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SPLA top general directs the army not to interfere in politics

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September 15, 2013 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese army’s chief of general staff, Gen. James Hoth Mai, has directed the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) not to interfere in the politics of the country.

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SPLA chief of staff General James Hoth Mai (Photo Larco Lomayat)

Gen. Mai, while graduating batch six of the Artillery Unit of the army based in Western Equatoria state on Saturday, also reminded the troops on the role of the army, which he said, was to protect the people and the sovereignty of the new state.

He encouraged members of the forces to instead pursue education and agriculture during this era of peace and reject any political temptations.

The first public statement by the SPLA chief after the 23 July dissolution of the country’s cabinet confirmed the widely circulated speculations that he remains opposed to any attempts to involve the security forces in the ongoing political rivalry in the country.

There have been speculations that the top general had disagreed with President Salva Kiir on a number of issues that seemed to drag the army into politics, including a sought guarantee to use the army to support the head of state in case he takes serious decisions against his political rivals in government and the ruling party.

Kiir recently threatened the legislative organ, the parliament, to support his actions and choices, including the appointment of the new vice-president, James Wani Igga to replace his long time deputy, Riek Machar, or risk dissolution.

He also suspended and confined to Juba the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party’s secretary general, Pagan Amum, for criticising his actions while the Supreme Court has shied away from proceedings on the petition presented to the judicial body by Amum against Kiir’s unilateral action.

Sources told Sudan Tribune that the president, who is also the commander-in-chief of the army, had also disagreed with Gen. Mai on the deployment of a seemingly private force at Luri Bridge, 10km west of Juba, without Mai’s knowledge.

They say Kiir may, any time, decide to replace Mai, adding that the new minister of defence and veterans affairs, Kuol Manyang Juuk, might have already blessed the plan.

However, minister Juuk responded in a press statement published on The Citizen daily newspaper last week, in which he refuted the allegations involving him, calling it a lie.

He further explained that he had not yet reported to the president on Gen. Mai’s performance since he left his position as the governor of Jonglei state and became a member of the national cabinet, a month ago.

“Such false report is a work of malicious people who wants to create friction and unnecessary conflict among the leadership of South Sudan, specifically within the Ministry of Defence. I am just one month in the office which is not enough for me to evaluate his performance and warrant me to give report about him to the President who is the Commander-in-Chief of SPLA is,” partly reads minister Juuk’s statement.

However, in his statements to the army, which were broadcast on the state-run South Sudan TV (SSTV) on Saturday, Gen. Mai reiterated his position that urged the army to stay away from politics.

South Sudan’s political atmosphere remains tense ahead of the ruling party’s plan to convene its overdue meetings to pass its basic documents and evaluate the party’s challenges and its leadership.

A number of the party’s leading members including its former vice president have openly declared their intentions to replace the current chairman, Kiir, with a new personality who shall become the torch bearer for the 2015 presidential election.

Observers say Kiir seems reluctant to call for the party elections given the internal opposition against his bid to go for another term in office.

It is, however, unknown how long the party leader will continue to shy away from calling for the long-awaited meetings, which officials say, is the only platform to resolve many of the serious challenges the party and its leadership have been experiencing.

(ST)

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  • 16 September 2013 06:49, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    James Hoth Mai is not playing politic, but he is downplaying circumilagation politic against president Kiir.

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    • 16 September 2013 10:23, by J P Puok

      Second marry of our president’s daughter brought more shame to our nation then before pregnancy! A golden jewelleries worth 28,000 SS are stolen right at the heart of the president home? suggest whom do you think is responsibly? a presidential palace turning out to be a den of thieves ? what a banana republic ours become!

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    • 16 September 2013 10:28, by Malou Manyiel

      Some of these poor website warriors are being manipulated by truth. General Hoth Mai is 100% right in his stand against involvement of army into politics. Army is for all of us as stipulated in the constitution , not for an individual. If we divided the army to all these senior government officials, where will the rest go? Where will the ordinary citizens go as well? Pliz, lets think logically.

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    • 16 September 2013 21:41, by jijury

      Brilliant message from Gen. James Hoth, our army should not involve in politics. Their duty is to protect our country from external threats. If they allow themselves to be use by Salva to threat those who disagreed with him on public issues then our country will be in chaos. The only way to avoid that is for our army to remain neutral.

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  • 16 September 2013 06:55, by Naath

    http://youtu.be/oqn2DB3P1h4.Before i comment please can you watch the youtube link,this is hopeless kiir plan,he brought Uganda army to the country without knwledge from south sudan army or without appraval from south sudanese parliament,this is declaration of the war between southernese,stupid dinka dominant uncle nearly to go to hell.Now chief of staff MAI ready than any one else,shame to kiir.

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    • 16 September 2013 07:04, by Naath

      What ashame from dinka community,they are Barking all the time on the web.i told you dinka are scary community,they can not face Naath in battle field that is why hopeless kiir brought army from other country uganda see this http://youtu.be/oqn2DB3P1h4,really shame to dinka community,shame to dinka dominant uncle

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      • 16 September 2013 07:29, by Tutbol

        Naath,
        That game of always playing threats of Dinka-Nuer wars is out-of-fashion uncle! The Dinkas need Nuers & Nuers need Dinkas & so do all the tribes of S Sudan; they all need each other to progress. What James Hoth Mai is saying is undeniable plain truth. We all know what happen when the military meddle in politics like in former french colonies in West Africa; where some rugtags drunk armies..

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        • 16 September 2013 07:44, by Tutbol

          ...often change their govts as if they are changing their undies. Besides, just look at Egypt, the Egyptians have allowed their army a free reign to meddle in their politics & that is why they often flock to their freedoms square demanding governance & not only that; their sprayed them with bullets like rabbits! James Hoth calls for our army not meddle on politics is a sure voice of reason.

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          • 16 September 2013 07:56, by Tutbol

            ...if we have more of James Hoth in our country’s top leadership, then we would be walking proudly with our chests and heads high, knowing that tribal politics allegiances won’t be used to divide our people. Way to go Mr James Hoth, keep it up.

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            • 16 September 2013 08:26, by Peacocktail

              Gen. Hoth is right to aware the Army not involves in country politics because the Army is believes to be independant entity which response to serious matters facing the state-State of emergency is among the issues. Offcourse Gen.Mai is vocal in making the army professional and reflective of most respect of South Sudan. SPLA is very discipline army and should participate in Peace Missions in Afric

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            • 16 September 2013 14:57, by Mapuor

              Its hard my friend, to avoid tribal militias affiliations to their masters.SPLA comprises former tribal militias and the freedom fighters who mainly come from Dinkas and Equatorians.Its good for James Hoth to keep on advising them to avoid politics as it leads no where.Hoth might be on the dillema as the only Nuer who refused to rebel.Bravo Hoth

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          • 16 September 2013 08:17, by Peacocktail

            Gen Hoth Mai is the long serving General and well experiences in SPLA but he should double all the efort to determined the number of Soldiers in the Country instead of collecting rubbish and combed data from Divisional Commanders which has 10% increases for their own benefits. this must be check properly and why Salaries delay from reach army on time? Gen.Juuk should explore those issues from Mai

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        • 16 September 2013 08:22, by Naath

          Tutbol that’s right everyone in the country need to work together to achieve the gold we want,but now things are not working according to southern sudan plan.kiir brought his separate army to Juba without knowledge from chief of staff Hoth Mai and at the sametime brought Uganda troops to South Sudan land without approval from parliament that show incompetency.Mai is already mad,

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          • 16 September 2013 08:39, by Peacocktail

            Hello brother Naath,
            Please you seem to behind because of hatred towards tribes in South Sudan. the country belongs to all of us if the other leave or massacre, we all bled and this is prohibited because our children need to be responsible and patriortic to the Country. we fought for them and they must find peace here otherwise there is no other homes for them. Unless if you are foreigner.

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            • 16 September 2013 09:43, by Naath

              Peacocktail:My question is why president kiir brought those both army from Uganda without parliament knowledge and also there is no emergency in the country?why Kiir at the sametime brought army from BareGazel to the captial without south sudan knowledge? is this start of war or stupidly to kiir.Now general hoth take his job seriousely any dog barking will be arrested that is simple answer

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              • 16 September 2013 09:53, by Chol A.

                @Naath are you saying Uganda army were stronger than SPLA? if you are not nut why do you question the movement of the army? SPLA forces can be move anywhere around south Sudan and coward like you Naath can think as different issue while it way of mentaining security! If the movement of SPLA forces use to ichy your leal than think one either listen and a bind the law or joint you usual Nyaget force

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                • 16 September 2013 11:48, by Naath

                  Chop A,I’m not questioning the moments of the army ok,those people are not army they’re militias from barhelgazel kiir brought them illegally to Juba to protect himself from South sudanese.Mr chol a you need to have better understanding before answering someone question,you misquote me ok,I said why kiir brought uganda army to south Sudan land without approval from parliament,not they’re stronger.

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                • 16 September 2013 12:02, by Naath

                  Chol A.Ugandan troops are in South Sudan do you know why and do you want to know just have look ,in first comment I loads YouTube for you and others who are supporting kiir movement.uganda shadow defense minister question the deployment

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                  • 16 September 2013 13:34, by Chol A.

                    @Naath yes you questioning the movement of south Sudan army and that is what I answered do we have Bhar el gazel army and spla? I have been year in juba for years such romours are just came to when Dr hopeless suck. Come your YouTube video a fool can believe such made up video if you think what ever you see Internet are true than your IQ out of blue and continue fueling that mate.

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  • 16 September 2013 23:23, by Man manning

    WHy is The NiGger talking FearFULLY? @ kUol ManganG JooNG

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    • 17 September 2013 08:00, by dude

      It is time to show Unity among ourselves we are one body. Secondly Hoth Mai is the symbol of Unity for our country. He should be rewarded somehow. Thirdly, it is wrong to bring Uganda troops to our soil. Forthly, we have to be truly a democratic country. South Sudan belongs to its people and not to Kiir and Museveni. The people of South Sudan are strong and more powerful than Kiir the messanger.

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