Open Letter: Why South Sudan’s Kiir Wants Non-Peace Signatories to Return to Juba

My fellow citizens,

It is my pleasure to write to you at a time when the country is still bleeding with no hope for genuine and lasting peace to be achieved soon. I urge you to be patient in your families with each other as peace is a process, needs sincerity and commitment from all conflicting parties amidst the lack of payment of salaries for civil servants, including the organized forces, the deteriorating economic situation in the country and amidst the lack of gesture for peace by some elements in our beloved South Sudan.

Since the signing of the Revitalized peace agreement with Kiir’s administration in Juba in 2018, I have been monitoring its implementation closely and the regime has been following closely the move by both the opposition in Juba and the non-peace signatories. Hopes for a free and fair elections to end the transitional period which would usher the country into a new democratic error seem not to bear fruit.

As a matter of fact, the largest percentage of the population in South Sudan wants regime change due to the challenges facing the country. The army and politicians, both in opposition and within Kiir’s circles aim at disposing Kiir from office. Kiir is surrounded by few loyalists who hail from his home town with a handful of others from other regions of the country who are in his support amidst a majority population of South Sudanese politicians and generals who are well prepared and armed both militarily and politically enough to dislodge the president in case he makes a mistake of starting war with the opposition forces in Juba.

It should be noted that despite the growing number of opposition parties and their members who have come out openly to criticize Kiir’s regime in the country, there are also a good number of generals and politicians around Kiir, including some from his own home town who have silently rebelled against the president’s administration from inside and are in support of the move for regime change. It should be noted further that the urge to topple Kiir by some of his close generals and politicians, including those who hail from his own home town has caused mistrust by Kiir for his allies in Juba. It is well known to the regime in Juba and to the South Sudanese citizens that Malong rebelled against the government because some of his own home people serving in the government wanted him dead following accusations that he wants to topple Kiir. It is also well known that there is hunger for Kiir’s seat among his own loyalists, especially among some members in the security sector. The urge for the top seat in the country by some generals and politicians has caused division among Kiir’s once loyal comrades, hence leading to the removal of Paul Malong from his position as army chief which was coupled with Malong’s rebellion against Kiir’s regime.   

According to my personal analysis, as pressure mounts on Salva Kiir’s administration in Juba with the presence of the opposition forces, the president is in panic and he now wants general Paul Malong Awan to return to the country for his defense in case of any future conflict in the country. The presence of the opposition parties in Juba has made Kiir to remember his once loyal and brave diehard, general, Paul Malong Awan who now heads the South Sudan United Front (SSUF). A part from the other non-signatory opposition parties, Juba’s major aim of initiating the ongoing Kenyan based peace talks in Kenya is to return Kiir’s former strongest die-hard, General Paul Malong Awan to Juba. Awan is the major target for the talks and Kiir believes that bringing Malong to Juba would add to his existing force for his defense in case of any conflict arising in the future.

Due to fear that his power hungry diehards would take the presidency from him if Malong fails to accord him support, the president has been pursuing to lure General Paul Malong for a return to Juba. However, Malong stood his ground never to engage with Kiir in any talks as an individual and as an individual party in order to give his return to Juba weight and guarantee for his safety. Malong’s fear is that the top people in South Sudan’s national security want him dead though he respects and values his former boss, General Salva Kiir as president.

Therefore, I wish to conclude by requesting the people of South Sudan to be vigilant as there is still no peace in the country unless all opposition parties, in the likes of NAS-under Thomas Cirilo and the Kit-gwang faction of the SPLA/M-IO, among others have left the bush and unless the regimes commits to the revitalized peace agreement in good faith in order to complete the implementation of the pending tasks. From South Sudan’s independence to date, our people have experienced no peace and my worry is that should Kiir’s administration fail to conduct inclusive negotiations which solve the challenges facing the country from their roots ,control the army and the politicians, restore peace and respect for the rule of law in the country, minimize the rampant corruption in the country and stabilize the economy among others, the various regions of South Sudan are likely to peacefully or forcefully choose to advocate for independent states curved out of South Sudan. It should be noted that silent diseases also Kills.

Thanks and regards.

Col. Dominic Gabriel Mogga Baba          

Former, South Sudan Police officer.

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