The perpetual war for one man’s position. The case of Dr. Riek Machar’s war

Posted: April 11, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan, Longar Mathiec Wol

By Longar Mathiec Wol, Juba, South Sudan


Riek Machar and his wife, Angelina Jany Teny, in Khartoum with President Omar Bashir

April 11, 2018 (SSB) — As many scholars and analyses made it clear about the genesis of South Sudan war many people still stranded and question themselves whether what we read was all the caused of South Sudan problem. In the process people continue to seek for the better answers many hidden root causes continue to reveal themselves

However, for today this discussion I am not interested in boring you with some of the issues you already had. My big concern is, what are rebels fighting for? This question will attract thousands pages different account, but whatever the case is let whoever interested in giving that answer come to the stage and explain to the people of South Sudan the real problem. Different level of understanding, perception, background and different experience lead to different ways of explaining the situation. There are so many South Sudanese who are not satisfied with some of the explanations that they were/ are told to be the root causes. A south Sudanese in the village who knows nothing about the governance would be very hard to convince him or her by simply saying Kiir must go without more explanation or concrete evidence to why Kiir must step down.

During the SPLM liberation struggle, Garang manages to win people in his favor and the favor of the movement due to the concrete evidence of injustices that Khartoum regime inflicted on South Sudanese and the continuation of inequality that was obvious from South, East and Western Sudan. Garang gave point out the prevalence injustice in every corner of the country and made it clear for many South Sudanese to know that they live under injustice every day; since there were no schools, hospitals, and roads. It was obvious in many people minds and as he repeat during the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in Kenya when he said “ there has never been a tarmac road in South Sudan since the creation” it was true, who among us could be denied since we all had seen.

It is not bad to fight for the real course, because many countries in the world came into being because of freedom fighters including South Sudan, but the awkward situation we found ourselves in South Sudan really needs prayers and divine intervention. Those who believe to have rebelled to fight for what they believe in forgot why they took arms. They think fighting for one person to become a president is the sole objective they took up arms against the state.

To take you back a bit and explain some of the reasons to why I think these so call rebels are fighting only for position and not the burning issues our country undergoes every day.

Before the sacking, coup attempted and subsequent rebellion of Dr. Riek Machar I have never heard him talking of problem in the government till the time he was sacked; that is the time he starts running up and down telling the world how bad is Salva Kiir. For the reputable politician like him as I assumed, the honorable thing he should have done before he was sacked was to resign and tell the people of South Sudan how the state is heading toward the wrong direction; that could easily appeal to people senses. That has never happened, when he was sacked instead of convincing people to vote for him in the election which was one year and a half away he decided to take war’s exhausted South Sudanese back to war.

That beg a question to whether Dr. Riek Machar was the first man to be sack in the continent of Africa or in the whole world. Many people have been sack before him and they do honorable thing by preserving their national integrity and avoid people suffering. How many countries in the world leadership has been changed without blood-shedding, how many leaders in the continent and in the world that suffered under the dictatorship and they decided to save their countries from going through civil war? They are many; then, why not Dr. Riek? if he thinks there is a need for change. Is Dr. Riek really looking for change or position?

When Dr. Riek rebelled in 1991, his target was top position of the movement, when he failed to secure that he betrayed his people goes back to the enemy, signed the fake agreement for the enemy to explore oil in South Sudan. Dr. Riek goals and objectives in short and long run are about becoming a president by all means whether by killing people, betraying or make the country collapse is none of his business as long as he gets what he wants. Is that the kind of the leader we should be following and killing our own people? That is a question we should ask ourselves and objectively examine it to come up with the clear answer.

As I mentioned, before he was sacked he was having the cordial working relationship with the man he starts vilified immediately when he was fired. In a search to ascend into top seat in the country Dr. Riek instigated and unnecessary wars. When he escaped J1 (state house) battle, Gen. Taban Deng Gai took over from him when the duration dictated by the agreement for the office of the first vice president to remains vacant lapsed. When Taban took over the attention shifted from fighting the government to fighting Taban Deng and all the opposition supporters become bitter with Taban Deng not because he is in the government but because he accepts to take over Riek position.

In many opposition supporters minds, they think first vice president seat is shrine and reserve only for one man that’s Dr. Riek Machar. One thing these people failed to understand is that political position is not kingdoms throne. Every South Sudanese is legible to hold that office, but due to the agreement the position is for SPLM-IO and since Gen. Taban is from SPLM-IO, for that matter is qualified to hold that position and that is why he was given.

When 2015 agreement was reached in Addis Ababa and most of the high profile opposition members were given positions, guns went silence but when the conspiracy within opposition happened and the war broke out, Dr. Riek left the country, issue concerning his reinstatement become a problem instead of continuing fighting for the changes he deem necessary till when he achieved them. The rebellion decided to fight for one-man position the reinstatement of Riek Machar. Believe me or not if Dr. Riek is reinstated today which I think might not happen any time soon; the opposition will simply die a natural death because the fighting is about the position.

Let take for instance, that the top opposition leaders are given positions today you will see them praising the regime they think is dictatorial. Then, the question is why do we subject ourselves to suffering only because of position? The slogan Kiir must go with strategies and offer on the table of what will be happened next after Kiir has gone is not helping us an is one of the factors that procrastinate the coming of the peace in the country.

The rebellion that’s blindly fighting for one-man interest should not be taken seriously; there should be real issues that the rebellion has to address not by telling the people how Nuer has the massacre in Juba without telling without telling the other side of the story and the reasons why it happens. It was because of careless decision Dr. Riek has taken to investigate his own political interest in expenses of his community. You can’t tell Nuer were just killed in Juba, what about before 2013 why they were not killed? Nuers are citizens like any other citizens in South Sudan and they are free to stay anywhere in the country without hindrance.

I hope other politicians learned from such terrible mistakes of using your tribes as a tool for getting political positions. Appealing to the public through your tribe narrow your scope of obtaining what you want.

If someone thinks SPLM-IO the main opposition is not fighting for Dr. Riek’s position, then have you ever wonder why the SPLM-IO doesn’t want to enter into the coalition with other opposition in the country. Its because they want lion share when the peace is reached and if they join hands with other opposition, it is because chances of sharing the positions with other opposition when the peace is reached are very high and that is what they don’t want to hear. They just want to remains an island so that when the peace is reached they get their positions distribute among themselves and continue with their mission of looting and self-compensation for that short period of time they been absent in the game.

Finally, if we stop the perpetual war for the one-man position I think we can achieve peace. It is time for the opposition to look for another mean on how to convince people by offering an alternative view or sale agenda that will make people believe in their goals and objective. I have never seen a hopeless opposition like that of South Sudan anywhere in the world. The opposition that’s driven by individual and tribal interests instead of unified goals and objectives.

The author, Longar Mathiec Wol, holds the diploma of computer studies at Don Bosco Vocational training center in Wau and bachelor degree of science in International Business Administration with the concentration in Finance; minoring in International Relations at the United State International University- Africa, Nairobi, Kenya. He is currently doing Masters in Business Administration with the concentration in finance at Daystar University. He is a co-founder and former administrator at Bright Future primary school and a former teacher at St. Joseph primary school in Wau respectively. He can be reached via his email address:

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

  1. Karl Schantanzi says:

    …Do not tell us rubbish. Where’s this man, called Riek Machar? And who want him by the way? South Sudan can be ruled or governed without him. Just because he speaks English, fucked white/Caucasian ladies, and once lived in London, doesn’t necessarily mean that he knows what the South Sudanese people want. Or that he got a better vision for South Sudan than Gen. Salva Kiir got. Dinka, political or tribal must matters into its hands. For this we don’t want nonsenses or wishes of or about Machar. His political ambitions are dead anyway. whoever joins this man in his leadership struggles is an accomplice. Even Taban, current South Sudan’s FVP is also an accomplice and must be fired. Comedians–like Wani Igga, South Sudan’s 2ndVP should also be purged.


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