South Sudan makes us all look bad: Africa must advice or oust Kiir from power now

By Charles Onyango-Obbo, THE EASTAFRICAN, MAY/17/2017, SSN;

Africa needs to read the riot act to Kiir to piece the country back together, or marshal an invasion force and oust him if he won’t. South Sudan makes us all look bad.

The sacking of an army chief anywhere in the world, particularly Africa, is usually big news.

But the panicked reaction to the news that South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir fired army head General Paul Malong on Tuesday was extraordinary.

Many feared that the situation could get worse in the world’s newest nation, which has been ravaged by war since Kiir fell out with his deputy Riek Machar, resulting in savage fighting that made many ashamed of knowing the South Sudanese.

They had reason to be afraid. Malong was no longer an ordinary army chief. A polygamist with 40 wives and enough children to fill two villages, he was seen as the puppet master in South Sudan, and Kiir the puppet. He was the hardline Nuer iron fist behind the throne.

On Wednesday, Kiir trotted out the SPLA spokesman to say that Malong had withdrawn with his security guards to outside of the capital, Juba, but was not planning a rebellion.

Maybe he won’t, because the new army chief James Ajongo is alleged to been picked by Malong. He is a kind of Malong lite.

Hopefully, Kiir will now strike a more moderate posture, because he may still have a country, but will soon run out people.

More than 1.8 million South Sudanese have fled the country as refugees, according to the latest UN figures. Most have ended up in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

Uganda hosts most of the refugees, nearly 800,000. In Kampala on Tuesday, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the country would next month seek $2 billion at a UN refugee summit in Kampala to help fund relief operations for the South Sudanese refugees.

With a population of 12.4 million, South Sudan has made nearly 15 per cent of its population refugees in fewer than four years.

In addition, more than 3.5 million people have been internally displaced since the fighting erupted in mid-December 2013.

If the war doesn’t end, and intensifies, in another three or so years more than 25 per cent of South Sudanese could be refugees. And if the number of IDPs were also to double over the same period, accounting for those who will have been slaughtered in war, fallen to disease, or starved to death in the famine, virtually the whole population of South Sudan would be living outside their homes and off their land.

For a country like Uganda, the prospect of say two million South Sudanese pouring into the country by 2020 is scary, its much-praised refugee policy notwithstanding.
The only place where the South Sudanese are living properly at home could be the street on which Kiir lives in Juba.

That is overdramatised, yes, but it is to make the point that Africa must finally do something bold to stop the madness in South Sudan.

Among other things, it should ensure that Malong leaves South Sudan, either by force, or by being paid off Yahya Jammeh-style. He has a lot of prime real estate in Nairobi and Kampala, and a small country of a family to feed, so he may be susceptible to generous inducements.

And Africa needs to read the riot act to Kiir to piece the country back together, or marshal an invasion force and oust him if he won’t. South Sudan makes us all look bad.

Charles Onyango-Obbo is publisher of data visualiser Africapaedia and Rogue Chiefs. Twitter@cobbo3


  1. kolong says:

    you said it all…! fact, the current crisis has made south sudanese more miserable than the over two decades war fought by SPLA/M with sudan.

    that aside, government recognition of malong’s militias as personal security & yet were fully funded by state resources – salaries, guns & ammunitions – speaks for itself and its only a matter of time that your predictions will unfold, needless to say we already look bad, and not now but since the CPA period.

    i doubt though the issue of african ideology, premised on the failure of ARRCISS under their watch….IGAD and AU was part but failed on its obligation to ensure implementation – with most member states having interest in prolonging the war!

  2. Dear Charles, I commend you for this precise article, which is focusing on clear objectives and out of tribal hatred. Objective articles focusing on real problems facing South Sudan nation is what we should focus on, particularly at this juncture.

  3. mading says:

    Charles. If you are not South Sudan, then mind your country business. I am sure your country is full of it own problems, for you to say that war made South Sudanese look bad is nonsense .

    • kolong says:


      those are utterance from an illiterate….no surprise that those allegations may be perceived as true! your comments depicts a person who education has not rehabilitated despite having had opportunity of funding from corrupted resources, and it makes me confirm the long thought that an educated Jieng (with few exceptions) like you is no different from an illiterate one – pathetic!

      charles is an intellectual – independent in thinking than you who is driven by tribal ethics, he is not and will never be of your kind. if you thought he has not written about his country, then i advise you to read more literature on his writings and commentaries. issue is that tribal driven ethics and sentiments like yours often do not want constructive criticisms even if evidence is glaring.

      if charles was a south sudanese, he would have been dead by now from criminal acts committed by your kind, and go scot free because there is a god father! if you are not aware, charles is concerned because the south sudanese in refuge (many of who could be your kins and relatives) have strained his country’s resources which he would have benefited him as an individual but now no where!

      so, polite advise is; think of what you will want to say or post in such fora, otherwise you are shooting your own foot anyway.

    • Due respect to your opinion, Mading, Charles is right. Way really made south Sudan looks bad. We must admit our short falls and correct ourselves. We must show the world we deserve and preserve the country we sacrifice for.

    • Gatdarwich says:


      Your comments proved beyond reasonable doubt that you’re the stupidest traitorous Jenge on this forum period

  4. Alex says:

    This madness south Sudanese should seek mental health Doctor. The same people collecting money to buy guns to kill innocent civillians are calling for a regional body to remove their government. You can not sell our country using Watara style in Ivory Coast.

  5. mading says:

    Kolong, and Gatdarwich. You are nothing to me Gatdarwich. I never get one pound from the government in our country, for your information Kolong. I just want Kiir to handed power to next leader peacefully that is why I am supporting the government, not because I am benefitting from it, so don’t just assume that any Dinka who is supporting government is the benefitting.

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