BY: ELHAG Paul, OCT/17/2016, SSN;
As South Sudan sails in high turbulent social, economic and political seas, the tribally decorated head of the Jieng militia masquerading as the legitimate chief of South Sudan army, General Paul Malong Awan Anei, seems to engage in sinister activities.
In the second quarter of this year and prior to President Salva Kiir’s early July 2016 orchestrated violence, General Paul Malong Anei’s activities indicate an interesting development. His frequent appearance then in public was suggestive of a person carefully working to improve his image and also sell himself to the country as an experienced and capable leader in waiting.
His activities should certainly raise eyebrows if only because as a military man he should not under any circumstances be engaged is such behaviour.
Worldwide members of the armed forces do not combine military duties with political activities. The two do not mix. The rules are very clear. An army man is an army man and he must not be involved in political activities. He only waits for orders from political leaders. As a person General Malong Anei has the right to pursue his ambitions in any field but this has to be done within the ambit of his job’s role.
It is doubtless that the recent political activities of General Anei are in direct breach of military rules. Of all the political activities he has been involved in, three are glaringly acts of political campaign of huge proportions possibly pitched to win support of the public as an exemplary leader.
Within the already stated period, General Anei sequentially bombarded the country with the following activities: first, accompanied by a media team he went to Aweil to claim credit for funding a huge U-shaped three storied building for SPLM. The media portrayed the story thus: “The former governor of northern Bahr El Ghazal state (current SPLA Chief of General Staff) General Paul Malong Awan has constructed the only and largest SPLM building in the whole country of South Sudan, This will be remembered for generations and SPLM will never forget about what General Malong has done.”
The bright yellow and dark brown painted building indeed is large and somehow impressive by standards of that part of the world. Looking at this building and reading about the person behind it is most likely to positively influence the reader’s mind. But if one (reader) thinks deeper, it brings up more questions. Where did General Anei get the money to erect this building? Why should the largest SPLM office be built in Aweil and not Juba?
Something surely is not right here. The alarm bell of massive corruption should start to ring. Since when have army men become funders of political parties? The fact that this SPLM massive building stands in Aweil, and not Juba, the seat of the government clearly symbolises Jieng ownership of the party.
Just think about it and note the statement of General Anei’s media team. Does this not occur to you as a high pitch of personality sale?
Then secondly comes another interesting media exposure. The General’s media team reported, “General Paul Malong is greatly providing education in South Sudan.” “(He) is building a standard and modern school in Aweil.”
According to the General’s media, “General Paul Malong hired professional qualified and well trained teachers from outside and within the country who meet the professional standards” “required who are highly disciplined and able to maintain the school and to teach pupils or students with the right education background and the right education processes, so that every child, youth and adult in Aweil in particular or South Sudan in general should have a chance to get quality education regardless of whether they are male or female, rich or poor, disabled or not, living in remote areas or in urban centres.
This is the main aspiration of General Paul Malong Awan. “The presentation of General Anei here just does not come spontaneously. This is a result of a carefully calculated and measured media manipulation to sell General Anei to South Sudanese as the only other leader available in the country. Some of the questions asked earlier also apply here.
The third episode involves the most important section of the society which paradoxically is the most abused by the SPLM: women. The General’s media shamelessly declared, “SPLA Chief of General Staff, General Paul Malong Awan knows that women of South Sudan are capable of diligently serving their country.”
“Without the women, the bush would have been nothing. The women stayed home to take care of their children and run the home as their husbands were involved in the guerrilla war. Without women the peace would have not been signed in both CPA one and CPA two.” Really?!
Is this General not the person responsible for the department that has inflicted the most damage to women emotionally, mentally, socially, economically and culturally? Is General Anie not responsible for raping of women, beheading of women and children in Fertit land and Equatoria? How is it that he now pretends to value women? Mockingly, he invited the women to his house to offer them his donation of a vehicle.
Why was this event done in the General’s house? Why was it a personal affair? Why did the General not take the vehicle to the women’s office? I leave you to draw your own conclusions. The photographs of this event are very interesting. In them, General Anei wearing a blue blazer with black trouser looking like a widowbird surrounded by she-birds glides around portraying an air of importance while donating a white Toyota vehicle to the women.
Certainly he felt great and very important. Such feelings are stuff cherished by egomaniacs. Now, hold your horses.
For better understanding let us first briefly discuss the man named Paul Malong Awan Anei for this piece to make full sense after which we will come back to continue.
Like President Salva Kiir, General Anei’s background remains an enigma. Stories have it that at around the age of 14 years or so, he was a street kid regularly travelling illegally on the train between Aweil and Babanousa on the Khartoum Wau-weekly train service. In these travels which involved dodging the train conductors, he perched on the roof of the train cars as a hawker selling cigarettes and a local drug called “Sauot”.
While hawking and sniffing substances the young Anei became a hardened petty criminal and a hustler feared by his age mates.
In his early twenties he is said to have traveled to Khartoum where he honed his criminal practise until he got arrested in the early 1980s for a serious crime. At the time Anyanya 2 was already active fighting the Sudan government. Anei through corruption gained bail and as a true criminal he could not stand to face justice he jumped bail and ran to join Anyanya 2 and later on the SPLM/A through merger of the two.
However, it is important to note that the criminal nature of the SPLM/A is greatly attributed to its membership being made up at its inception of professional criminals like Anei.
Peter Adwok Nyaba in his book ‘The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan: An Insider View’ second edition 2000, reveals that “social background was not made a criterion for the selection of the combatants and, accordingly, people of all walks of life flocked into the SPLM/A.
Thieves, murders, rapists and fugitives from Sudanese justice system found a safe heaven in the SPLA and, when opportunity was there, they easily relapsed into their old practices. Many of the criminals and horrendous crimes committed against the civil population were attributed to some of these social misfits masquerading as ‘revolutionaries’.”
In SPLM/A, Anei quickly rose through the ranks using his street knowledge and skills to prove his fighting skills in his home province of Bahr El Ghazal. In recognition of his service Dr John Garang promoted him to a commander (knowing very well that he had not seen the inside of a class room) and despatched him to Uganda to enrol in a basic English course. This is the only formal education the man has had in his life.
While as a commander in his home area, Anei set up courts and amassed cattle for himself through fines imposed on the locals. He also appropriated to himself a local market called Warawara which up to this date he collects all the revenue to himself depriving the local authorities of legitimate income.
General Anei according to reports always sees himself as the protector of President Salva Kiir. In 2004 when Salva Kiir fell out with Dr Garang and went into hiding in Yei, it was him who guaranteed the safety of the former to come to the famous Rumbek meeting of 2004 that reconciled them (Kiir and Garang) prior to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 with Khartoum.
Again in mid December 2013, General Anei jumped into protection of President Kiir based on delusions expressed by the latter in September of that year. According to Peter Adwok Nyaba in his article titled ‘It wasn’t a coup – Salva Kiir shot himself in the foot.’
President Kiir “in Akon his home town, speaking to Dinka (Jieng), which SSTV aired, Salva had this to say ‘………….look this power which I have belongs to you. You fought and died for it ……….. Now some people want to snatch it from me ……….. we (will) you accept it?
“Aci bag am” meaning we will not accept, shouted the people back. It was in this context of retaining power that he ordered Paul Malong Awan to recruit and bring to Juba three thousand young men which now constitute his presidential guards.’
The above quote is very important because it situates General Anei in the centre of the grave crimes against humanity committed in December 2013. Unfortunately, hitherto General Anei continues with his project of crimes against humanity. No wonder the international community describes him as, ‘the architect of immense human suffering.’
The latest atrocities are now taking place in Bahr El Ghazal against the Fertit people and in Equatoria against the Bari speakers respectively. However, all the signs now indicate that he is slowly shifting his allegiance away from President Kiir to himself.
This can be deduced from three crucial things. First he wants to escape accountability for his role in the December 2013 crimes; secondly he wants to pre-empt President Kiir’s plan to replace him in the army; and thirdly he wants to satisfy his ego.
The African Union Commission of Inquiry into South Sudan indentifies the culprits responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Nuer in December 2013. These are the Jieng security officials among whom are General Anie, President Kiir and the leadership of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). The only way for General Anie and the Jieng leadership to escape accountability is for them to remain in power.
The unforeseen consequence of President Kiir’s July 2016 violence has been the spread of rebellion throughout the entire country. Unexpectedly, President Kiir has found himself in a bind and he is faced with either sacrificing General Anie in the hope of dividing the growing opposition to Jieng rule or stare defeat in the eye from the fast building opposition of all the people of South Sudan.
Last week information leaking out from J1 has it that President Kiir wants to replace Vice President Wani Igga with General Oboto Mamur and General Anie with General Agustino Jadallah respectively in order to defuse the growing rebellion in greater Equatoria.
This is an interesting new developing scenario. The Jieng are now faced with reality. Out of this they have no options except to make sacrifices in the hope that they can hold on to power. General Anie appears to have been chosen as the sacrificial lamb. How General Anie is going to respond remains to be seen, but the probability is that he may respond with a violent coup since he has already been preparing for it.
As for President Kiir’s plans to try to bribe Equatorians the answer is: it is too late because it seems now as though nobody wants Jieng rule in Equatoria anymore.
General Anei no doubt is a control freak. His obsession with power borders on mental illness. This can be observed from his activities in the last two years. While he was a governor he felt insecure and made himself the leader of SPLM in Bahr El Ghazal.
When he was made the Chief of Staff of SPLA, he continued to hog the governorship and SPLM leadership leading into numerous conflicts within the party. Because he is violent he gets his way with President Kiir at the top. This part of his character can also be observed from his private life. General Anei is said to have between 70 to 86 wives most of whom he violently brought in to his life.
In his mind, General Anei appears to consider women as properties or possessions. There is no love here. It is purely an issue of possession and domination for him to exercise power. He views women as factories of making babies.
It is possible that womanising plays a big role in his criminal character because to have that number of wives and God knows how many children, one would need to feed them and then cloth them. With this harem, is it any wonder why General Anei appropriated Warawara market and frequently starves his department of salaries?
General Anei’s possession of women symbolises his activities in relation to possession of institutions of power, governorship, army, SPLM etc. Simply put, the man is an egomaniac.
Now the coin of power is tossed up in the air. Will it be heads for President Kiir’s plan or tails for General Anie’s violent ascendance to power? General Anei’s earlier campaign of self promotion in the media should be taken as a sign of his wish to lay claim to the presidency.
The question is: has he got what it takes to be a president? Of-course not, he is naked. Even his media promotion unknowingly exposes his tribalism. For example, all the things used by his media team to promote him are done in Aweil.
The only exception is the donation of a vehicle to the women’s organisation. Now, is Aweil South Sudan? If he were a patriot why did he not build in other parts of the country? A further crucial question: where did he get all the money to do those projects?
Building self image fitting the characteristic of a president is not enough to qualify General Anei for the presidency. He should not look at President Kiir and begin to think that he can also be. President Kiir is a real fluke created by extra ordinary circumstances of lottery nature.
South Sudanese people have had enough of this lot. Whether it is President Kiir with his new Machiavelin plans or General Anei with his egotistic plan for power grab, they should know that they have lost the trust of the people.
They can exercise power negatively as they do now using their militia but they will continue to face resistance until they are brought down to face the music. South Sudanese want their future president to have the attributes Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie describes in her book ‘We should all be feminists’ as a person “more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, [and] more innovative.”
[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]