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Sunday, August 28, 2016

TABAN DENG GAI SHOULD UNITE THE NUER FIRST

While Taban ascendancy to the post of FVP was a sinister scheme, his good working relationship with President Kiir is proving to be a dilemma for IGAD. He speaks of peace and renunciation of violence. While we know those are empty rhetorics, his words are politically efficient when it comes to their effect on regional countries and the international community. The international community only cares about PEACE in South Sudan regardless of who brings that peace.
This is going to be an uphill battle for Riek Machar as the odds are stacked against making him irrelevant politically. Taban has abandoned ARCISS. There's no, in principle, IO in Juba but SPLM. However, Taban's amplification of his call for PEACE and RENUNCIATION of violence is playing into the ears of peace partners. What he doesn't know is that his task is HARDER AND BIGGER than he realizes. The needless death that occurred between Lou Nuer and Jikany in the early 1990s because of Riek inefficiency shouldn't be allowed to happen again. Taban has a better chance of assuaging feelings in the country between Jieeng and Nuer if he succeeds in uniting the Nuer.

The major problem with Taban and his SPLM backers is to avoid dividing the Nuer and pitting them against one another. A divided Nuer, no matter how good Taban's working relationship is with President Kiir is, poses a real obstacle to peace and security in South Sudan. The unity of Nuer and South Sudanese can't be simply wished to happen by making Riek irrelevant. It needs a strategy that can bring reconciliation and healing.This is where Riek Machar and his supporters are very important. To dismiss Riek Machar as irrelevant or to ask him to quit politics and return to Juba as a 'normal' citizen without the cooperation of both Riek and his supporters is foolhardy. It's to brood another future conflict while calling for temporary peace.

Taban assumed Riek's position as a place-holder only to find the temptation of power too SWEET to leave. But if Taban appeases the angry Nuer by doing grassroots mobilizations without using money to buy support or use intimidation as he's currently doing in Juba, then his chances of bringing peace to South Sudan would be great. ARCISS was forced by IGAD and that's what brought its collapse. obviously, IGAD didn't create a good working relationship between Riek and Kiir.
Taban should, therefore, understand that bottled-up feelings are a crisis postponed. It's therefore important for Taban to start uniting the Nuer before uniting South Sudanese. Taban-engendered unity of Nuer is a precursor to the unity of South Sudanese and the advent of peace in South Sudan. Otherwise, Taban is only making things worse.