South Sudan: Kiir’s Dictatorial Leadership mixed with Tribalism

BY: Yien Lam, RSS, MAR/10/2014, SSN;

Since the helicopter crash that took the life of Dr. John Garang in 2005, South Sudan leadership slipped into autocratic way of governing, in which nobody knew about it but only party insiders.

This rivalry became intensified and burst into almost a full crisis in 2008 when the president was about to remove the general secretary and his vice-president at the same time as he just did in past July of 2013.

So, everything became tense within the party. When he saw how bad it was, he reinstated them into their positions in which resulted into running mate model in 2008.

At that point in time, things were loosely done in last eight years due to the president heeding not the advice given to him by his vice due to fiction within the party till the Vice president announced his intention to run for the SPLM leadership in May 2013.

As a matter of fact, this became the trigger of catastrophe that our country is facing today. It lighted all wires that the incompetent president and his likes may have reserved to get rid of Dr. Riek Machar and his group.

As the man began his dictatorial job, he started it off by heeding clandestine plan from his sycophants with the intention to eliminate top Nuers generals who were connected to the vice president.

He did so and then promoted his lower loyal officers in pretext of corruption in the military ranks.

In this matter, the President sidelined the supposed-to-be-promoted senior officers who were also deployed as well as retiring majority of them as planned.

As mentioned above, President promoted the lower officers to the heads of their Nuer comrades.

Intriguingly, as a result, the Kiir’s kin or loyal men who’re supposed to retire as expected by the public according to the president were instead promoted and given official jobs.

The sole examples of these are the current Inspection-General, Pieng Deng, as well as current governor of Lakes state, Matur Chut.

None of the Nuer senior officers within the same group were promoted. What does that mean to you as Southerners? Should the head of the family treat his kids like that?

If so, should the family as such continue to survive if its head acts as such? In my view, a family as such would earn the benefit of doubt if not total failure.

In my opinion, a head of family should treat everyone the same. Favoring one and deserting another would only create disunity within such family.

As a matter of fact, when the president saw there was no reaction as his sycophants have thought it should, he then stripped all the power that he initially gave him as his vice.

From that point on, the president had given the stripped portfolio known as National Reconciliations and Healings to Rev. Bishop Deng Bol.

If you carefully look at this assignment, it was not fair for the president to hand pick Rev. Deng Bol again because he in fact did not succeed in Jonglei state that he headed the same title between its communities.

In my view, however, this job should have been given to Chuol Rambang that he the president himself chose as Peace and Reconciliation Commission in South Sudan. Should that not be a reasonable person for it?

To me, it should. Because he needs his own way to control his opponent, he chose not to do so for the sake of peace.

Nonetheless, president did not stop there. He persistently postponed the SPLM Convention that was supposed to take place in May of 2013.

The dogged postponements were intended to know Pro- Machar supporters within the party in order to isolate them.

In a nutshell, in the party partial convention, the unheeded disagreement emerged when the president proposed and demanded show of hands voting as opposed to the secret ballot in convention.

He stressed that the voting process in the 3rd National Convention must be by show of hands which was undemocratic in nature as well as in principle.

But the president has demanded it anyway in order to know exactly who was on his side and who wasn’t. One cannot find this method of voting in any country in world.

The secret voting method is the only way around the world since its introduction in various countries in the globe.

But this seems not to be the case in kiir’s South Sudan. He wanted to change the meaning of secret ballot into his advantage. This was the breaking point for the man to be known openly by other within the party.

This step has changed him from the normal way of running democratic system to a terrible U turn. A person claiming to be democratically elected cannot demand such a thing when we are telling the truth.

Not only that, Kiir had also demanded the SPLM party to handpick at least 5% of delegations out of 100 from each ten states of South Sudan.

This was intended by kiir’s circle to give him a leeway to wield his absolute power on those who oppose him in the party.

However, kiir did not halt there as expected. He continues what his sycophants planned for him as to get right of Dr.Riek Machar in which they now secretly regretted even though I did not speak to them directly.

I know it. They did so by dissolving the whole government to prevaricate on the public while they purposely did it in order to get rid of Dr.Riek Machar.

In this sense though, Dr. Riek did not react as negatively as he could. He mistakenly thought democratic principles would work on his behalf, in which I truly doubt in Kiir’s South Sudan.

Finally, the kiir’s’ dictatorial last u-turn was the political bureau meeting in which did not go well. As the result of it, Kiir has planned to arrest those who were against him by all means.

Within that, kiir ordered his loyalists to disarm the Nuers soldiers within the integrating units of the SPLA within Republican guards as they call it and that was where the fight started and partially controlled.

The next day, Kiir did strategic mistake by declaring the curfew that led to the death of innocent Nuers on the 15th of December.

The death of all those innocents people happened because kiir and his likes were defeated politically by Dr. Riek Marchar’s team that was why he created the mess in wanting Machar to say something related to coup as he finally had it, and Machar was closely missed of being killed by the regime.

In this scenario, however, if 15th of December was a coup as his regime has portrayed on the media or not, what would be the reason for the government to kill only one ethnic group while there were Bari, shilluk, Dinkas and Nuers within Dr.Riek Machar’s Camp?

The answer is yours. Mine will sincerely be different with yours because if it was a coup or not, innocent Nuers would have not been killed either way.

To be candid though, they were killed simply because of their affiliation with Dr.Riek machar ethnically. That was it.

If that was not the case, Shilluk, Dinka and Bari civilians should have been killed if the definition of the coup has been changed from the military to the civilian as it’s done to the Nuers.

But because it was the smear tactic by the regime to isolate only one ethic group, that did not happen.

Moreover, to make things worse, kiir fused his dictatorial power with tribalism to solidify his tribal base in terms of an economic ascendancy.

Economic monopoly of President’s kin became a reality in South Sudan.

One could have asked him/herself why only kiir’s aggregate of his kin mainly in greater Bhar el Ghazal had whatever it takes to be prosperous than the other groups in the country?

Should that be their smartness than other groups in the country? This may muddle the minds of many. But it would not apply to most, me included because those of Bahr el Ghazal cannot outwit the rest of the country men.

It was because of their accessibility to the country resources due to the power invested in one person.

Not only economic prosperity, public media has been a weapon of choice by the president’s tribal men.

For instance, Malak Ayuen in public relations, Philip Aguer Panyang in military and Ateny Wek Ateny as the secretary of press. What does this tell you as the ordinary South Sudanese?

Do you think there are no others qualified individuals from other 63 tribes in South Sudan who could do such a job?

Finally, South Sudan today is idolizing or revering the people who did not contribute an effort to the cause as heroes because of the regime that heavily investing on the tribal base.

This is happening every day in front of our eyes. These included people like William Deng, Abel Alier, Santino Deng,Bullen Alier and countless other of the regime’s kin.

What did these names do than other South Sudanese? Be the judge and when you analytically look at those names, you will satisfy by yourself and be able to judge the truth.

These mentioned names are always being revered as heroes while sidelining the real heroes that most people know of, such as Joseph Oduho, Joseph Lagu, Both Dieu Samuel Gai Tut and countless others.

These Heroes are supposed to be honored in South Sudan plus theirs if they were fair. But it seems not to be the case in kiir’s nation that is intended to promote his kin rather than the Country’s heroes.

This has only been done by the regime whose power and tribalism had been mixed as the tool to twist the history of South Sudan which will not continue to happen in years to come.

The author is concerned South Sudanese and can be reached at


  1. monychol says:

    Yien, it very clear Kiir is protecting his Warrap Dinkas and Kuol Manyang with his Bor County Dinkas that was why non from their areas was among the so called coup plotters.Aleu Ayeny,Mac Paul, Akol Koor made sure that non was included from their side of the Dinka.

  2. bolabokdit says:

    Yien Lam
    Your article is absolutely a piece of garbage it lack analytical skill and facts.

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