Home | News    Wednesday 12 August 2015

Relieved South Sudan’s rebel commanders claim disowning Machar from leadership


August 11, 2015 (NAIROBI) - A group of South Sudanese high ranking rebel commanders who were relieved from their positions in a reshuffle by former vice president and the leader of armed opposition faction, Riek Machar, issued a statement on Tuesday, claiming to have denounced and disowned the latter from the leadership of the rebel movement.

Rebel General Peter Gatdet Yaka gestures as he speaks to South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar (not seen) in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei February 1, 2014. (Photo Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

“We denounce and disown Dr. Riek Machar as SPLM/A-IO (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition) chairman and commander in chief,” partly reads the statement signed by Major General Peter Gatdet Yaka and extended to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday shortly after allegedly holding a press conference in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

The generals, led by Peter Gatdet Yaka and Gathoth Gatkuoth, claimed that their cause of indifference with Machar was intolerance to blames and different views on number of leadership issues.

Other reasons for disowning the armed opposition leader, according to the statement, was to revive the regional led IGAD peace talks to exclude president Salva Kiir and Machar from participating in any transitional government of national unity, allegedly for having divided the nation.

“We reject any peace agreement that includes President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar in the leadership of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU). The two leaders have become symbols of hate and conflict and are obstacles to peace as both leaders wrangle over who should lead”, the commanders said in a statement obtained by Sudan Tribune.

They claimed war has taken long because rivalry over leadership between Kiir and Machar has polarized the country to the extent that it made it difficult from either of the two major communities, Dinka and Nuer, to accept the top leadership of the country held by either side to the conflict.

“Similarly the two communities of Nuer and Dinka have become so polarized and divided to the extent that one community will reject the leadership of the other. Other sons and daughters of South Sudan should be allowed to lead during the transitional period and both President Kiir and Dr. Riek should wait for the next coming elections and contest for the presidency if they so desire,” it added.

The statement from the disgruntled rebel commanders further suggested that if their first suggestion was not acceptable, then a military-led transitional government comprising officers from both parties be formed until next elections are conducted.

They also reject reunification of ruling SPLM party, claiming it confirmed a return to status quo that plunged the country into the current civil war and took the country back to the dictatorial rule of SPLM.

“This means that there will be no political space for other political actors in South Sudan. The SPLM/SPLA-IO is a multi-party resistance movement comprising of political and military forces that are opposed to Juba regime which has turned its guns against innocent citizens,” it said.

The reunification of the SPLM, they said, may compromise democratic transformation, reforms and federal system and would encourage one party dictatorship.

The two senior generals, Gatdet and Gathoth, including their ring leader, Gabriel Changson Chang, have been relieved from their positions in the rebel movement. Observers said their relief might have triggered their public discontent against their former boss.

The defecting generals have not however declared their new organization, nor named their leader to lead their group.


The opposition faction led by Machar however downplayed the statement of the generals and their claim to have removed Machar.

“We have read their statement which they issued in Khartoum today, Tuesday. I believe they are angry because they have been relieved from their positions. But they should have been patient and wait for redeployment to other capacities. Reshuffles are normal in political or military leaderships,” Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune when contacted for reaction on Tuesday.

He however said the opposition leadership was intact and the situation was calm and normal, adding that the leadership would make a statement in response to the allegations raised by the “angry” commanders.

Dak also blamed the defecting commanders for not showing up in the recent Pagak leadership meeting last week during which such complaints they raised would have been discussed internally.

He added that the movement was committed to the peace process to end the 20-month long civil war, adding that the leadership would be open for reconciliation with the disgruntled commanders should they accept to dialogue and present their complaints to the leadership of the movement.


In an earlier briefing to members of his community of Jikany-Nuer in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Monday, Major General Gathoth Gatkuoth, who later on declared his defection on Tuesday in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, said he had five reasons for abandoning the movement under the leadership of Machar.

One of the reasons he alleged during a meeting with the youth leadership of the Jikany-Nuer community claimed that the Chinese government gave a hundred million US dollars to the rebel leader, Machar, as a bribe so as to prevent his troops from capturing the oilfields operated by company of the Chinese government.

Gat-hoth continued to say that the son of former vice president was also previously given a sum of 7 million [South Sudanese pounds] by Salva Kiir’s government, blaming Machar for allegedly running the party as a family property.

“Machar’s defection in 1991 has never benefited Nuer,” he said, adding that opposing ideas of military generals by the rebel leader was another reason for his defection.

Gathoth further revealed that the defectors were in the process of forming an independent movement that will work to unearth both president Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, from power, accusing them of fighting each other for 20 months since 15 December 2013.

He claimed they were soon going to receive military support from unnamed group or country that will oppose reinstatement of Kiir and Machar in IGAD peace proposal.


Simon Bachuch, chairman of the Jikany-Nuer community in Kenya told Sudan Tribune that the whole community disagreed with Gatkuoth’s position, adding it was creating a “red-line” in an attempt to exclude Machar in the coming transitional government of national unity.

He accused Gathoth of prioritizing his own personal interests instead of the welfare of the community and the South Sudanese in general.

Bangoang Tongyik Lual, a member of Jikany-Nuer community who also attended the meeting with the defected commander, accused him of foiling a fake bribery allegation against Machar, describing Gathoth’s claims as “adultery politics.”

“Is there a tangible evident on this document presenting the said transactions, in references of his claims that Chinese and the others bribed Dr. Machar to cease war, suspend combatants to capture Paloich oilfield?” he asked.

They said the community distanced itself from their defected sons, whom they said were “were playing with fire and digging their own graves.”

The community leaders in Kenya said they were in support of the IGAD-Plus peace process to end the war in the country.


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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 11 August 2015 22:19, by truth to be told in SS

    Riek Machar is always a looser . During 1991 split from the main SPLA, Machar forces Intergrated into fractions soon after the formation of his SSIM. Now, Taban Deng Gai and Ladu are calculating their next move and rejoining the Salva Kiir government is a high possibility for these two gentlemen. What is next for Riek Machar is a big question? Unlike 1991 split, Rejoining Khartoum is no longer a v

    • 11 August 2015 22:28, by Ahmed Chol

      The Arabs will use them properly. The days of peace are off chart. Be ready for a 20 year civil war folks. Current state of affairs is a result of greed from those that are still in the government. I wish there was a mightier force in the region to give you your share of punishment. History repeats again, Riek will be alone when Nuer scatters between Khartoum, Juba and various rebel commanders.

      • 11 August 2015 22:34, by Ahmed Chol

        regular citizens of South Sudan will suffer whether on government or rebel side. The economy will punish all. Prices will be unbearable in the market and there will never be development.

        • 12 August 2015 07:03, by Mi diit

          Oh, my God!

          So Gat-hoth thought Dr. Riek got 100 million and got no share, and that is why he and SPLM hater Gabriel Lew Chang aka Gabriel Changson Chang defected.

          We are cursed with primitive army generals. It is like Paul Malong Awan the other day saying he didn’t want peace and would better become a rebel, or Alqaeda, or Al-Shabaab or Boko Haram. No thought of implications in such comments.

          • 12 August 2015 07:58, by Mi diit

            Hehehe...This is Paul Malong Awan’s cheap design of politics in South Sudan. I am told he went to Nairobi and communicated to the defected rebel generals that the military should lead South Sudan.

            He told those of Gat-hoth and Peter Gatdet to overthrow Dr. Riek and he (Malong) will overthrow Kiir and force IGAD to allow generals to lead a transitional period.

            What gambling!

            • 12 August 2015 08:05, by Mi diit

              The question is, can Malong Awan be a better president than Salva Kiir? Is he not the one who designed and executed the genocide against the Nuer in Juba? Will Peter Gatdet and Gat-hoth Gatkuoth approve Malong Awan as their new president in South Sudan?

              A country led by Malong and deputized by Peter Gatdet or Gat-hoth Gatkuoth?

              What a country!

              • 12 August 2015 08:10, by Mi diit

                "The statement from the disgruntled rebel commanders further suggested that if their first suggestion was not acceptable, then a military-led transitional government comprising officers from both parties be formed until next elections are conducted."

                That is what they are up to with Malong Awan.

    • 12 August 2015 08:17, by okucu pa lotinokwan

      Following the foot steps of the Elite and my tribe should be in ruling is what the south Sudanese communities are dying for, tribes with a very primitive mind prevent the investors to come in south Sudan.

    • 12 August 2015 13:02, by chuol

      Hhahahah good bye Peter Gatdet and Gat_Hoth.... the end of your military life.. shame

    • 12 August 2015 14:05, by Ayuen deng

      I knew this would happen after along waste of Nuer youths life,they will split and fight them selves over power greed,that’s why wanethiin could be thought over before acting foolishly.Now who to nnogeciate with the goverment of South Sudan?? Riek or Gatdet??

  • 11 August 2015 22:22, by truth to be told in SS

    Riek Machar is always a looser . During 1991 split from the main SPLA, Machar forces Intergrated into fractions soon after the formation of his SSIM. Now, Taban Deng Gai and Ladu are calculating their next move and rejoining the Salva Kiir government is a high possibility for these two gentlemen. What is next for Riek Machar is a big question? Unlike 1991 split, Rejoining Khartoum is no longer

    • 11 August 2015 22:27, by truth to be told in SS

      A viable alternative or options. mr. Machar better crawl back to King Paul otherwise hot pursue is on the way. SPLA Oyee

    • 12 August 2015 10:54, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

      The symbol of Riek Machar, became bold throught his careless care of his commanders.
      the claimed of bribes by Chinese government is seem to be true. not matter to let forces stop capturing of Paloch, the sum of millions given to him was due to abandon the killing of his people Nuer, because Chinese got him he is killing people due to money.

  • 11 August 2015 23:24, by lino

    Hahaaa! South Sudanese are always South Sudanese!!! It will be taking so long till we see a leader like John Garang to emerge, collect, and lead his nation. Help us God!!1

  • 12 August 2015 01:22, by dinkdong

    I totally agreed with Gatdet and his team, that "Kiir and Riek should be excluded from the Transitional Gov’t." They are nothing, but power-hungery losers whom their ego of power result in death of thousands of innocence civilians.

  • 12 August 2015 05:58, by Yuol

    What goes around comes around. A good lesson to Dr. Machar. Whenever you are not contented with someone leadership mark that others we will not be contented too with your leadership. Test the soup of your own making

  • 12 August 2015 07:25, by Maper

    Gatdet and Gathoth may not get guns now from Khartoum, but as soon as Riek and his group enter Juba, Bashir will provide them with weapons to Continue destroying what Riek has not destroyed. As it always happens, Riek will be in government while his abandoned troops are fighting the very government.

  • 12 August 2015 07:57, by Uncle J

    SPLM-G3 for Peter Gatdet, Gathoth and Changson will teach Riek Machar a lesson he will never forget if he survived it. Riek has been acting like a big pig in Chinese shop turning SPLM-IO political resistance into business, now he established this fake ass petroleum company called Sudar from bribery money. In politics, if you making a lot of money, then there must be something funy going on...

  • 12 August 2015 10:29, by William Atak Garang.

    The mission and vision for SPLM IO, is likely to collapse! since General Peter Gadet,Changson Chang and General Gathoth Gathoth did not succeed in their plan for the assassination of Dr. Riak Machar. Now the foxes are not certified in power sharing that is why they endeavor to form their own movement. Fighting over leadership will not come to an end! even if you split into 100 movements in South

    • 12 August 2015 11:25, by Panda Odhie

      Riek the man who know how to rule people ,his movement split again what a fake human being, man of no shame really.good governance, democracy,rule of law,so on and so post, why is it difficult for him to manage people at his command. fake man and liar. but we need to be keen enough ,it might be an other tactics for him to recruited more army, he will come alone and other groups alone but hey know

  • 12 August 2015 11:49, by Alfredo christiani

    Peter Gatdit or Miidit
    Look at your confused illiterate commanders, they don’t known what they are doing, now they are in Khartoum tomorrow in Bush next in Juba hahahaha I’m quite sure soon they will come to Juba and say forgive us Sir, we are very sorry Sir Sir Sir Secondly for how long can government keep these illiterates generals in the army? Retire them and promote the true SPLA officers of

  • 12 August 2015 11:51, by Alfredo christiani

    of 1980S. Who did not defected to Khartoum since creation of the SPLA/M on 16 May 1983.

  • 12 August 2015 13:53, by Uncle J

    Now that bloody Riek Machar can’t manage his own people that speak the same language with him in his SPLM-IO that spelt difficult roads ahead of him, every single day in Juba when he was VP he used to have "mipango ya kando ati raisi Kiir ake incompetent" what about now? SPLM-G3 has disowned Riek for his being incompetent and the coup to overrun rats/cats parliament in Pagak is underway, just wait for the worse to come. Set Nuer to catch Nuer is more like to "set a thief to catch a thief" Westerns need to study Nuer mentality before they help them.

    • 13 August 2015 16:09, by jubaone

      Uncle J,

      Whether the "J" stands for Jienge or "Jellaba" is up to you to decide. Your analysis on Riak and the Nuer at large does suggest that you´re either of them. The Nuers do their talking, whereas the Jienges talk their doings, suggesting that they like thrash talk without substance. Kiir has talked for over 10 yrs and nothing has happened.

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