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South Sudan army chief of staff cautions soldiers against politics

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The rank of Lt general is pinned on Lt Gen. James Ajong by President Salva Kir, and Vice President James Wani, during the swearing-in ceremony as SPLA general chief of staff on Wednesday 10 May 2017 (ST Photo)
May 26, 2017 (JUBA) - The chief of defence staff of South Sudan’s army has cautioned soldiers against involvement in politics, saying their work was limited to guarding the country and protecting from external threats and harm.

On 10 May, President Salva Kiir removed the former SPLA chief of general staff Paul Malong Awan and sacked a number of generals from their positions in the army command. The purge aimed to consolidate Kiir power, as the intelligence service warned him against the presidential ambitions of his former close ally.

Referring to Awan, the newly appointed General James Ajonga Mawut said the army was not a political institution to protest changes in command.

"When someone is removed from the institution, it is not the institution which is removed. It is the individual and the system remains intact. Changes in command are prerogatives of the president in his capacity as commander in chief, and as soldiers, we comply with orders and implement them," he said in a meeting with senior military officers on Friday.

"We are not politicians and so it is important we do not talk politics. It is not our work. Our work is to defend the constitution, guard the country and protect civilians from external aggression," further said Gen. Mawut.

He assured the army’s loyalty to the constitution and President Salva Kiir in a bid to downplay fears of rifts in the ranks and files, dispelling speculations that the army is split between those protesting the removal and replacement of the former chief of staff.

(ST)

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  • 27 May 2017 05:32, by Mike Mike

    I salute u Chief of defense for the nice meeting and fruitful speech that you gave to those officers by showing them their exact work in the Country.U are right army is not a political institution to involved themselves in political issues. I wish you would have tell them that whoever will be found has involve himself in politics will face serious consequence that will lead to a loss of job/ life.

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    • 27 May 2017 08:47, by Mr Point

      What are the chances that the new chief of staff will stop SPLA soldiers from carrying out after-hours robbery in Juba?

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    • 27 May 2017 11:32, by jubaone

      I don’t know much about CoGS Ajonga Mawut but he sounds professional. I hope he is one of "Garang Boys" of the old SPLA, a little disciplined than the illiterate tribal militias luaknyors who have NO relations with the old SPLA. These luaknyors are Malongs scoundrels and "worms" that must be removed and crushed. A new ethnically diversified is urgently needed.

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  • 27 May 2017 08:56, by Thiep Mawien Thiep

    Well articulated. Our soldiers don’t have right to participate in the politics of the country rather than protecting the country soverignty and constitutions. The y are mandated to remained not affiliated to any political parties.

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  • 27 May 2017 09:26, by Dengda

    That is exact suppose to be work and duties of army to defend country not politicians and closes relative. My suggestion, please try to work hard transform the army, from tribal mind set to nationalism and patriotism, we lost almost all the borders to neighbouring countries, also remove all barrack to the borders or far from capitals, minimised reckless driving intimidation of road users

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  • 27 May 2017 10:26, by Sunday Junup

    The chief of defence staff of South Sudan’s army has cautioned soldiers against involvement in politics,
    He is chief of staff of SPLA not South Sudan army be reminded. That warning is to Malong Awan loyalist, please those who support Malong, watch out or you will be scapegoat to Kiiir Vs Malong

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    • 27 May 2017 11:30, by axle

      I’ve been trying to make sense out of your post but I don’t. Can you say something intelligent next time.

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  • 27 May 2017 13:21, by Garang Akeen Tong

    Uncle chief of Gen. Staff, James Ajonga

    Well said, but politician are the one kiling us, they do play theirs dirty politics, and later we would end up shed our blood as a result of politics,

    How came to desist in politics, while we are dying in politics game?

    My recomandation is to disconnect military with politics.

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  • 27 May 2017 16:50, by Dinka-Defender-General

    Well, we were taught how to be a soldier, politician, and many, many more. Thus, there is no way we are getting out. Don’t worry about the old soldiers. Just teach the newbies because you are wasting your time with us. After we get into politics, no room for retreat.

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