by Nuer including promotion.
Based on that, we decided to come and fight for reform from within because we realized there are many solutions to address the current conflict.
Question: What would you do if the regime in Juba fails to implement the agreement you signed with the President Kiir, given that you are now here in Juba without army?
Answer: When we met the President we told him if he will kill us after our return to Juba. The president looked and laughed and he said, he did not massacre anybody he cannot even kill a chicken. We told him our coming back here in Juba is an open door for many to lay down their arms.
If the President and his government refuse to implement the agreement we have signed with him, this will close doors for many others to refrain from rebellion and armed conflict will continue.
And if he fails to honor his commitment to the parts, we have other means to fight for the right of Shilluk land, and our return to Juba has been negotiated by General Johnson Olony.
Let’s hope for the sake of peace President Kiir will live by his words, but if anything happened to us, we have our men ready even here in Juba to launch an attack, but it is our hope that we learn how to address our issues on the table as brothers of this nation as we all fought for our hard earned independence from Khartoum with our dear blood.
Question: What would happen to the forces under your direct authority?
Answer: We want to create an autonomous-like Great Pibor to address the grievances of our people. We are not fighting for anything but we want our presentation in the national government. We want the current governor Simon Kun to be removed and be replaced by Shilluk and the president has agreed.
The difficulty is we understand the current governor is giving 2% from the oil revenue from Upper Nile to maintain the president that is why the President cannot easily relieved him from duty.
We found it hard to believe that a serving president has to be bribed to do his work. If that is what the constitution requires of the sitting governor of Upper Nile to pay due fees of 2% from the revenue of the state to the president, then it is worth for a Shilluk governor to do that in Shilluk land not a Nuer governor.
“It is ok if we can have a Shiluk governor in the office not Dinka or Nuer governor to give the president the 2%” because Malakal is traditionally inhabited by Shilluk not Dinka or Nuer.
Please note that this interview has taken place before the recent claimed of victory by the united forces of Johnson Olony and SPLA-IO, over government forces in Malakal, therefore some of the information could have changed on the ground.
Simon Kur Peter