Dinka elders strike deal with ex-army chief to not rebel


President Salva Kiir tours Juba streets accompanied with SPLA chief of Staff Paul Malong, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth and his Spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny on 12 October 2016 (Photo Jok Solomun Anyang)

January 12, 2018 (JUBA) – Prominent personalities and the members of the Jieng (Dinka) Council of elders in South Sudan have reached a deal with the former army chief of staff, Paul Malong not to rebel against the government under the leadership of President Salva Kiir.

The new deal, according to the mediation team, will allow the government to not treat former chief of staff Paul Malong Awan as a rebel as he was declared on Monday. It demands him to cease involving himself in any subversive activities that the government would interpret and equate them to rebellion.

The deal further demands the two sides, the government and Awan, to cease all sorts of hostilities including social media and all forms of the negative media campaign.

The president, in particular, has assured ex-army chief to take into consideration some of his grievances within the shortest time possible. One of the assurances, according to a source privy to mediation, is that none of the properties owned by Awan and his family members either in Juba or elsewhere, including those in the village will be confiscated.

His family members and associates still serving in the army and government will not be persecuted on the basis of connection to him before being removed. They will be treated like any other citizen in the country, regardless of their views and association with him.

The South Sudanese leader also expressed readiness to return Awan to the government provided that it is a not precondition for ceasing negative activities against the government.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune on Friday, Joshua Dau, one of the elders and the co-chair of the Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders described the meeting with former chief of staff as fruitful.

“Our mission was fruitful. It was the mission of peace, harmony, unity and stability of the country and General Paul Malong was receptive and showed patriotism, leadership and sense of readiness to work with us to achieve this objective. He listened to us carefully and took the message we delivered to him from the president wholeheartedly,” said Dau.

Dau assured ex-army chief will not rebel, saying they discovered he has such intention.

“They discussions we had with Gen Paul Malong were frank, constructive and we discovered that he has no intention of activities that will harm and affect the national security of the country. So rebellion is out of question. There is no such thing and all the issues he raised are what we will take to the president for him to assess and address them,” said Dau.

“And I am sure the president will address them,” he further said.

Political analysts and keen observers are keen to underscore that the conducts of the former army chief of staff are part of a politically designed scheme aimed at drawing the attention of the president to prompt returning him into the government.

(ST)