Dear Gen. Paul Malong Awan: An open letter to King Paul

Posted: August 24, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël in Columnists, Deng Kur Deng, Featured Articles, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Deng Kur Deng, Pennsylvania, USA

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August 24, 2016 (SSB) — I would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU for policing the country appropriately at a time when chaos has occupied our core ways of life. Through the execution of laws, an average citizen in this country can feel equally protected. It is very important that a well-organized and disciplined armed forces do their share to protect citizens and this has been your obligation as the man who is in charge of the army.

With that in mind, you were able to contain one of the worst social problems in the country. As you may know, a war associated with tribal connections can be very dangerous and indeed, it was quite dangerous. You have done your part and as such, you deserve my appreciation along with others who witnessed your work firsthand. Many of the people under your command are underappreciated for their work they have done for the people, which is completely wrong.

Our hope as citizens rests with the army, so when the army fails to do their job right, scholars and citizens blamed Gen Paul Malong for the failure. At the moment, we have nothing to blame you for, rather many of us have words of appreciation for you. Leaders are often blamed for something they have no proper control and these are normal drawbacks for leadership. You have been tested in your capacity as a leader and as a Chief of General Staff in the SPLA.

Your actions were lauded because of all the unnecessary violence imposed on the people in this country were brought to halt. With that being said, those who have shown contempt for you in the past are returning and I am afraid that they might be coming back with plan to do more destruction in the country; therefore, those unfaithful generals must be kept in check.

Their insensitive tactics have destroyed so much potential in the country; so the lives of these village populations have been changed. At least with the current peace, many citizens have the opportunity to rebuild but it may take time to rebuild viable relationships with those known for their tribal loyalty than the common good of the country.

As citizens, our trust begins with leadership showing us good faith.  A part of this is that many of us have realized the importance of your guidance on the military. One thing I know about you is you have a combination of a politician and a liberator because of your position as a general in the SPLA. When I listen to you, I find you a very impressive leader and politician even more so than a general with your words and actions. The combination of your background will continue to help the people of South Sudan to restore peace in the country.

For example, the words you exchanged between you and the chiefs gave me something to reflect on regarding your roles in the country. Your position is not only meant for war, but you have noticed there is room to preach peace through open-dialogue with those chiefs you invited. You have addressed the chiefs of the villages whom you called “the power of the country” and this is a great way to affirm to the people about their participation and ownership of the country.

Recently, when we were about to celebrate our 5th year of independence for South Sudan, presidential guards whom started war in December 2013 almost dragged us back to war after just a couple months of peace. I was over worried because I thought we were heading back to war— like what happened in December 2013, but that was prevented because you are there to protect and maintain the laws of the country.

I rationalized something must be wrong with the presidential guards and indeed there is something unsettling about them. Because of your ability to calculate strategies you were able to manage this situation and prevent further war.

I honestly appreciate your words to the armed forces recently aired on SSBC TV. You have addressed many issues citizens would want our leaders to address and this has proven that the army belongs to the people. Yes, it is very important for the army to restrain from things that undermine their duties and you made this very clear to them after the incident in Juba.

Discipline in the army is only surmountable through leadership and you have set a good example. You have been praised for the way you tackled the illegal involvement of the few of soldiers whom looted shops. We appreciate knowing where the SPLA stands as a military unit under your leadership.

Another major concern are the amount of defections from the army which have become the subject of discussions for the last few days. We know that tendencies associated with fragmentation of the SPLA have made our population become vulnerable. As a result, many citizens have lost respect for the men and women who break away from the SPLA for their personal interest. The army must do their job, but our people are traumatized by the activities associated with the violence from this fragmentation constantly inflicted on the country.

These propensities are the ones you talked against in your address to the army and the chiefs. Now, there is a wave of preparation around Makalal under Agwelek. These group of tribal militias are definitely major concern as their intentions are to disturb peace and setting tribe against tribe.

General Malong, we the people need solidarity in the army. We also hope that you work to ensure that no one tribe is overly represented in the army to avoid what happened when many Nuer rebelled against the government in large numbers. With all honesty, the government was exposed and appeared weaker when Nuer defected; therefore, you must be watchful and more vigilant in your strategy in terms of recruitment.

In fact, I thought you may lose the war as a result of the large defection of many Nuer brothers, but that was immature on my part to even think that. You are a man who understands your strengths better than what was assumed by many South Sudanese.

Thank you.

This letter was written by Deng Kur Deng AKA Raanmangar. You can reach him at pananyangajak@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing.

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