Lt. Gen. Kiir Steps Down, Lt. Gen. Matip Takes over the SPLA Command!

By Dr. James Okuk

January 16, 2010 (SSNA) — If it becomes true in few days that H.E. Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit is going to contest for GoSS Presidency, the 2008 Elections Act shall require him to pull out the military uniform and titles on himself and put on civilian suit or Nigerian Jellabia even if he wears it with a cowboy hat. If Kiir is serious to contest for April 2010 general elections in the Sudan at any level of government, he is supposed to resign immediately from being the Commander-in-Chief of the SPLA, which is considered as a non-partisan army of Southern Sudan. That means Lt. Gen. Paulino Matip Nhial should be the next person to take over the SPLA commandership in Chief because he is the deputy SPLA C-In-C to Kiir. The same good luck that came to Kiir after the untimely death of Dr. John Garang de Mabior should be allowed to come to Matip too with Kiir’s aspiration to run for a civilian executive post in the coming elections. May be this shall be the end of Kiir’s political life or the real beginning of it; who knows!!!

Those who thought that the position of deputy SPLA C-in-C that was assigned to Pualino Matip in 2006 was just an accommodation post without powers, are going to regret their foolish conspiracy if they attempt to overlook and down-step him. If Kiir sends his nomination application to the NEC without retirement first and giving the top SPLA powers to Paulino Matip or whoever he trusts, he will surely get disqualified from contesting April 2010 election

Hon. Molana Abel Alier shall not compromise or sympathize with Kiir if he fails to fulfill the nomination conditions. This shall be excellent news to Kiir’s opponents so that he goes home shamefully and leave the public affairs of South Sudan to the right-leader-for-the job. H.E. President Al-Bashir has smelled the rat of National Elections Commission (NEC) and he wisely resigned his military title and took off the green uniform peacefully to avoid any rush-hour embarrassment before polling date.

But as we speak now, I am a bit disappointed that Dr. Riek Machar is slow in reacting to the pressing political events as it is said that politics is an art of both action and reaction. This attitude has its own credits and debits but there is nothing called “politician retiring and waiting for luck without sweat.” If Dr. Riek is tolerating Kiir’s and company’s leadership conspiracies on a rationale that the referendum is at the doors and Kiir should not be disturbed because he is the only left founder of the SPLM/A, what is the guarantee that referendum shall be achieved in the South under Kiir’s bad governance and failed leadership? What is the guarantee that Dr. Riek shall be strong and alive by that time? Dr. Riek should remember the Bible wise quote that warned the foolish rich men of storing their hopes and riches on uncertain future.

Dr. Riek should be a serious actor and reactor if he intends to be a savvy politician. He should not be pushed to lead the people; rather he should pull the people behind him as a leader. I admire his patience but I don’t like his political apathy and coolness when it is time to react to unfolding events. Political apathy doesn’t help when dealing with ignorant and arrogant mentalities like those trying to throw him out of SPLM Politburo’s window in order to block his chances of becoming a top leader in the SPLM, and may be, in the Government of Southern Sudan.

If Dr. Riek Machar is realizing that Kiir and the company are totally blocking him from his opportunities for political future, I suggest to him in return to press hard on Kiir to issue a presidential decree appointing Gen. Paulino Matip Nhial as the SPLA top man or relieving him if not. If Kiir refuses, then Dr. Riek should unite with Lt. Gen. Matip and deal with the conspiracy accordingly. It will never be acceptable to appoint someone above Matip if he is still the SPLM deputy C-in-C; Matip should be the one to take the lead or he should be told to go home so that someone else could take over the command of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

No joke any more; it is the right time to face the facts in the right place.

Dr. James Okuk is a concerned Citizen of South Sudan. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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