May 20, 2014 (SSNA) — From Cairo in the north to Harare in the South, Abidjan in the west to Nairobi in the east, African despots have invented one survivalist secret to remain in power. The treacherous discovery comes in handy after swindling their poverty – ridden countries of colossal sums of monies. This wanton theft has led to an infliction of heaviest tolls of regrettable high death and illiteracy rates among their subdued subjects. That is besides the imposition of dictatorial governance – buffoonish style – on their unrelenting vociferous masses. Unfortunately, it is this club of rogue kleptocrats Salva Kiir Mayardit of recently independent South Sudan has joined as a new kid on the bloc. This comes after learning his lessons the hard way from the said peer group of heartless autocrats. Prominent in this bloc of authoritarian dictatorships is a stone throw away Kenya and Egypt, the far flunk Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe whose capital cities are hitherto mentioned above. Not all, but some leaders in these countries either tried previously this panacea or are now riding high on this criminal invention. Well performing Mwai Kibaki of Kenya clawed back narrowly a slipping away Presidency by hooks or crooks from rhetorically larger than life opposition leader, Raila Amolo Odinga in 2007.
Not so long after an octogenarian Robert Mugabe pinched off a considerable chunk of votes from his all time rival, Morgan Vshangrai to remain in a sale off date 30 plus years’ rulership. Laurence Gbagbo stamped his feet hard on Ivorian Presidency as he kept reneging on peace pacts with pro – Ali Hassan Ouatara northern – based New Forces rebels for ten good years that could lead to elections he rightly believed he couldn’t win. He lost the plot as he expected in 2010 and is now behind bars munching juicy Macdonald like never before in The Hague for trying to hang on as he unleashed human right atrocities against the rivals. After driving Hosni Mubarak out of palace in a mutual military coup in Egypt on a trump card of pacifying the blood thirsty mob baying for his life, now military strong man field marshal Abdel Fatah Al- sisi is having his presidential debut as the sole candidate in the elections all parties of substance, his bootlicking puppet Adly Mansour and sworn rival Mohammed Morsi are constitutionally barred from participating. He savagely robbed Peter – Mubarak to pay Paul – Morsi after a brief warm curdle with pro – Mubarak Islamic moderates in a powering sharing bed. He is currently tiptoeing his way back to power as he systematically railroads the Egyptian pharaohic political dinosaurs, the timid moderates and hardcore Islamists. Lining up closely behind all those bad examples is South Sudan’s Salva Kiir Mayardit. The man who got spectacular rise to power on silver platter following the sudden demise of a wily – charismatic john Garang crashed onto Mount Imatong on 30th July, 2005 on his return to South Sudan from Yoweri Museveni rural home in Uganda. The crashed Presidential helicopter under still unsettled suspicious circumstances was offered by Museveni, strangely Kiir current inseparable close political buddy.
Those who stirred the dusty storm about the crashed plane, like Tellar Ring Deng and Aleu Ayeny Aleu, were booted out of former Sudan federal cabinet and SPLM on Kiir’s orders and only to return to the political inner sanctum after pleading for mercy. Those who echoed the same hullabaloo across the border frontiers in Uganda like vocal journalist Andrew Mwenda were either muscled into jail or silence by Museveni. This savage act of treachery replicated in late December 2011 when rebel leader George Athor Deng from his hideout waded into Museveni trap under the guise of peace negotiations with Juba. In a few hours time his and Secretary Thomas Duoth Makuach’s remains were handed over in body bags to Kiir’s security details at Uganda – South Sudan border town of Kaya. A child of magnificent fortune, Kiir reaped where he hardly sowed by simply tucking along in the shadow of an industrious bread winner, Garang for 21 years of hiking on the most torturous hills and valleys of South Sudan as he bravely fought one colonial Arab regime after another. That is the last broken straw clearing Kiir’s path to power shrouded in dangerous mists.
Among the top five permanent members out of fifteen in the Political Military High Command, PMHC of whom he was one, Kiir is the only sole survivor. Besides Garang and Arok Thon Arok who died in Sudan government plane crash in February 1998, deputy chairman, Kerubino Kuanyin Bol and Chief of staff, William Nyuon Bany got killed in gun battles. It is death of the brave that threw adept critics’ floodgate of silence swung open. This group of cynics usually talks of Kiir in a more disapproving – hushed tones as the only top high commander of fifteen – half of whom had already dropped dead in a former guerilla movement, SPLM/A – who never ran over a single government garrison town. All he was doing as the security chief for nearly half of liberation life span is pinpointing for slaughter those he caught unawares slightly pulling faces and poking funs at the veteran guerilla leader’s leadership style. Kiir they said only voiced egocentric dissent of late around September 2004 when he sensed being sidelined by Garang in the run up to the formation of the post-war interim government in which huge monetary and political paybacks were in the hoping. He ever since 2005 presides over the Presidency for eight years.
With not so good looking performance invoice tainted by bloodiest ethnic divisions ever, high flying – mega financial corruption and stone aged rigidity to embrace democratic change and good governance. In starring defeat right in the face come 2015 elections Kiir devised a ruthless mechanism to hold onto the shaky path of power. That is by arm-twisting the drafters of a controversial transitional constitution and flushing it down the throats of MPs with carrot on the stick. The document has granted him unlimited prerogative to remove elected political post holders including State Governors except him as he weeded out from national cabinet potential rivals. When they continued hanging out in their positions of last resort in SPLM party, he followed them by changing the party road map rules in his favor that could maintain one’s position or take him/her a notch higher on the political ladder. These strong arms tactics got capped with stage managed military coup attempt that sparked off ethnic massacres of the Nuer innocent civilians in South Sudanese capital, Juba by his home – grown ethnic militia. Saw dozens locked up in squirrel jails a head of arranging them before kangaroo courts.
The rest ran helter-skelter for dear lives including his arch-rival Riek Machar into far and wide thickets. Not so long ago he breathed a whip of fresh air before his main rival for the crown, Dr. Machar crafted a fortune changing bulwark, SPLM – in – Opposition in bush hideout to challenge Kiir’s might that shortly turned into balance of power over night between South Sudan two leading political protagonists. Now under threat of losing power in the wake of five – month old devastating civil war despite bringing in every Dick, Tom and Harry in South Sudan to help him keep the ever declining presidency with countrywide famine looming large, Kiir is stretching out his long hands for a power sharing deal with Machar. A trick up the sleeve, he hopes will keep the proverbial Arab camel/him going for a few extra-miles reluctantly as the dogs bark. If succeeds, his laughable nullity called attempted coup shall pay off bountifully. For he will walk away scot free from the impunity of orchestrating deadly massacres, massive human displacement, infrastructural destruction and self-induced famine. The icing on the cake will be an illegal extension of his term in office for yet another period he would not have done through free and fair 2015 elections. Then, business as usual will always remain as fabricated coups illegally extend endless presidential terms while cycle of impunity continues to feed culture of violence; concluded I in a statement directed to an American Ambassador to South Sudan, Susan Page in a meeting with Nuer assembled leaders, Thursday 15th May on consultation on which way peace, purposed formation of Transitional National Unity Government and reconciliation process could be pursued.
Deng Vanang is a freelance Journalist and can be reached at:[email protected]