How SG Pagan Amum Ignited The South Sudan Conflict And Remains A Saint
By Deng Elijah,
July 29, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — Quiet to the expectation of both the South Sudanese nationals and the international community, the current conflict in the Republic of South Sudan has been dubbed as a power struggle within the founding presidency between Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar Teny. To other international observers, media, and some Africans the conflict is just another “African civil war” between the two major tribes rallying behind their main political protagonists. Established on the earlier splits within the SPLM/A, though on ideological differences, and buttressed with cautiously curtailed historical evidence, the two predominant theories would have solid justifications, however, these perspectives are not the root causes of the conflict.
Although tribal polarization and political difference are major components in this conflict, the root causes of the conflict are integral in inimical foundation of the bloodthirsty SPLM party. Vividly aware of this callous attitude of the SPLM leadership since its formation in 1983, the tripartite delegates, representing the then three factions of SPLM, superficially accepted responsibility for the conflict in Arusha, Tanzania.
In addition, the chairman and the first vice chairman of SPLM party, Mr. Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, who are also the main principles of the two main warring factions, by default, are guilty of failures of SPLM party and the war until proven innocent. So far, neither Dr. Machar nor Mr. Kiir has tried to vigorously deny his responsibility in the current conflict, however and quite to the contrary, one man who has been the captain of the sinking SPLM boat is trying so hard to be “clean” and to be seen as the “savior” of his embattled colleagues, the party and the country.
The essence of this article, as corroborated in the subsequent paragraphs, is to demonstrate that the Secretary General, Mr. Pagan Amum, ignited this conflict and should therefore be deemed responsible for the SPLM crises that triggered the conflict on 15th December 2013. Nevertheless, as a presidential aspirant, Pagan is part and parcel of power struggle. Whether Mr. Amum, is “neutral”, “clean”, “born again” or a “Savior”, as he yarns to be judged by the citizens, would only be determined by a genuine intra-party investigation and an independent court of law.
How Pagan Brewed the Conflict Within the SPLM party:
Since his joining of SPLM/A, Mr. Pagan has been absorbed in the cruel and fatal internal conflicts within the party for which he is believed to have narrowly escaped death, and as well executed or participated in execution of some of his colleagues before the then Chairman, Dr. John Garang, rescued him from the grave. As one of his victims, Hon. Aleu Ayieny Aleu, revealed in his 2008 retaliatory testimony, Pagan participated in the execution of his comrade, late Lakurnyang Lado, the chairman of the Front for the Liberation of South Sudan, who was detained and publicly executed by his colleagues. Hon Aleu further elaborates how Pagan survived death plot that is believed to have inflicted devastating wounds on his political and personality cult.
“Comrade Pagan, you know who forced you to participate in the execution of your best friend and co-terrorist late Lakurnyang, you know who wanted to killed you when you were deployed to Jamus Battalion and how Dr John rescued you and exiled you to Bahr el Ghazal away from your enemies, you know very well who waylaid you between Gambella and Itang and shot your vital parts into smithereens inflicting in to you a body damage belief to be responsible for your traumatic behaviors. Dr John had to send you back to Cuba for several years and you only had to come back after you were assured that all your enemies are either dead or have deserted the movement. How come you forgot all the injustice you suffered simply because you became the SPLM Secretary General? You should be the last person on earth to conspire against others if you really have memories of what is human and what is inhuman.” Aleu Ayieny Aleu
Upon his “holly” return from Cuba, thought to have gained military, social and educational experience — thanks to Dr. Garang — Pagan was appointed the Secretary General of the party, perhaps to improve his chances of survival within the rebel movement that claims its sons; however, as his colleagues would say, Mr. Pagan learned very little. Instead of reconciling and steering the party forwards as a whole, Pagan adopted pet-loyalty to the family of Dr. John Garang and became the centre of what was later known as “Garang Boys”. Due to a mixed of cult loyalty and trepidation, Pagan became a rubber stamp of the then chairman, something Mr. Kiir has wished to have inherit after the fateful dismissal of Dr. Garang.
Due to inferiority indoctrination, the “Garang Boy” remained a boy despite that he held the most powerful position, the Secretary General of the party, at his fingertips. Pagan Instead succumbed to yes-manning syndrome, which directly and indirectly, nurtured the dictatorial tendencies within the socialism-fostered SPLM party.
To Garang, Pagan might have been a liability due to his reckless behaviors, but consistence to his quest to rule through decentralized systems, Garang had to surround himself with gullible politicians from other tribes, whom he could easily indoctrinate to any level of his satisfaction to ensure that he maintained his vision and secured his thrown. After the ultimate death of Dr. John, all these inexperienced politicians, who managed to outwit most of the competitive politicians, found themselves in positions of power that in a blink of an eye they corrupted and mismanaged to the core.
By 2008, as Aleu further reveals, in an attempt to collaborate with the weak and incompetence Salva Kiir, who was struggling to fit in the big shoes of Dr. Garang, Pagan spotted many weaknesses in his direly vulnerable chairman, and without hesitation he exploited the most powerful man to his advantage!
Pagan managed to remote control Mr. Kiir to eliminate most of his political rivals and as a result elevated himself to prominent positions with bright legacies such as a the “Minister of Peace”, and the “Chief Negotiator of CPA”, which he imminently stripped off from Dr. Riek Machar at the crossroad in 2010.
To set up Dr. Machar, the cheap propaganda was that Dr. Riek would claim credits for implementation of CPA, a duty for which he abundantly sacrificed for from 2005 to 2010, including the Abyei Protocol  on top of his famous call for Self-determination and independent of South Sudan. Like contesting for SPLM chairmanship and presidency, this was a serious internal power struggle – who should claim credits for implementation of CPA? – but Machar downplayed it, perhaps, to ensure that the overall objective was achieved.
Two other renowned politicians, Hon. Aleu Ayiey Aleu, the former minister of interior, and Hon. Telar Ring Deng, the former Presidential Legal Affairs advisor, publicly refused to be bullied and rehabilitated. Instead they opted to fight to their last breath.
“My alleged permanent suspension together with Cde Talar Ring Deng is the beginning of your Stalinism and the rein of terror in the SPLM. Few days ago you again manipulated the Chairman to dismiss Cde Monoah Aligo the elected chairman of the SPLM Caucus in the National Assembly for no apparent reason. These illegal dismissals of very senior members of the SPLM by the SPLM Chairman prompted Governor Samuel Abu John of Western Equatoria State to also summarily dismiss five legislators from the State Assembly! (God save SPLM.)” Aleu Ayieny, Dear Pagan Amum 
“I warn all of you the communists behind my unwarranted humiliation that I will not take this insult lying down nor do I have the intention to be exonerated, absolved and rehabilitated posthumously. Who ever is pushing people to the corner or to wrong camp which is not of their own choice is doing it at his own peril and the peril of the SPLM” Aleu Ayieny Aleu
While Aleu took on Pagan, Telar took it upon himself to dustbin any little legacy that Salva Kiir might have gathered, and went on to expose Mr. President as a corrupt dictator and the likes. To cover up his dirty linen, Kiir had to promptly reinstate the duo in the party and later rewarded them positions in his government. As promised, both Aleu and Telar never settle until they grabbed the remote, humiliate Pagan and consequently drove the country to a brutal civil war that is now marked by massacres of civilians, rapes, abductions of children and large scale violations of human right and war crimes.
By July 2013, the power beasts, Hon. Telar Ring Deng and Aleu Ayieny Aleu, elevated themselves to powerful ministerial positions, the Minister of Justice and Interior, presumably to lead political prosecutions of their opponents starting with Cde Pagan Amum and other outspoken reformists should the December 15th terrorization have succeeded. As Makuei Lueth, the Minister of Information and Government Spokesman, later revealed, the main political targets, including Pagan Amum, would have been “hanged by the neck until they die”.
Being a common enemy to the would have been untouchable ruling tyrants [Kiir, Telar, Aleu, Kuol and Malong], Pagan would have been publicly and ruthlessly prosecuted before Dr. Riek Machar and other reformists given that he lacks popular support from his fragmented Chollo Community or any other known military camp within the country. Executing him before his colleagues would also have been a fair justification to tame other communities, such as Nuer and sections of Dinka community, who would resist any attempt prosecution on their sons and daughters.
Despite that Pagan came out of prison, four months later, only to despise the death of Nuer civilians and SPLA fighters, who vigorously fought for his safe release; he owes so much to the communities and colleagues that he betrayed.
Personality Cult, Power Hungry, Loyalty Vs. Patriotism
Upon his release, Pagan tried so hard to downplay the conflict and quickly forgotten that the December 15th, marked by massacres of tens of thousands of Nuer civilians and subsequent retaliations, was triggered by the historic December 6th Conference that was presided over by none other than Pagan himself. Without the December 6th Conference and many other internal pressures on the under-covered military president, Salva Kiir, including the 12 calls for convention of SPLM’s National Liberation Council and politburo meetings by Pagan, and his attempt to sue Salva Kiir in the court of law for infringing his rights and freedoms in July 2013, the hell wouldn’t have broken loose on December 15th, 2013. Perhaps the conflict would have broken out the following year  or during the first elections in 2015!
As the conflict escalates, the egocentric Secretary General distanced himself from the conflict, blaming it on Dr. Riek Machar, Salva Kiir and the two main tribes, the Nuer and the Dinka. Interestingly, Pagan set up his negotiation committee, led by Cde Deng Alor and John Luke Joak, and instead relieved himself to further his education and to visit part of his family in the United State of America. Pagan successfully graduated with a MA in Transformational Leadership and Change from the University of Greenwick-UK earlier this year, and promptly got reinstated into his previous position at the expense of some of his colleagues, who remain stranded in exile.
Notwithstanding that the reinstatement of Pagan came at the expense of members of former detainees, a number of government officials, specially the main rivals lost their jobs, silently humiliated and demoralized. While Telar Ring Deng has been officially exiled to Moscow, Russia, the main opponent, Aleu Ayieny Aleu has lost his job. Outspoken spokesmen like Malaak Ayuen were also distanced from the media as Micheal Makuei Lueth rested helplessly on his hospital bed in Nairobi. In addition, many decrees were issued by Kiir. All these did not coincidentally happen but strategically calculated to attract the former Prisoners, specially the two prominent sons of Chollo, Mr. Pagan and Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak, given the twist of allegiance and hostilities at their backyards in Upper Nile State.
This shows beyond reasonable doubts that the conflict has manifestations of self-interests, power and political illusions from among the elites, and specially Pagan who sees himself as an ordained alternative to Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
In sum, Pagan does not accept responsibilities, and despite that he yarns to lead, a leader who despises responsibilities does not deserve them. Based on the history and current events, Pagan is not honest and consistence. He neither has the people nor the nation at heart, and without collaboration and strategic alliances, his political career is deemed to short-live. His recent return to reclaim his previous position has very little to the claims of SPLM Reunification or Arusha Agreement, as it is well vividly stipulated in the Intra-Party Agreement [Jan 2015] that the party reunification document is not comprehensive but complementary to the IGAD-Plus Peace Outcome.
The author of this article, Deng Elijah, can be reached for comments at dengsimon2000 at yahoo dot com.