Home | News    Wednesday 20 August 2014

Juba’s anti-Machar comment ignores role in independence struggle


August 19, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – An official of the South Sudan’s armed faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-In-Opposition) said the recent negative comments uttered against their leader, Riek Machar, by South Sudanese officials in Juba were lacking spirit to recognise the great roles he played that lead to the birth of the new country on 9 July 2011.

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SPLM-in-Opposition leader Riek Machar talks to the media after his meeting with president Omer al-Bashir on 10 August 2014 (ST)

On Sunday South Sudanese deputy education minister Bol Makueng, who spoke on behalf of the governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), slashed at the former vice- president saying Machar had divided the efforts of the country’s long liberation struggle in 1991 at the height of the civil war with the north when the then guerrilla movement had almost liberated much of what constitutes present day South Sudan.

He accused the rebel leader of allegedly repeating the same scenario by seeking military assistance from Khartoum, which he said supported Machar in 1990s.

The ruling party’s spokesman was referring to the recent visit to Khartoum by the rebel leader who met president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and other officials of government.

His comments followed calls from South Sudan urging the government of neighbouring Sudan, from which South Sudan seceded in 2011, to sever all ties with pro-Machar rebels.

Makueng uttered the comments to reporters in Juba while making an official statement on Sunday in commemoration of the 59th anniversary of 18 August 1955 Torit mutiny.

He accused Machar of dividing the people of South Sudan in August 1991 and had now repeated the same in December 2013.

However, the South Sudanese opposition leader’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, fired back by dismissing the allegations, saying the rebel group was not seeking military support from Khartoum. He also criticized Juba for not recognizing great role played by Machar.

“First of all Dr Riek Machar didn’t go to Khartoum to seek military support. He went to Khartoum to garner support for the IGAD-mediated peace process. President Bashir is the head of the Sudanese state which is an IGAD member country,” he told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday in response to the allegation.

He said the rebel group was committed to the peace process and saw it important to consult with regional leaders on how best they could support the ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa.

Dak further criticised officials in Juba, saying they also “have no high moral ground when they dismantled the ruling SPLM party and invited foreign army, Sudanese rebel groups and mercenaries to help them fight against democracy; brutally massacring countless innocent citizens and destroying the country.”

He said the war was imposed on the people of South Sudan by president Salva Kiir and “his cohorts, some of whom have been serving as devil advocates uttering baseless comments.”


Dak further said those who attempted to deny Machar’s role in the 21 years of the liberation struggle were simply lacking the spirit to recognise his “enormous” contributions toward the independence of South Sudan.

The rebel leader’s spokesman said the former vice-president was a champion of self-determination which his critics were now “enjoying its fruits in denial.”

“During the war with Khartoum Dr Riek Machar was calling for the right to self-determination through an internationally supervised referendum. He was also calling for democratization of the movement and respect for human rights. He played a great role in championing self-determination which our people had been demanding for decades,” he said.

“We are now an independent nation because of the self-determination he and his colleagues championed during the liberation struggle,” he added.

Dak challenged that certain leaders wouldn’t like and enjoy the outcome of the idea and at the same time dislike the person who played a leading role in championing that idea.

“This is a self-contradiction. It is a strange lack of spirit to recognize somebody’s contribution.”

Machar, he said, was also one of the best field commanders who fought historical battles during the north-south civil war, adding the former vice president also championed peace as the best option to end the 21 years of the conflict when he chose the path of dialogue with Khartoum.

He also played a great role as former vice-president of the then semi-autonomous South Sudan, he said, when Machar during the six years of interim period headed a high level committee of the South Sudan’s ruling party, SPLM, and implemented the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) with north Sudan.

The rebel leader’s spokesman however acknowledged that “unintended” mistakes were made in the past, but cautioned that people should free themselves from the bitterness drawn from the past.

“Many unintended mistakes happened during the liberation struggle. Many if not all the leaders present during the liberation war made mistakes either collectively or individually. Nobody acted like an angel. And in war many unavoidable things happen,” he said.

He further accused some leaders of having stuck with the past and made themselves slaves of the past bitterness, reminding that there was no single SPLM leader spared from responsibilities of the past.

In 1984 Machar, who joined the liberation war in 1983 while in the United Kingdom, became the first representative of the movement in Addis Ababa. He was then commissioned to the rank of a major after completing military training in Bonga, Ethiopia, and led forces as a military field commander from 1986 to 1991.

On 28 August 1991 he split from the mainstream rebel movement (SPLM) led by its founder, late John Garang, and led a separate movement when the two differed over the main objective of the movement: self-determination for the people of South Sudan versus united democratic secular Sudan.

In 1997 he signed the Khartoum peace agreement (KPA) on the basis of self-determination, but the accord was dishonoured, prompting him to return to the bush.

On 6 January 2002, the two leaders merged their forces by signing the Nairobi declaration in which they agreed to pursue the twin objectives of self-determination leading to independence of South Sudan and maintenance of united Sudan on the basis of secular democracy.

In her remarks following the fallout with the South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, the widow of late Garang, Rebecca Nyandeng, cautioned politicians under Salva Kiir’s government not to dwell on the 1991 split to sideline Machar, accusing them of using it as an excuse for their own failure.

Nyandeng and Machar reconciled in 2011 and pledged to forgive one another over the past incidences.

Also the eldest son of late Garang, Mabior Garang de Mabior, has joined Machar in the current armed resistance against president Kiir’s government, accusing his father’s former right hand man of dictatorship. He has taken the assignment as the head of information and public relations in the opposition faction led by Machar.


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  • 20 August 2014 09:02, by michael coma

    Gatdet Dak

    We are educated people who can’t be blindfolded by blind person like you.You always talks of self determination that brought by Machar which is false.Machar never achieved something apart from rebellion as his career.Machar is the citizen of South Sudan that he betrayed for so long.Stop telling nonsense here.

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    • 20 August 2014 09:15, by Akol Liai Mager

      I thought Riek Machar did join NIF in Khartoum to kill South Sudanese people for 10 out of those mentioned 21 years and the evidence is Riek himself with his official apologies for having massacred Bor Communities.

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    • 20 August 2014 13:53, by Realist

      No matter what he achieved during the struggle, he destroyed it all. Look at Malakal, Bor, Bentiu. These towns are completely destroyed. Not to mention many lives that was lost. Shame on S. Sudanese leaders.

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    • 20 August 2014 18:16, by Rommel

      Calling for self-determination and achieving it are two completely different things. How did Riek ostensibly call for self-determination? Oh, that’s right, he turned to Khartoum. You cannot seek independence from someone when you’re wholly reliant upon them for every nail, every litre of oil, every platform, every box of ammunition and their logistical support.

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      • 20 August 2014 18:17, by Rommel

        Riek failed completely as a man that so strenuously promulgated his *pretended* belief in democratic ideals and institutional reforms. He merely gave lip service to these terms for *gasp* political gain. Riek did not introduce greater transparency and accountability in his own movement — he didn’t create any democratic institutions.

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        • 20 August 2014 18:21, by Rommel

          Riek’s colleagues in what was the Nasir faction condemned him for concentrating power in his own hands — authoritarianism. Among these detractors was Joseph Oduho, a widely respected political mental giant. Arok Thon Arok also voiced the same opinions. In fact, prior to Joseph Oduho‘s death, the respected elder lambasted Nasir faction for being authoritarian.

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          • 20 August 2014 18:22, by Rommel

            Whatever the cosmetic or purely theoretical aspects of SPLM/A administration, it can be contrasted with SPLA-United/SSIM, where there were no similar civil administrative structures and where much of what was announced in the form of internal organisation existed on paper only. (The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars: Peace Or Truce, Douglas H. Johnson

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            • 20 August 2014 18:26, by Rommel

              There’s not a single impartial historian that asserts that Riek’s foolish alliances with Khartoum directly laid the groundwork for our independence. The 1997 agreement did not have the express support and involvement of the United States or any other actors of international significance. Riek’s pathetic agreement was doomed to failure from the onset.

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              • 20 August 2014 18:34, by Rommel

                James Gatdet Dak seems to desperately want to believe that Riek knew exactly what he was doing after having failed so miserably during the war. Did he know what he was doing when he committed the folly of being so desperately reliant upon Khartoum’s supplies, weapons, ammunition and logistical support!?

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                • 20 August 2014 18:34, by Rommel

                  Did Riek know what he was doing when Khartoum increased its military presence in the oilfields, in an absolute, definite and conspicuous display of contempt and disregard for Riek after they promised him control of the oilfields!? Did Riek know what he was doing when Khartoum used Matip to force him out of Unity State!?

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                  • 20 August 2014 18:37, by Rommel

                    Did Riek know what he was doing when he admitted that he got "cheated" [his words not mine] by Khartoum into thinking that they had any intention of honoring any part (s) of the agreements that he signed with them!? He didn’t know what he was doing.

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                    • 20 August 2014 18:40, by Rommel

                      "The government benefited substantially from the split inside the SPLA. The government had encouraged the split by sending false signals that it might let the South secede." (Sudan-Contested identities, Ann Lesch)

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                      • 20 August 2014 18:41, by Rommel

                        Once the split occurred, the government developed a four-prong strategy that encouraged Riek machar to fight the SPLA. It backed away from offering independence, mounted large scale offences against Garang’s forces and used the disintegration of the SPLA to facilitate its repression of the African people in Southern Kordofan, Darfur and Southern Blue Nile. (Sudan-Contested identities)

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                        • 20 August 2014 18:42, by Rommel

                          Riek did not deliver Self-Determination to the people of South Sudan — he delivered internecine tribal war and our oilfields to Khartoum. That’s his legacy. The legacy that allowed Khartoum to arm itself like never before with sophisticated and devastating weapons, to the tune of billions of dollars and to the attendant lost of tens of thousands and the misery of millions of lives.

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                          • 20 August 2014 18:53, by Rommel

                            The late Dr. John Garang very well understood that you couldn’t possibly be taken seriously by Khartoum and achieve a political settlement with the Ignaz Nazis, without an independent army. You cannot achieve anything without an independent source of funding, a separate source of weaponry and ammunition and a separate line of logistics.

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                            • 20 August 2014 18:54, by Rommel

                              Dr. John Garang made it very clear that autonomy or independence couldn’t be "guaranteed by a few phrases scribbled on some sheets of paper stapled and bound together and christened “The Constitution”." Dr. John Garang wrote that in 1972 — in a letter to Joseph Lagu, warning that the Addis Ababa Agreement would be dishonored in its entirety if the South didn’t have a truly independent army.

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                              • 20 August 2014 18:56, by Rommel

                                Some of Riek’s supporters quite laughably try to justify Riek’s stupidity by saying that he succeded in getting Khartoum to enshrine the right to self-determination in the ’constitution’. Khartoum doesn’t regard documents, agreements, conventions and constitutions as worthy of compliance in the absence of force. Does it have any regard for the Geneva convention!? Of course it doesn’t...

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                                • 20 August 2014 19:01, by Rommel

                                  .. So what makes you people think that Khartoum would regard the KPA with even a smidgen of sanctity!? Riek is a third rate warlord. They played that fool like a banjo. He was trapped. He couldn’t do anything without their approval. He needed Khartoum to supply him with platforms, weapons, ammunition, fuel, food-relief... everything!

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                                  • 20 August 2014 19:02, by Rommel

                                    The fact that Khartoum feigned sincerity when it enshrined the right to Self-Determination in the Constitution speaks volume of their cunning and political skill... and of their ability to manipulate the stupid, the naive and the myopic. Khartoum had no intention of honoring these commitments, especially when it was they that armed, fed and provided Riek’s forces with logistical support.

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                                    • 20 August 2014 19:04, by Rommel

                                      Every tenant of the KPA was dishonored. Riek was promised control of the oilfields; Riek was promised a referendum; Riek was promised respect as an equal... but Riek didn’t get any of these, did he now? The KPA had security arrangement weakness, just like the Addis Ababa agreement.

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                                      • 20 August 2014 19:13, by Rommel

                                        The fact that James Gatdet Dak argues that Riek succeeded even when he failed miserably, exposes his sheer desperation. Riek is a mass murderer, responsible for the deaths of close to 30, 000 civilians. The fact that Riek can speak of human rights after having murdered so many people must mean that he is a sociopath, or mentally disturbed at the very least.

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                                        • 20 August 2014 19:22, by Rommel

                                          Riek was a zonal commander. He never put his life in harms way. Riek was never a field commander, let alone one of our best. Riek lost virtually every battle against the enemy. He lost in the battle of Bom Adol; he lost at Biem Alony; he lost at Panthur Diaar; he lost trying to take Pariang town; he lost in the Battle of Yoi. Riek also lost in Tharkuer, Wiinaam and Ayod.

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                                          • 20 August 2014 19:22, by Rommel

                                            When Riek finally won a battle —- the battle for Mayom in 1987, he only achieved this with the help of the then Bhar el Ghazel zonal Commander, Daniel Awet Akot and his forces... and when Akot’s forces left for Bahr el Ghazal, Riek somehow lost Mayom just 24 hours, later. The only town that Riek was able to capture on his own was Melut town in 1989.

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                                            • 20 August 2014 19:38, by Rommel

                                              Riek had no hand in the CPA. He was permitted to return by Dr. John Garang out of grace. He was insignificant when he returned. He had very few troops, and returned a dejected man, after Khartoum disregarded every tenant of the pathetic agreement (s) that he signed with them.

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  • 20 August 2014 09:17, by Marco Bul

    1997 KPA was thrown in the dustbin by Omar.Lol.
    Riek has never achieved anything EXCEPT division of tribes.
    He has blown his chance.He was almost forgiven but due to his Ngundengism,he mobilised foolish Lou to bring him to power.Lol.
    Let’s wait and see.He will stay in Addis till Jesus come if he want to fight

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    • 20 August 2014 09:46, by angunliach

      Hey South Sudanese stop lies, Machar never been a liberator since he was born, stop telling people that Machar is a liberator, fighting for your own interest and tribe doesn’t mean liberation completely. stop it now and give him a name "killer", a man who use his people as a ladder that never succeed.

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  • 20 August 2014 09:51, by Ankh

    There will never be dictatorship in South Sudan thanks to Riek Machar. Salva Kiir and SPLM-Juba will be kicked out soon and a new nation will emerge. Thanks to Riek.

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  • 20 August 2014 10:27, by Andrew Ojok

    Ebola Riek we know the history of you but we forgot due for self-determination from Sudan and you still exist to Sudan againt for what last time you should learn about 91 defection lead by you and co founder kuacnyinbol and willi nyuon bany I wish if their wisdom remain in the south Riek will left against to the land of ellien.

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  • 20 August 2014 13:39, by Dengic

    Mr. Dak,bitterness of the past can only be forgotten if Machar is died. You claimed that Machar was one of successful field commander during liberation,can you tell your readers the town he captured when he was deployed in Eastern and Western Upper Nile.. We all know the history. Every south Sudanese know what Machar’s good at,rebellion and nothing else.

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  • 20 August 2014 15:53, by Rambang kolit gai

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