Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 19 May 2008

Put an end to Riak Machar’s political ambition

By Steve Paterno

May 18, 2008 — John Garang once invoked important statement that will continue to ring true in the minds of South Sudanese for generations to come. In his statement, John Garang the chairman of Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), said, he was willing to forgive Riak Machar for his betrayal and treacherous actions for having defected to Khartoum and wage Khartoum’s proxy war against SPLM/A in the 1990s. However, he added that the people of South Sudan will remember Riak Machar as someone who stabbed the South Sudan people’s struggle movement from the back at a critical point in history when the people of South Sudan were on a verge of victory to capture Juba, Khartoum’s largest military garrison in South at the time.

Unfortunately, today, the very Riak Machar who the South Sudanese will forever have in their memories as a traitor and betrayal is vowing to become the leader of South Sudan by trying to capture the leadership of SPLM through the ongoing SPLM/A convention where SPLM/A delegations elect SPLM/A leadership. God forbids Machar to capture the leadership of SPLM/A, but in case, he does, the memories of people of South Sudan will be plugged back to those dark years and the infamous incidents such as the Death Triangle, which resulted into mass killings of innocent Dinka Bor civilians will come into live. This, the people of South Sudan cannot afford anymore, especially after undergoing through such horrendous period under Machar’s misguided ambition for power.

Machar’s misguided ambition started when his mentor, Lam Akol, a savvy and yet another treacherous politician, misled him into defecting to the enemy in Khartoum. In Khartoum, Machar found his home with the brutal ruling regime where he took a position of a Proxy Warrior of the regime under a false pretext of South Sudan President. This was ceremonially cemented at the infamous Khartoum Peace Agreement of 1997, which is popularly known as April Fools Agreement, because indeed Machar was fooled on signing that agreement.

It was there that Machar’s ambition was shot into all time high, as he once again fell victim to yet another misguided advice from a Nuer spiritual leader and fortuneteller, Nyundeng—the advice, which is shredded in mysticisms and superstitions, predicting a Nuer to become the undisputed leader of free South Sudan. Machar falsely believes he is that Nuer chosen leader destined for South Sudan leadership. He puts all his bets on this false belief, and all his actions or lack of thereof, are to accommodate this self-fulfilling prophesy.

In the process, Machar faltered badly. Of course, in scheme of things, he is part of the Government of South Sudan mess, but yet, he in particular, tries his best to undermine President Salva Kiir’s leadership by all means possible. He tries to take credit for the good deeds of the government even though there are rarely those good deeds, and he shrinks off of the bad deeds of the government. He inserts himself in almost every situation, defying his job responsibilities. In all, he is never been impressive enough.

Of course, SPLM/A convention have been long awaited. It is a right step in transforming SPLM/A into a real political entity with real democratic principles. This, however, should not be the platform for people like Machar to ascend into power. Instead, it should be the platform to strengthen good leadership. Only those with good leadership record and with the potential of exerting good leadership in the future should be given chances to capture SPLM/A leadership positions. As for those like Machar, they can only find support of corrupt and dubious characters like those in Jarch Management Group, LTD., not those of South Sudanese whom their stakes are raised high in this convention to specter of political chaos. It should be in this convention that Machar’s political ambition should be put into an end, once and for all.

Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at stevepaterno@yahoo.com