It is inconceivable that Riek Machar can be sidelined and confined ‘to political oblivion

Posted: September 21, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Editorials, Featured Articles, PaanLuel Wël

It is inconceivable that Riek Machar can be successfully sidelined and then completely confined into political oblivion outside the country.

By PaanLuel Wël, Juba, South Sudan


September 21, 2016 (SSB) — Salva Kiir wants Riek Machar dead and gone, but has no clue how to achieve that; Riek Machar wants Salva Kiir dead and gone, but has no clue how to achieve that; the international community wants both leaders gone but has no clue how to do exactly that without turning South Sudan into Libya-II, Iraq-II, Afghanistan-II, Somalia-II etc. We all want South Sudan to be peaceful, stable and prosperous, but we have no clue how to do just that.

But first, is the SPLM-IO meeting in Khartoum over or still underway? Of the big heavyweights that graced the leadership of the SPLM-IO in early 2013 up to mid-2014, how many attended? When the SPLM-Nasir was formed, the internal contradictions and leadership wrangling of the mother SPLM followed and killed it. Essentially, the same fate might befall the SPLM-IO, for the very internal contradictions and leadership wrangling within the ruling party in Juba has followed, cornered, and is now strangling the SPLM-IO into premature, painful death.

As President Salva Kiir seems unable or unwilling to unite and move the country forward into a relative political stability and economic prosperity, Dr. Riek Machar has been unable and un-ready to keep his party, a smaller house, intact.

While Salva Kiir has failed, Riek Machar can’t possible aspire to be the replacement. Riek Machar can’t aspire to rule a nation when he can’t manage a party (of which over 95% is his own community), even when fate has handed him the opportunity twice–1991, 2013.

However, it is inconceivable that Riek Machar can be successfully sidelined and then completely confined into political oblivion, possibly retiring peacefully into one of the East or South African countries. That is a mirage of hope, not a political and security reality.

Therefore, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar should join hands, divorce the conflict from outsiders, get rid of the proposed hybrid court (justice and peace don’t go together unless one party won squarely) and strike a workable political compromise on their own terms and at their own pace and timing.

That is how it was done in 2002. No outsider was involved; it was Garang, Kiir, Riek, Wani etc. plus their comrades. Nor was it about Riek Machar accounting for the crimes of the 1991 Bor Massacre; there was no winner to punish the loser. And it was genuine, reigning long enough to usher in referendum and independence.

We have suffered long enough, eleven years of suffering, of confusion and of aimless infighting. So the situation as of now, as we said in the signed reconciliation document, it is our survival that is at stake. Therefore, survival itself, if nothing else, will force us to fully implement this document,” said Dr. John Garang in 2002, at the conclusion of the peace and reconciliation process between the SPLM/A and Dr. Riek Machar in Nairobi, Kenya.

What is most needed now is a political compromise to usher in a transition from war to a mutually-benefiting political marriage. Salva Kiir and Riek Machar can then conduct their procedural elections, with political seats and positions predetermined in gentlemanly backdoor agreements.

Salva Kiir and Riek Machar need power in order to gain and maintain access to national resources; the common folks need such raw political compromise (realpolitik) in order to fend for themselves in peace, as they have always done prior to December 2013.

This would be acceptable to the common Nuer and Dinka—the warring camps. Certainly, it is better than death and suffering and could lay the necessary political and security foundation for real peace and political stability.

Surely, the South Sudanese can’t dream themselves into being a Switzerland without paying the necessary cost, whatever the currency. Ask Americans (civil war), English (beheading the king), Russians (revolution), Chinese (civil war), French (revolution), or Rwandans (genocide).

Nation building has never been a walk in the park. It is long, messy and unpredictable. It requires an evolution within the nature and mindset of the society, not merely a change in leadership and personalities.

PaanLuel Wël, the managing editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB), graduated with a double major in Economics and Philosophy from The George Washington University, Washington D.C, USA. He is the author of Who Killed Dr. John Garang, the editor of the essential speeches and writings of the late SPLM/A leader, Dr. John Garang, published as The Genius of Dr. John Garang, vol. 1-3, as well as a co-editor (with Simon Yel Yel) of President Salva Kiir’s speeches before and after independence: Salva Kiir Mayaardit: The Joshua of South Sudan.

  1. Paanluel, this movement of Dr. Riek Machar and his cunning friend Dr. Lam Akol will bring the nightmare to the lifestyle, harmony and bright future of South Sudan’s people . These guys, they don’t recall for their wrong action in the past which pushed SPLA / MOVEMENT to the lower hand position and Khartoum’s to the upper hand position . The incident of 2013 wouldn’t be in the name of one of those guys again if they were wised enough and care for the South Sudan’s future. They could have said that the mistake of 1991 is enough for us to wage another war against South Sudan , then distant themselves from that mess . They are not the only prominent politicians in South Sudan, many more of them are there. Advocating Jealousy, selfishness, hatred and greediness can’t help South Sudan.


    • I agree with you Mr Nhomriir. South Sudan will never be at peace or stable until the two over ambitious PhD holders are dead and buried not in their graves but buried in the sea or floor of the ocean or Nile. They gave us great headache during our University days. But they were frustrated and never given a chance to test power. Now their appetites have been wetted and they will kill Junubin left and right unless you get rid of them now and forever.


  2. wacjak says:

    Dr. Lam jumped out of the boat of the Transitional Government of National Unity hoping that the international community would support his rebellion now that Riek is either dead or completely incapacitated. That dream is far from reality and he will not achieve it. Kiir and his cohorts have messed up this country indeed, but their mistakes do not warrant death and suffering. These educated brothers should have used peaceful means to advocate for the rights of the public. We all know what is going on wrong but there are many avenues to claim for our rights than fighting.


  3. Nul Mayendit says:

    This was a well articulated piece of what South Sudanese must realize . Nations are built with blood and souls. Still waiting!


  4. GatNor says:

    Rock paper scissor on that # and the winner makes the call on what it should be.


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