South Sudan needs intensive care


The current leadership of SPLM has steered the organisation to serve the interest of Warrap further creating divisions within the greater Jieng group. President Kiir knowing that he has lost support of the SPLM/A is resorting to building up a militia uniquely composed of Warrap boys only. This private army is illegally funded by tax payers’ money and structured to work along side the SPLA under the name of Republican Guards. A name discredited in Iraq. As expected, its presence is causing tensions and unease with the top leadership of the army.

This is a dangerous development. Apart from being illegal activity and contrary to the provisions of the constitution, president Kiir is unfortunately sending a signal to his opponents who may now feel threatened to start forming their own armies for any eventualities. This has been compounded with president Kiir’s action of 15th November 2013 of dissolving the SPLM Politburo and the National Liberal Council. This audacious move from the president effectively neutralises the powers of his party together with his opponents raising the stakes in the struggle for power in SPLM.

Riek Machar, the former vice president and deputy chairperson of the SPLM; Pagan Amum the suspended Secretary General of the SPLM; and Rebecca Nyandeng the wife of the late charismatic leader of the organisation, Dr John Garang De Mabior have been pushed further away from the centre of the organisation to the peripheries. Unless something happens they will all be history in the political space of South Sudan soon. President Kiir’s late action which no doubt is a result of confidence garnered from the presence of his militia in Luri may be intended precisely for this purpose.

Riek, Pagan and Nyandeng will need to respond swiftly while the rod of the internal opposition is still hot to deliver a blow to their nemesis. Harsh but true – Riek has in the recent past squandered a lot of opportunities in which he could have easily unseated president Kiir, but he failed to act. For instance, when president Kiir illegally sacked him instead of launching a robust challenge at the time the country was expecting so, he naively acquiesced in his own dismissal by acknowledging that president Kiir had the right to sack him. Unbeknown to him this very act dampened the hopes of the country and portrayed a new image of Riek as a naive and weak person not in tune with realities of South Sudan brutal politics. Frequent question now asked is: Is Riek a person with the pedigree of a leader?

Now another opportunity has presented itself. Will he together with the others (Pagan and Nyandeng) act seriously enough to wrestle with Kiir to dethrone him and claim the price, or will he and the others again behave in a wishy washy manner to squander this last chance as always for them to be consigned to the dustbin of South Sudanese politics.

Time is of the essence here. This seems to be the only opening left for any of them or all of them combined to challenge for the leadership. Failure will mean – as stated already – a one way march to the garbage bin of politics. It will be next to impossible for any of them to make a political come back in South Sudan for the simple fact the SPLM (their beloved organisation) is already waning with its unforgettable history of massive corruption, crime, Jienganisation, and killings. If they choose to be binned, perhaps that may even help them to retire to enjoy the millions of dollars they looted from the state coffers. However there is no guarantee that the next government will not call on them to account with possible confiscation of the illegally gotten gains.

It is this very point, the fear of accountability that may be driving president Kiir and his group crazy. Why does Kiir feel the need to have a private army masquerading as SPLA when the SPLA does not recognise and acknowledge it? There is only one answer and this has to do possibly with his wish to cling to power at all cost to protect his personal gains and to advance Jienganisation. In the event that president Kiir either loses leadership of the party or he loses the vote in the coming general election he may then resort to force.

There can be no other reason for president Kiir to build a private army other than to impose himself on the people of South Sudan by force. This force which reportedly numbers eight to ten thousand and stationed at Luri, a Bari village south west of Juba is quite enough to take control of Juba, the seat of government of South Sudan to allow president Kiir to proclaim himself as a legitimate leader of the country should he loose power legally. If the people have not yet grasped the seriousness of this development, then they are sleep-walking into the Somalianisation of South Sudan with huge consequences for regional peace.

What is the risk of president Kiir’s introduction of private army? To answer this question it is necessary first to identify the objective of this private army. As argued earlier Kiir feels insecure and he wants to secure his leadership and the long term objective of Jienganisation of South Sudan. This aim can not be assured without substantial possession of hard power. Thus Kiir’s action is to maintain Jieng hegemony over the other tribes in South Sudan. A short sighted view which is self defeating in this modern world. Unfortunately this destructive plan of Kiir will have catastrophic impact on all the people of South Sudan and the neighbouring countries in terms of regional destabilisation, refugee problems and humanitarian problems of huge proportions.

South Sudan has a complex ethnic makeup because it shares tribes with the following bordering countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Congo and the Central African Republic. This is a fact that can not be disputed. The names of these countries bare very little resonance to the local people because it is an imposition of European colonialism. Simply put, there are Nuer, Anyuak, Suri, Kachipo in Ethiopia and South Sudan. There are Turkana in Kenya and South Sudan, especially in the Elemi triangle, the strip of land administered by Kenya on behalf of South Sudan. There are Langi, Acholi, Madi, Kakwa and Lugbwara in Uganda and South Sudan. There are Kakwa, Logo, Kaliko, Avokaya, Mundu, Pojulu, Zande in Congo and South Sudan. There are Zande and Bongo in Central African Republic and South Sudan.

These tribes are separated by colonial borders created by the consequence of the Berlin Conference of 1884/5. There is a strong bond between the people separated by these colonial borders – prior to the separation they were under the same tribal leadership.

The unwise plans of Kiir which comes from greed and irrationalism if not strictly checked may lead into a serious conflict drawing in the entire East African region and parts of central Africa risking a wider African conflict due to ethnic affinities of the people and the abundance of resources in South Sudan. So the problem in South Sudan if viewed from this angle becomes an African problem with implication for global security. In short, what now looks like a tiny problem of Kiir’s madness has the potential to become a thorny international problem.

Now that we know that there are such risks what are the solutions? From the foregoing argument, it is necessary to conclude that the number one threat to national security in South Sudan is tribalism, especially as it is currently practised by leaders of the Jieng community and their use of state power. Jieng tribalism is more of a threat to the state of South Sudan and regional stability than the “Arabs” of the Sudan and their president.

To stave off this threat to the security of South Sudan a number of things need to be done:

– The neighbouring countries should review their foreign policy in relation to South Sudan taking into consideration the introduction of private tribal armies by the current president of South Sudan.
– The Africa Union (AU) should also pressurise the government of South Sudan to adopt a practical and honest democracy. The government in South Sudan need to be seen to practice democracy as opposed to only paying it lip service.
– If the USA is a supposed ally of “the people of South Sudan”, they too need to exert heavy pressure on Juba to ensure that the private tribal army of president Kiir and others if any must be dismantled quick before other groups follow suit. Should president Kiir resist as he may, the USA as an influential member of the Security Council need to push for a tough resolution empowering UNMISS with direct powers of intervention like “Resolution 2098 (2013) Entebbe ‘offense’ Combat Force to ‘Neutralise and Disarm’ Rebels, Foreign Armed Groups” which has brought calm to Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The motive in South Sudan should be for UNMISS to work with the chief of the military of South Sudan to disarm Kiir’s tribal militia and any other groups identified as non state actors. The mandate should even extend to practically reforming the current army of South Sudan by trimming it to the right size and launching a campaign of recruitment across the country for a proportional representation of all the ethnic groups of South Sudan in it to create stability. The USA should do this to honour their pledge to the people of South Sudan given by former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in December 2011 during the International Engagement Conference to South Sudan in Washington where she said, “South Sudan survived by being born, but it does need intensive care. And it needs intensive care from all of us”. The time to provide this intensive care has come.

I would like to reiterate a point I made in the article: ‘Benign intervention is the way forward for Republic of South Sudan’ I argued that there should be a soft intervention in South Sudan for the sake of peace. It seems as though the panellists in the Al Jazeera programme South2North now agree with the point that intervention is better than cure.

Please see ‘What is ethical leadership’

President Kiir and his kith and kin are drunk with power and they have drifted into a mode of deep self destructive denial as a defence mechanism against their predatory behaviour and abuse of state power. The introduction of the formation of a tribal militia is a very dangerous thing for the country and the security of the region. This is now a reality that has got to be factored in when dealing with issues of the country and the region. There is no doubt that president Kiir’s freshly bold action to chop down the structures of their dysfunctional party the SPLM is a result of confidence drawn from the arming of the Jieng. If this madness is not halted now the consequence will be costly to South Sudan and the region.

[The truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul

Note for the reader.
It is recommended that you access the Al Jazeera URL re South2North programme provided to benefit from the highly educative, informative and inspiring video of the discussion of the elders. The issues discussed cover all the problems South Sudan is facing ranging from poor leadership to girl child marriages.


  1. Major says:

    Mr Paul E.
    Your article is somehow good because it sounds like a wake-up call for those who are working hard to change the current system/leaderships. But I failed to understand the response that you said Riek and his group could take to easily unseat president Kiir from his presidency before an election could take place if there is any?
    Mr Paul, I hope we all know that Mr President Kiir has no doubt declared war against this nation (South Sudan) which he shamelessly claimed to be its president. But that war will not be good news for him to remain as president of RSS if it does happen. But let us pray to God the almighty so that it wouldn’t happen before his presidency expired.
    This militia at Luri bridge from his native tribe does not worry us at all, they will just disappear when the action against Kiir’s regime speaks louder.
    What success do you guys think should be achieved by a president who has lost confidence from the national army which is comprised from different tribes including his own tribe?

    • Really Mr. Alhag Paul,
      I tend to wonder, as to how the chief of the Army can work to disarm the presumed tribal army of Mr. President as you have put it in your article? the word Jeinganization is a general term you have created to stereotype all the Dinka tribes all over south Sudan, where can you or your masters rule a Country of South Sudan without taking on board the Dinka ethnicity that are found in seven States in South Sudan?.
      be realistic, my friend, without what you called today as jiengs (Dinka), the War of liberation would have ended up without the independence of the Country we cherished today. the hate you carry in your heart against the incumbent President should not justify for you to take the whole Dinka for what is happening in South Sudan.
      the people you are mentioning to dethrone Kiir are complicit in the political administration in South Sudan in the recent past, be it the executive or the Party, they are not immune to whatever have taken place, and they cannot be the right replacement to President Kiir Mayardit period.

  2. Anyangaliec says:

    Elhag Paul,
    if you yourself is not a tribalist, then nobody is. And nobody will be in South Sudan. In my opinion you are, and a deadly tribalist. And in that case, you’re totally unfit to talk of tribalism. Period. Thanks.

  3. lutageng says:


  4. Joe. Lo kadi says:

    It is simple mathematics to remove this government from power come 2015. Riek Macher, Pagan Amum and Rebecca Nyadeng should come up with an alternative political party once the registration of political parties is open. Gang up with other opposition political parties in a coalition and SPLM is gone unless they rig the election and if this happens, this will be the beginning of the second liberation war of south Sudan from the yoke of dictators and tyrants.
    Here is my calculation:

    1- Riek Macher + Pagan Amum + Rebecca Nyandeng + Lam Akol = Greater Upper Nile and 3 states is gone with second majority tribe in South Sudan.
    2- Other opposition political parties + other marginalized tribes in greater Bahr el Ghazal ( Jur chol, Kresh and etc) + other Dinkas outside the ruling state = 2 states are gone.
    3- Greater Eqauotoria ( as a determine factor) = 3 gone.

    This makes up 8 states out of 10 states and SPLM will be a thing of the past.
    This is not an assumption but reality. People are tried and are waiting for a viable and visionary party to take on SPLM come 2015 and time is now.

  5. Nhial Gatkuoth Chung says:

    Political isolation has already taken place, Riek, Pagan and Nyandeng are ostracised in the SPLM leadership. we should not be taken aback by Kiir moves since Riek declared his intention to unseat kiir to reverse the party political trends and work to improve and repair social, economic and political damages caused by the current leadership.
    this has stepped up the political tension among the party senior members, which obliges the president to feel insecure to maintain his seat when his opponents are at his neck forcing him to relinquish the power.
    that’s why private contingent/forces is trained to safeguard the president and dictate his rivals like Riek machar.
    Verbal dissolution of party structures by the president have sent a very strong and dreadful signal not only to Kiir opponents but to the entire nation. this is a declaration of war against the nation which i think will not help him to maintain and subdue the top seat he is dictating people with.
    Kiir needs to be dethroned democratically within the SPLM to show him that power is people and that ill trained army will not help him to possess that seat, and urge these 3 people isolated to work hard and challenge kiir until he knows his mistakes. they should not give in and opt to form a different party.
    Change is eminent in SS and in the party that will guarantee Security , services delivery, economic stability,development and freedom of expression. comes 2015 is where people will realize reintegration, rehabilitation, reconstruction, reconciliation and reformation.
    SS needs a leader that can exert more effort on fighting poverty, rampant corruption, tribalism, insecurity and work for better South Sudan.

  6. Kong Puok Tongluot - Finland says:

    Mr, Elhag Paul
    That’s very good article, you have to acknowledge that South Sudan entirely had tired, frustrated by so called president Salva Kiir and his greater Bhar el gazal gangsters, that why Dr, Riek Machar said his regrets. Kiir has a right to sack him, because, Riek was the one who had nominated Salva Kiir and Seconded by SG, Pagan Amum in convention 2008, Juba that were the sad news, illiterate been nominated by PhD holder as Dr Riek Machar. Now has become a witch and curse to south Sudanese Nation.

    The tactics would be done in order to sideline this destructive called president Salva Kiir due up come an election 2015, needs only way is a coalition between all south Sudanese parties together. Then they will pick one candidate.

    His private army, don’t worry about that, because what I know those people are not the good fighters. Let’s do the lobby, orientations to all leaders of the parties, you will see this is only way to repatriate him to own village gogrial. Thanks

  7. T says:

    You lose me when you call for the “International Community” to step in as Savior. Name a single intervention into a national crisis that the IC has turned around for the better. I’m ashamed at the dependency and naivete of the intellectuals and opposition as well as those who enjoy the status quo. Your ICC and UNMISS (directly answerable to NATO) are no more moral than any other collection of human beings. They are brutal economists and corporatists who will act only according to their bottom lines.

    Now, if they have to fool you into believing that they are more moral than your own brothers, they will do that too in order to manufacture your consent for their plunder. You, El Haag, have allowed your sorrow, despair and rage against your brothers (often justified) to blind you. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

  8. Choromke Jas says:


    Your analysis of Riek’s political procrastination resonates in the minds of most political commentators. Some say that if Riek acted on time during the split in the 1990’s, perhaps, there would not have been unnecessary deaths in Bor and other places. He dithered while in Nairobi and the Torit faction defeated his forces as a consequence. Kiir has now introduced a military element in the power struggle. The longer he stays in power, the more resources will be siphoned from the national coffers to sustain the militia and the more entrenched he will become. There will be no opportune time to remove Kiir; it is now!
    There will be no election! And if that be the case, what democratic means will Riek use to unseat Kiir? Mature countries like Egypt know what is inimical to the national interest and security such as the ascendancy of he Muslim Brotherhood to the power of that country. What did they do? They militarily has to act quickly to remove the president to prevent a more dangerous confrontation at a later date.
    Remove Kiir now, when his tribal militia is still militarily naive and weak. Stay longer, and they will have disproportionately acquired better equipment than the national army and will be more experienced. Act now. Stop dithering.

    • GatCharwearbol says:

      Dear Choromke Jas,

      You couldn’t be any truer. Salva Kiir will never be removed democratically and the more he stays in power; the deeper he will plant his corruption roots which will make it harder for us to dislodge him. As ElHag Paul said, Dr. Machar had the best opportunity to unseat Kiir had he not become submissive.

      Believe it or not, I lobbied for Dr. Machar to take action right after he was sacked. But guess what, I was portrayed as warlike man and my Nuers people said it was not the best time to strike. I do not know when will be the best time. The logic in me was, the early it is done, the better and less people to die. Waiting until it is too late will be costly and deadly.
      Now what? Removing Salva Kiir at the moment will be as difficult as pulling teeth.

      Good comment from you, pal!

  9. majongdit says:

    South Sudan Nation,

    I like and always appreciate your publishing fairness of all political opinions. However, I am disgusted with the publication of any work from this guy called elhag paul.

    I want to tell you the truth. El Hag Paul is spoiling our interest to read. And I can honestly tell you that Iam posting this comment even without seeing its contents simply out of the name elhag paul, I predict its content which is unethical and divisive. It spoils the regular practice of reading the article and then form an opinion before u comment. I am equally becoming unethical because there is one name I see and immediately I know where my opinion belongs – bad or good.
    I have a fair share of the use of media. I have had my articles from early days of The Sudan Mirror to the present day electronic media. I read other peoples’ work, but I have never come across a writer who has been as harsh, ruthless and unethical like elhag paul.
    If his writings do not stop at blanketing the dinka, then many of us and more especially me will look at him like a mere small kid.
    Personally, I am advocate of truth and justice. I aspire for equality for all. I am a Dinka from Lakes (Yirol), but the politician I like so much is Wani Igga. During his Rediscovering our root tour, he also discovered the young talents and he has never stopped to convince us.
    My dear south sudan nation, I feel that it is high time that you advise us including me and elhag paul to put ourselves within ethical and moral restraints.
    Thank you.

  10. mawut says:

    “Kiir-Madness” is the word not “Jiengalization.” you need to separate the two the problem is as you rightly pointed out, SALVA KIIR MAYARDIT, not the tribe which he hails from.
    Kiir is a failed leader who has lost the trust of his party and that of the people of South Sudan, yet he is trying to impose himself upon the nation. in short, Kiir is intoxicated by the power.
    till you learn to differentiate between the whole tribe of people, who are affected by the policies of this government and are suffering as much as any group of people in the country. (the recent slaughter of innocent in Twic east county and the day light murder of Isaiah Abraham a prominent writer, a critic like yourself. all JIeng) the substance within the article is great, but your interjection/insinuation of jieng being the culprits is a big draw back.
    keep writing but please, please, refrain from accusing the innocent jeing of the ills of Salva Kiir and his administration
    there is absolutely no such a thing as a grand Jieng conspiracy of hegemony, Jieng just like the rest of southerners want to live in a peaceful nation with few of the modern services such as school, hospital, and all weather roads; issue similar to the ones people in your village have.

  11. Dictatorship in making says:

    Honorable ELHAG PAUL,
    YOU ARE a hero in this country, those who deny your opinions are the kirr bodyguards and houseboys, never worry, man, we are behind you strongly.

  12. Dear commentators,
    as a matter of concern, to unseat President Kiir democratically is the only way forward and not by mobilizing X and Y against z. the politic of tribe and region are very divisive and may ignite Rwanda Situation in the Country.
    please fellow countrymen, South Sudan is not for Dinka, Nuer, Bari or Murlei. it is our country all and any politician from any tribe is obliged to rule it. thanks for your understanding.

  13. majongdit says:

    Elhag Paul,
    One of the reaons you want Dr Riek, Pagan and company quit SPLM and form another political party is because of what you termed as “jienganization” but then again you want a complete jieng woman along into the camps of those against jienganization. Did someone tell you that Mama Nyandeng is a daughter of Dinka, married by a complete Dinka and currently lives as one of the most culturally cushioned jieng women?
    My brother, you appear to be contradicting yourself. If the problem is jienganization, then leave madam Nyandeng out of your equation. Taking Nyandeng up into your political lining nullifies your cause for change if at all your problem is jieng.

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