Prominent Army General Quits SPLA/IO Kitgwang Faction

General Makuach Teny Yok, one of the prominent Generals who deserted the SPLM/A-IO under Dr. Riek Machar and joined the Kit-Gwang faction led by Gen. Gatwich Dual, said he has abandoned the breakaway SPLM/A-IO because the latter abandoned planned reforms and signed a deal with the government in Juba.

Gen. Teny who was the South Sudan minister of youth and sports until President Salva Kiir sacked his entire cabinet in 2013, said on Thursday that he quit the Kit-Gwang faction on 15 February was now at his home.

“First of all, I decided to join Kit-Gwang to defend the principles and objectives of the Kit-Gwang declaration. However, in recent days we tried, by all means, to push forward the organization to achieve its objectives, but to my dismay, we were surprised that leaders of Kit-Gwang signed an agreement,” Gen. Teny explained. “And our reason for breaking away from the SPLM-IO under Riek Machar is that he did not fully implement the security arrangement provision.”

Asked if he had defected to the SPLM under President Kiir, Gen. Teny rubbished what he called rumors and said he was at his home.

“First of all, I have not joined Salva Kiir. This is not true. I resigned from Kit-Gwang and I am now staying at home. So what has been going on that I joined Kiir is false and if they have an opinion to meet me, this is a different thing altogether,” he said. “When we signed the peace agreement in 2015, it was not fully implemented; therefore, I decided to leave. I do not have any communication with the government.”

About being a serial defector and having shifty political allegiances, the General said he cannot stay in an organization that does not implement its objectives.

“If the objectives of each movement or a political organization are not being implemented, I do not think you will keep on waiting in vain. There is no future in this situation,” Gen. Teny explicated. “As the Arabic proverb says; “If you follow a chicken you will end up in garbage”. So, if the chicken we have been following has taken us to the garbage, you either continue to find food in the garbage or you leave. That is why I decided to leave so that we do not end up again in other situations.”

He added: “I am not only close to Machar alone but also to President Kiir. But these two have a problem, they do not trust each other. Therefore, it is difficult to work with such individuals. They are the parties of the agreement and they have power in the government. If they want us to work with them, we are ready and if they do not want to, we are even ready to fight them.”

Gen. Teny said he was not fighting for a government position.

“The issue is not the position. When I was in Juba, I was given three or four positions but I declined. I realized that positions will not serve our objectives. Our aim has not been implemented. Peace is our objective so that our people are stable,” he said. “I can be appointed as minister, governor, or a commissioner but this will not solve any problem. Even Dr Machar is now the First Vice President but he has nothing and is unable to do anything for himself, leave the rest.”

He said that if the current leadership of the country is not changed, South Sudan will not realize total peace.

“This system should be completely changed because when the two, Kiir and Machar, disagreed in 2013 over the party leadership and they decided to kill innocent people,” Gen. Teny said. “They are even ready to extend the transitional period forever. So what do we do? Do we wait until they die? We do not have time for this. They should leave the leadership before they die and witness that other people are able to serve this country better than them.”

On his vision for the restive country, Gen. Teny urged the opposition to unite.

“There is a need for all opposition groups to unite. If they are really keen on regime change in Juba, they should be united. The government needs to see that there are strong opposition groups in the country and are able to shake their positions in Juba. Other than this, these two individuals, Kiir and Machar, will continue to be in the leadership forever,” he concluded.

Chol Mawel