Riek Machar is Failing the Opposition against Kiir’s tyranny

BY: Samuel Atabi, South Sudan, NOV/20/2017, SSN;

In her November 15, 2017 remarks at the Holocaust Museum, the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said two things which gave me both hope and caused me despair on the war in South Sudan.

When she repeated the words of Elie Wiesel (a holocaust survivor and a Nobel Laureate) that “We must always choose side” in the face of extreme human sufferings, I became truly hopeful that this time round the US government will side with the people of South Sudan vis-à-vis their leaders.

But when she spoke of “….South Sudanese government is engaged in a brutal protracted military campaign against a FRAGMENTED (my emphasis) opposition,” I despaired.

We South Sudanese who have philosophically ‘taken side’ with the opposition forces are extremely dismayed by the divisive and fragmented activities of the group.

In any conflict, such as that which is taking place among the South Sudanese opposition, positive, unifying and magnanimous overtures are expected from those who wield the most power.

In this case, the majority of the suffering South Sudanese expects Dr Riek Machar, the leader of the largest and most powerful of the armed opposition, the SPLM-IO, to take the first initiative to unite the opposition.

However, information now available in the public domain unequivocally indicates that Machar and his outfit are the source of the internecine fighting within and the fragmentation of opposition to which the ambassador referred.

The consequence of this internal division is the weakening of the opposition forces which are now ranged against the brutal and tribal regime in Juba.

A recent report by John Young (Isolation and Endurance: Riek Machar and the SPLM-IO 2016-17) brings into the open what many have been suspecting about the true character of Dr Machar.

According to the report, Machar is opposed to the unity of all groups fighting the government in Juba; instead, he prefers to absorb all of them in his SPLM-IO, where he will remain dominant.

He has contrived to make SPLM-IO weak by resisting institutionalization of the movement and formalization of its policy.

This weakness can then ensure his grip on the power and therefore, marginalization of potential opponents.

Most of SPLM-IO nominees to the parliament in Juba, following the August 2015 agreement, are young and political novices; again this is contrived to ensure his monopoly of power.

Prior to the report, many people suspected that Machar was …politically and intellectually insecure;
…that he was distrustful of his peers and colleagues, even those from his own Nuer tribe (several Nuer Generals and leaders have abandoned him);
…that he was a control freak who took advantage of the politically inexperienced youth to enhance his dominance;
…that he disdained the advice of his colleagues and peers (a harsh and close associate describes him ‘as obdurate as a donkey’);
…and that he was militarily careless about the lives of his colleagues and those of his young followers.

The last point is abundantly proven by the death of thousands of Nuer and other South Sudanese soldiers who were his followers at different military confrontations.

In 1991, when Machar separated from the Garang-led SPLA, thousands of his followers were killed on his account.

When he changed his mind and left his erstwhile allies in Khartoum, again the man abandoned thousands of his soldiers at the mercy of the Arabs.

Prior to 2013 pogrom, during which thousands of Nuer and other South Sudanese civilians were literally slaughtered, Machar failed to recognize the risks when Kiir, Malong and others were recruiting private militias to carry out this slaughter; he criminally failed to plan countervailing measures against the impending genocide.

When he fled Juba in 2013, he gain abandoned his own body guards to the guns of the Jieng militias.

Following his return to Juba in 2016, as a consequence of the August, 2015 peace agreement, he again acted to type: he led hundreds of his own body guards to death traps when they accompanied him to the July 8, 2016 night meeting at J1.

As if that was not enough, it is now clear that Machar had no plan for his forces for orderly withdrawal from Juba in case of military confrontations; these confrontations were expected even by non-military observers.

In the disorderly withdrawal, which later took him to DR Congo, hundreds of his body guards perished. Among the dead was a senior general from Equatoria, Lt Gen Martin Kenyi.

This litany of military disasters clearly amounts to accusations of incompetence and extreme dereliction of duty and responsibility for which any military general deserves to be court marshalled.

In October (16-18) 2017, six of the South Sudanese groups that are opposed to the Kiir government met in the town of Nyahururu in central Kenya to consult on how to work together in their effort to liberate the people of South Sudan.

Unsurprisingly, the leadership of the SPLM-IO declined to send a delegation to the meeting.

The outcome of this consultative meeting is the ‘Nyahururu Declaration’ in which the parties, SPLM-FD, FDP, NDM, SSNMC, NAS, and NAM, have agreed to form a broad alliance to achieve their objectives; they have also agreed to respect the autonomy of each group to exist separately but as a part of the alliance.

Again, the suffering South Sudanese can only view with consternation the absence of the SPLM-IO, which they expect to have given leadership to the emerging alliance.

Ultimately, Riek Machar, in the wake of new political and diplomatic reality on the issue of South Sudan, will have to make up his mind as to his own future and that of his organization.

He has two main choices:
1- he can lead his group into the fold of the new opposition alliance and constructively contribute to the freedom of South Sudanese;
2- he can continue with the present, lonely, destructive and divisive trajectory and become politically irrelevant in the politics of South Sudan, both in the short and long term; unless, of course, he capitulates to Taban Deng Gai and rejoins the JCE-controlled regime in Juba.

The choice is his.

28 Comments

  1. info@southsudannation says:

    Mr. Atabi,
    Without the slightest doubt or hesitation, it’s becoming clearer every passing day that Dr. Riek Machar is proving more of an impediment than an asset in the war against the Kiir tyranny by his dubious political leadership.
    Worst for Machar personally, he has been now finally bastardised by this so-called monstrosity called the SPLM/A in Cairo, Egypt, recently, when the Kiir’s and Pagan’s FD shamefully excluded and erased Machar from the political landscape of the SPLM/A.
    First, Machar is severely antagonistic to the other nascent groups that have sprung up to also resist the Kiir Juba tyranny by physically fighting against these groups or by impeding the survival of these groups separately.
    Second, we all know that while in office as vice-president in Juba, Machar (like Kiir) illicitly acquired massive amounts of resources ($$$$$) and these ‘national resources’ should be divested to other armed opposition groups fighting Kiir.
    Third and final, Machar should recognise that with the failed experience of the SPLM/A leadership and type of political system in Juba, time has come for a reinvention of a new political dispensation in South Sudan. I mean something like ‘federal system,’ that’s having separate federal states in South Sudan.
    Worse, we could have separate and independent nation states carved out of the current failed nation of South Sudan.
    Sadly, Dr. Machar is totally frozen in some political ice-age and his ego is simply too big. His long-cherished dream of the Naath nation being or surpassing the jieng has sadly proven untenable or achievable.
    He or his group isn’t coming forward with better alternative of permanently resolving the myriad of problems in the failed nation.
    Editor

  2. Concerned says:

    I hate to defend Riek Machar, but after all the undisputed facts you logically listed above, you forgot to mention the fact is that he has been and is the only one fighting the rotten government in Juba and will probably be the only one left fighting…

    The rest of the oppositions are either uncommitted to the cause, can’t confront them government on their own or are even working for the government either knowingly or unknowingly…

    Yes Riek Machar does have a lot shortcomings, some of whom you failed to list, but the biggest of all is the inability to secure logistics for his fighters and this is where he can easily be replaced by any opposition leader who manages to secure logistics and not by forming new groups here and there every couple of weeks, which only extends the life of government in Juba maybe indefinitely…

  3. denghanbol says:

    Which oppositions are you talking about? There are no genuine opposition that the SPLA-IO can unite with. period.

    • Samuel Atabi says:

      That is the point. Even if they have only their mouth to claim their opposition status get them inside the tent. An American president once said, “It is better to have your opponent inside the tent pissing out, rather than him being outside pissing in”.

  4. Concerned says:

    I don’t know the guy in person, but it is a public knowledge that he and his friend Lam Akol are long time serial losers in South Sudan’s politics. The guys must have terrible poor judgments of political events as they unfold in the political arena. This explains why they lose to everybody even to the dumbest of all like Salva Kiir! These guys don’t belong to these arena, but they are probably too dumb to recognize where they don’t belong…

    However, Riek Machar at the moment, along with the hero prof Nyaba, is the only one who represents the voice of the voiceless, he gives little hope to the hopeless because, despite his limitations, he continues to fight on their behaves when everybody hides away. Seeing him being disparaged like that just to hype up other equally incompetent and a probable double agent, like general Cirrillo, only makes the well wishers really sad…

    • Bismark says:

      Concerned

      As each day passes by, the innocent people of South Sudan continue to die either by bullets or hunger. The war fatigue amongst fighters and the non combatants is beyond description. Peace and freedom is what the fighters say they are trying to achieve.

      However when looked at their strategies carefully, you will realise unlike the former Anya Nya 1 patriotic war for freedom the harm the present combatants seek nothing other than domination and ethnic supremacy.

      Garang did it and so there is no doubt what Riek is doing is the same. Members of other ethnic groups are only used as their vehicles for their gains with sheer lack of patriotism.

      Today South Sudan is bleeding because of that attitude that was initiated by late Garang that built institutions on tribal base that sprout corruption, nepotism and tribalism. Like Garang, Riek does not want to see another group of freedom fighters in the bushes of South Sudan because he fears being challenged for any wrong doing.

      I see no reason to fight fighters who are friendly and are fighting for the same cause unless there is a hidden agenda that is probably dangerous. Riek must learn to accept and coordinate with other forces that are for change of government institutions of South Sudan otherwise he would be viewed as a person who wants to replace the present system with the same set of rules or institutions.

      South Sudanese should not allow domination of the state by people who use the people for personal gains at the expense of the country. The people should not be used like honey that is consumed and the honey comb is discarded after use.

  5. Bismark says:

    Concerned
    As each day passes by, the innocent people of South Sudan continue to die either by bullets or hunger. The war fatigue amongst fighters and the non-combatants is beyond description. Peace and freedom is what the fighters say they are trying to achieve.

    However when you look at their strategies critically you will realize that unlike the former Anya Nya 1 patriotic war for freedom, the harm the present combatants have brought upon civilians is colossal and they seek nothing other than domination and ethnic supremacy.

    Late Garang did it and so there is no doubt what Riek is doing is the same. Members of other ethnic groups are only used as their vehicles for their gains with sheer lack of patriotism or cannon fodders.

    Today South Sudan is bleeding because of that attitude that was initiated by late Garang that built institutions on tribal base that sprout corruption, nepotism and tribalism.

    Like Garang, Riek does not want to see another group of freedom fighters in the bushes of South Sudan because he fears being challenged for any wrong doing. I see no reason to fight fighters who are friendly and are fighting for the same cause unless there is a hidden agenda that is probably dangerous.

    Riek must learn to accept and coordinate with other forces that are for change of government institutions of South Sudan otherwise he would be viewed as a person who wants to replace the present system with the same set of rules or institutions.

    South Sudanese should not allow domination of the state by people who use the people for personal gains at the expense of the country. The people should not be used like honey that is consumed and the honey comb is discarded after use.

    • Concerned says:

      Brother Bismark,

      I would argue that Riek is a lesser evil than either Garang or Kiir. Riek may be incompetent but, unlike Salva Kiir who has ill intention to other tribes even to some of his own, Riek Machaar has a good intention for all South Sudanese…

      We should rally behind him, otherwise what brother Mading claimed would be true, unfortunately: we are doomed to fail if we do not rally behind Riek Machar, that is a sad reality…

  6. mading says:

    Concerned. I am not bragging at all, you, Editor, Deng Handball, Steve John, mad Gatdarwich are good internet warriors. We all know that, also you called Riek Machar and Lam Akol losers, add Peter Adwok on your list. He is a big loser who started all these problems since bush time. My last word is that forget about rebels unity, is not happening in our lives time. Because all those rebel leaders in the bushes are leading their tribal men who will not accept to be put under an other tribe men’s leadership. Thomas, Lam Akol, Riek Machar with his Nuer white army, forget about rebels unity, even your evil Peter Adwok knows it.

    • info@southsudannation says:

      Mading,
      Please, also add pres. Kiir Mayardit to your list as a leader in the town leading his tribal men. Further, Kiir is leading a tribal regime bent on ethnic cleansing of all other tribes in South Sudan. His goal, like yours and all jieng, is to make your tribe the only tribe in South Sudan in the next 10 to 15, this according to jieng secret plan laid out by John Garang.
      Is there any wonder why all other tribes are up in arms resisting your so-called ‘master plan’ of ethnic cleansing today?
      Editor

    • denghanbol says:

      Mading, I think this would have been inconceivable in South Sudan which groups don not want to fraternize with the IO. Let me tell you this, despite of conspiracies and many setback, Dr. Machar is the only powefull person who will dislodge the tribal regime in Juba via military means.

  7. False Millionnaire says:

    Éditor,
    Did u say John Garang?that’s what it Is to sink that low.
    But I challange u to lead the révolution that’s being sung about and prove to every one to have better leadership qualities than Garang before smearing him with the mud.

    • KK says:

      Stop the nonsense False M,

      Garang was a cunning dude capitalizing on desperation of the Southerners, He killed so many opponents including those of Majer Gai from Bor. Rape, murder looting was the tool he used to coerced other no Dinkas to join the SPLA. b4 his demise, he had effectively installed Dinka Bor in core units like MI, traffic police, Customs including favors for asylum and scholarships. he used the Dinka Bhar El Ghazel to make up most of the foot soldiers to achieve his goal. after the BEG woke up, he suggested Bor to be part of Equatorian region in New site conference, this was opposed by the wise Equatorian Governor Samuel Abu John. talk to fools knwo some of us who have been there all along

  8. Okuc says:

    Editor,

    The guy so called Mading is too blind to see. The Bible said take the peck in your eye first before you point at some one eye.
    This is what Jieng are best at despite the concrete facts that their leaders destroyed South Sudan to the level of stone ages.

  9. Ww says:

    Editor,

    I leave you with this brilliant quote from Dr. Francis Mading,”In this polarized and polarizing conflict, perceptions can overshadow reality, and whatever the equation of the power structures, the Dinka are being seen as having replaced the Arabs as the rulers in an ethnically unjust system. As the various ethnic groups converge against what they perceive as Dinka domination, the Dinka in turn begin to perceive themselves as targeted and paradoxically as in imminent danger of a genocidal onslaught. They therefore strive to mobilize themselves in self-defense.”

    Many none Dinka intellectuals, yourself included, don’t see the reallity of that quote, however, without meaningful understanding of it many of the “rebels” will die in vain. The “problem of South Sudan” isn’t Dinka, it’s the government and the sooner you and your diehards Dinka haters realized this the better. South Sudan would rather disintergrate than handing over power to people who believes Dinka Tribe, not the government, is the enemy. A person in their right mine would never let their goats be guarded by hyenas

    • info@southsudannation says:

      Ww,
      Really….to assert above that “the problem of South Sudan isn’t Dinka, it’s the government…”
      The whole world knows now that your so-called government is in fact and action, is the jieng men advising pres. kiir.
      All things are firmly controlled by Kiir’s jieng brothers, period. They are the hyenas eating South Sudan, not guarding it. I rest my case.
      Editor

      • Ww says:

        Editor,

        It is quite astounding that people of your caliber cannot make a simple distinction between a government and a community. Think about your assertion that “so-called government is in fact and action, is the jieng men advising pres. kiir and all things are control by them”. The Jieng men in President Kiir governement are politicians just like the Nuer men, Bari men, Shilluk men, Murle men, Lotuko men, and women from diffirent ethnic groups in that same government.

        The same mentality you have caused Lago, Riek, Lam, and other leaders failing to liberation South Sudan. Garang on the hand understood that the problem of the then Sudan was not the Arabs as it was being preached by South Sudanese politicians, it was the Arab elite running the government. Garang went further to point out that many Arab tribes and groups were suffering under the same regime and if we were to have New Sudan, (South Sudan independence as an option) Alliance was important. That thinking led to South Sudan independent because the Arabs elite in the government knew it was true and could lead to their downfall sooner or later. in fact, in my humble opinion, it is partly what killed Dr. Garang, He was too smart even for the Arabs in the North and perceived as a danger to their own existence even in a separate country called South Sudan. My friend, learn from Garang. I know you don’t like him because of his Jieng background but he was intelligent unlike many of your leaders leading innocent young men to death without any good reason at all.
        We can all get rid of the current government if you poeple don’t target a community simply because Kiir, so-called JCE, some ministers are Jieng. Get it or get lost.

        • Eastern says:

          Just to get what you were struggling to state, DID GARANG LIBERATE South Sudan…? (or in a dinkish way, DID GARANG LIBERATE[D] Southern Sudan…?)…

          • Ww says:

            Mr. Eastern,

            South Sudanese (all the tribes), in one way or another made contribution to the liberation of the Republic of South Sudan. You may agree with me, if you are sensible and unbias, that it was the leadership of Dr. Garang that led us to our freedom.
            My objection to you and the rest of the rebels is predicated on your deadly assumption that the war in South Sudan is between the Dinka and the rest of the tribes and therefore Dinka must be targeted. That is false and you will never win that war. However, a war between the government and the people, the populace always win. Garang understood this and won.

    • Deng Monymor says:

      Ww,

      Dr. Editor has already hit his head on one of Equatorian mountains so badly to the extent that his once time wonderful mind cannot heed the wisdom of the above quotation any more. Therefore, let’s not bother by bringing this wisdom to a mentality fixed on loosing leader’s behind; in fact, their goal of MTN hunting game along civilians’ roads has already undressed their Kokorization war, making their leader, Thomas Cirilo, stutter on them stupidly, with a mouth wide opened and no utterances. Let him (Editor) enjoy his evening Tim Horton’s coffee drink in Canada…..he is just like his Kokora leader, Thomas Cirilo sitting in Ethiopian hotel while dreamily staring at the bottle of beer, hoping for South Sudan Peace Revitalization process to revitalize him because his MTN hunting game consequences will hunt for the rest of his life.

  10. Dear: Editor and Members

    No.You maybe totally mistaken to say the South Sudan problem is on the government.Yes.It is very true when saying the South Sudan problem is not on the tribe. I sincerely agree with you in my own opinions and in my own thinking.But, the problem of South Sudan is ON DEMOCRACY BECAUSE THE POLITICAL SYSTEM IN THE SOUTH SUDAN GOVERNMENT IN THE COUTRY IS MISSING!!! There is nothing else at this point! Back to you in the forum South Sudan Nation(SSN) Discussion Board!

    Sincere Keeping Unity!

    Abiko!

    KC,MO.USA

    • Samuel Atabi says:

      Mr Editor,
      Those trying to confuse our people about the Dinka conspiracy are ignorant of history. Key international organizations and countries have clearly stated in recent times that the Juba regime and the army are Dinka’s. Ask Dr Machar and Dr Lam Akol how the Dinka allies abandoned them during the Naser split. Even recently Machar was abandoned by people like Aturjon etc. Dinka cannot fool anyone anymore that they can be allies against their own government. Let them attack you on other issues but not about their supposed separation from this government.

  11. Denghanbol says:

    Sultan AbiIko Akuranyang,

    to be frank with you, I have difficulties to understand your comment. Any way, what is your point? Are you with the Jieng/ tribal regime in Juba or with the majority of south Sudanese? Please do not beat around the beach. Better connect with 63 ethnic groups whose great goals are to get red of Saliva Kiir and his Jieng council of evil.

    • Mor-amook says:

      Get rid of Dinka and take them where? Remember, if someone notice that he is going to be killed by Mr. X, that person will defend him no matter what? Those who choose to fight on social media are the spoilers of this country. There can be no South Sudan without Dinka and likewise no South Sudan without other tribes. Those who are desperate of 63 tribes against one tribe the Dinka to finish them are liars. You are kids who never gone to Bhar el Gazal. You will never finish Dinka/Jieng and enjoy peace in South Sudan. The better is to accept our existence all in South Sudan and live together. Let’s also play politics of who is competent regardless of tribe.

      • SS says:

        Mor-amook,
        The entire world realize that Dinka without outside help cannot defense themselves from the Almighty Naath warrior. Therefore, with the advice of the UK Susan Rice, asked M7 to send his troops to fight Machar or to contain Nuer forces from marching towards Juba. That was what occurred. For a friendly reminder, as long as Rice is no longer in the W.H, M7 won’t send his troops back again to SS to fight Machar in/on your behalf. Likewise, the SPLA N. will not come back to save you from ruin, and because of that the Jaang kingdom is going to disintegrate into three states. The question is, would you perhaps ready to face almighty Nuer warrior and Equatoria to defend your kingdom from crumbling? Cousin,I am quite sure one day Jinege will beg their cousins for mercy. As of now, it is up to Greater Equatoria whither to remind in the yoke of Jinege or secede. Naath will not oppose the aspiration of the people of Equatoria if they want to crate their own entity any way.

        • Mor-amook says:

          Mr. SS,
          The problem is that, not all Nuer think like you! there are Nuer who will lead South Sudan one day with support of Dinka. but with drum of fighting, please come to your sense. You are talking like a child and indeed you have never gone out even an inch from Nuer land. You know only the Nuer. Let me ask you question, why did Nuer of western Nile not attack Bahr el Gazal region? ask them! Your fellow Nuer in the west bank of the river Nile cannot talk like that, they know who are Dinka. Don’t think the small sections of Dinka in Bor, Duk, Atar are the only Dinka. You always invader them. My friend, we Dinka we know that, the current fighting is not between Nuer and the Dinka, you should understand that, it is between politicians.
          Let me tell you, since you have never been to Bahr el Gazal, it’s like from Juba to Renk, the Dinka are more than 100% in three big states of the former 10 states of BeG. If they are to march, it will not be 25000 armed youth, it will be in millions. I tell you the truth in the name of God, some of sub-tribes who are not bordering Nuer communities at the western Nile never saw Nuer in their live, they ask how do Nuer look like? and the answer is, they are like the Dinka, that was why British used to call you the Dinka Nuer.
          With clashes in Juba 2013, some did not even know. So, brother, the current fighting is caused by politicians from both Nuer, Dinka and now Equatorians but not communities. Dr. Riak is not the only educated Nuer, there are thousands of Nuer who can be good leaders with exception of mad people like you who only say, Nuer, Nuer, Nuer…..
          From the split of 1991, the Dinka was fighting Riak/Nuer, Arabs and some malitias from Equatoria until Riak came back alone in 2002. If it is fighting, leave it to Nuer who know what is fighting not coward Nuer who live in the western world like you.

  12. mading says:

    Samuel Atabi. These two DRS. You mentioned are leading tribal armies, anybody who joined them find it hard to fit in. Not Dau Aturong who left tribal rebellions in our country alone ,look a round, you will see more. Denghanbol, what 63 tribes are you talking about ? Try to bring your uncle Riek Machar home from South Africa’s jail first, that will be a great job for you nyagaat.

  13. Hoiloom says:

    Mor-amook or Mur Amok,

    Typical Dinka bragging in SSN. If the coward Monyang were that mighty would they’ve asked for help from M7, SPLM-N, JEM just to name but a few.? The whole world knows about your characters..no need for nonsense talk in media. The war is not over until the final show down.

    Hoiloom

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