Army Generals Sack: The Motives and Consequences

By Deng Mading Gatwech

April 30, 2014 (SSNA) — Salva Kiir has been an intelligent officer for a very long time before and after he joined the SPLA/M liberation struggle incepted in 1983. The traditional training of intelligence course for Salva Kiir open up so many avenues to manipulate people at will, the like of Gen. Hoth Mai and Mac Paul who in the past attended cadet schools combined with basic intelligence course in the modern era cum all the ingredients of the rule of engagements and the very game, the president dragged the country into. It’s to be noticed that Salve Kiir does not forget but allow things to happen so that he would be able to balance simultaneous equation using reduced form or elimination methods a tactics acquired from training in the old Sudan. The president’s intelligentsia surpassed the new contemporary school of thoughts acquired by the young generals, a circumstances that would allow one to question the validity of theories and empirical evidences on the advance of science and technology where the two generals have chance to go through. The impasse would open new chapter for future review and debate as to who the best among the Generals (Salva Kiir vis-à-vis James Hoth and Mac Paul) in terms of their acquisition of knowledge championing for the ideology of one side fits all.

Some of the president’s actions considered naïve by many analysts including myself, the writer of several articles on South Sudan post independence conflict. But one thing Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan known for is the long memories of the past events including among other the 1991 split that usher in hate among the file and ranks of the SPLA coupled with ethnic tension, which served as triggers. The dictatorial tendencies charged his inner vice by changing color like chameleon hundred times in a month (s) or year (s), the game one cannot beat him up. President Kiir is good at telling one thing to day and changing what he says in another time, a situation that confused the entire populous of South Sudan and the world audience.

For instance, before the Heglig/Panthou incident Salva Kiir use to tell people of South Sudan that there is no reverse gear to war with the Sudan. Any reasonable persons would have own judgment of the president after the Panthou incident when the rhetoric of no reverse gear to war with the Sudan faded away. When the president changed the reverse gear to war with the Sudan, many South Sudanese were caught off guard since the same president use to say no reverse gear to war decided in favor of war without informing the public of the decision. The pointless decision Salva Kiir made to declare war on Sudan in April 2012 plunged the nascent nation into economic crisis that force the nation to adopt the policy of Austerity Measures that ripped off all civil servants descent life. I am not surprised to hear him in one of the church services saying let forgive, here I quoted “President Salva Kiir, a Catholic on April 21, 2014, marked Good Friday by calling for forgiveness and burial of political differences in remarks at Kator Cathedral in Juba, where a prayer service conducted by the archbishop of Juba diocese, Paulino Lukudu Loro.” Having learnt the tactics of the president, it wouldn’t be shockingly difficult for one to judge the end product of decision taken particularly against the four detainees who have just got off the hook from the incapacitated Kangaroo Court the president is manipulating. It would be wise a decision for the detainees not to stay in Juba for their safety, otherwise they risk ending up either in jail for life imprisonment or assassinate, but God forbid!

Therefore, the colleagues of the president and those whom he trained know him very well for game changing tactics. Removing the two generals would not surprise anyone including his longtime chief of general staffs, but the general should reminded himself of the argument over the issues of the private army, the use of cluster bombs on Nuer civilians, the removal of the top generals from active list into the reserve list and the call for army to remained neutral in the current political wrangle within the SPLM. The defunct chief of general staff before and after the crisis has been actively engaging the army to only defend the sovereignty and uphold the Transitional Constitution of Republic of South Sudan. The chief of general staff advocacy for the neutrality of the army disappointed the president who thought to have own the army, a clause that does not exist in the Transitional Constitution that he (the president) signed into law.

Reflective of the nature of the president, one can see the naivety of James Hoth Mai who could have taken chance of the control of the army in December 15, 2013 Juba incident. Now the then chief of general staff could have been the president of the Republic of South Sudan, should he decided to arrest all the politicians who plunged the new born country into chaos. Dr. Riek Machar, the ex-vice who is now leading the rebellion could have not gone out but remained in Juba and the lives of thousand Nuer and other ethnic origin could have not been wasted. James Hoth now branded by many Nuer to have directly participated in killing of Nuer most of whom are elites including his own cousin Reath Thoan, a UK scholar. James Hoth deceived the Nuer in the Tiger Battalion to put down their weapons; an incident that later on claimed the life of many Nuer in the Tiger Battalion and those whom they could have saved their life in the other areas of Juba. He (James Hoth) could have also saved the lives of those unarmed Nuer who are dying in Mapel of Western Bahr El Ghazal state and the Renk County of Upper Nile state. The chief of general staff will only be trusted by the non-Nuer, and those Nuer who died long ago before the Juba massacre, but not those who passed on of recent past.

The army general, who terribly missed the chance of becoming the de-facto president, betrayed most of his colleagues, the like of Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak, Gen. Dr. Majak D’Agoot Atem, Pagan Amum Okech most of them were comrades in uniform and the Nuer nation at large. By default or bad intention from the president, James Hoth Mai now is the victim of his own making blaming nobody but himself. Gen. James Hoth Mai in an interview with Bakhita Radio on Monday said that “I was in bad situation during this crisis, because I am here fighting with Nuer which is my own tribe and they said that I am a betrayer, I betray them, and now the same time the Dinka who are with me here are saying I am peace columnist (Tabour el Kamsa) that I am helping event Nuer so I was even in the middle and now I am the happy person.” In the same vein on April 28, 2014 the Gen. went on saying “I did not betray my people and I did not betray my country.” But where on earth will the Gen. Mai be a happy man when he had committed enough human rights abuses on his own people including inter alia the beloved cousin Reath Thoan for the position he deserved in reference to the enormous contribution in the liberation struggle since 1983. For all that positive contribution, which would have earned high respect, Gen. Mai ended up collaborating with the serial killer Salva Kiir Mayardit.

In spite of the highest level in the army echelon Gen. James Hoth has reached, there was no training offered to Nuer officers and men in the key fields of specialization. Then, Gen. Hoth Mai made no contingents training to the Nuer officers in the event of exit that constituted violation of the rights of the Nuer as citizens of South Sudan. Gen. Mai was proven wrong when December 15, 2013 incident caught up the Tiger Battalion where none of the Nuer officers and men appeared to have not attended any specialized training in the army led by him, a circumstance that will not repeat itself in the future years to come. Here is what we can deduce from Martin Luther King Jr. as a reflection of the act of James Hoth Mai when he was the Chief of General Staff. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter and in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. was rightly referring to none other than Gen. James Hoth Mai who let loose the president. Though there are many speculations that Salva Kiir will appoint James Hoth as the minister in the national government, he will not do anything for the people he clamed to have represented.

Another victim of this change is Gen. Mac Paul Kuol, a Dinka from Jonglei hails from Nyarweng of Duk County, who for the last few years headed the Military Intelligence. The Chief of Military Intelligence (MI) went parallel with Salva Kiir when he was called to testify in the Kangaroo Court against the four detainees namely Oyai Deng Ajak, Dr. Majak D’Agoot, Pagan Amum Okech and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth accused of treason charges connected with the fabricated coup attempt. Gen. Mac Paul stood his ground firmly came out openly and said the accused four persons have nothing to do with the alleged coup attempt, period! Mac Paul was also considered pro-Machar since greater Nyarweng Community not participated in the war not until Hon. Philip Thon Leek sensitized the Nyarweng localizing the war to be a war between Dinka and the Nuer instead on ideology. Hon. Philip Thon was trying to buy back the previous position of governorship of Jonglei state advocating strongly for the involvement of the Nyarweng Community to fight the Nuer so that Salva Kiir would consider him in the next state government to replace Gen. John Kong Nyuon or else in the national government. From that day on many analysts said Gen. Mac put a robe on his neck, which was proven right when the president issued presidential decree firing the general without elaboration. Gen. Mac Paul was considered outright truthful and brave even though the move cost him his job. Here is what Martin King Jr. has to say about Gen. Mac Paul “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”—Martin Luther King Jr.

Several analysts suggested that the removal of Chief of General Staff, Gen. James Hoth Mai and Director General of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Mac Paul and their subsequent replacements by Lt. Gen. Paul Malong Awan and Maj. Gen. Marial Nuor, the architects of Salva’s private militia and masterminds of Juba Massacre indicates direct links with the current premeditated killing of 192 unarmed recruits in Mapel and now the death toll has steadily risen to unbelievable figure of 220 recruits most of whom are Nuer. For the very long time Salva Kiir and King Paul Malong had a long vision of exterminating the Nuer who they think would pose credible threats to their administration and the extension for Dinka hegemony by subduing other ethnic group into total submission in South Sudan once and for all when they (Dinka) got done with the Nuer in the first place. Another murderer is Maj. Gen. Marial Nuor Jok whose track record on crimes he committed during the liberation struggle was shocking. Before and after the birth of South Sudan Gen. Marial Nuor was known for all sorts of crimes including the killing of an Equatorian Eng. John Luis in April 2011 on alleged dispute on land issue.  In brief, Gen. Marial Nuor the Director of Public Security and Criminal Investigation was arrested on August 1, 2011following reports of his involvement in torture, bribery and creation of illegal detention centers among many crimes he committed. If Salva Kiir was not planning for disintegration of South Sudan why would he appointed the criminal who has a pending case in the court of law into his government, a very sensitive position of Director General of Military Intelligence?

The rhetoric of uniting South Sudanese under the Dinka led government would soon evaporated when hundreds Nuer recruits were killed in cold blood in Mapel training center and aftermath of Renk County where thousands of Nuer murdered without media coverage. Is this the South Sudan we were all yearned for? I hope not and here is what the former Deputy Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs Gen. Majak D’Agoot Atem in the court proceedings said, “regardless of the outcome of the court case, the country South Sudan has been irrevocably changed and will never be the same.”

With the attitude of regionalization of the conflict in South Sudan irrespective of the motives of the leadership be it rent-seeking behavior, it will have far reaching consequences for the future South Sudan. The escalation of the conflict cum with greed theories marks the end for the Dinka hegemony demonizing the entire country. Gen. James Hoth ruined his good reputation in the entire Nuerland and he is known by many including children to have sold Nuer interests for the position he deserved. Salva Kiir Mayardit claimed to be the true son of SPLA/M, but was one time defected in the early 2000s only that Dr. John Garang was smart enough to quell the circumstance with the help of Dr. Riek Machar whom he the president always referred to all the time as traitor. Dr. Riek Machar deserves 100+ credit from Salva Kiir Mayardit for the incredible job of giving him a chance to be the head of state after the demise of Dr. John Garang de Mabior.

Deng Mading is a South Sudanese exiled in East Africa and researcher in the area of “Democracy & Good Governance, Local & International Politics and Strategic Security Studies”. He can be reached at <[email protected]>.

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