South Sudan

Machar: I’m Not A rebel, Kiir Is Illegitimate

sildenafil sans-serif; color: #292f33; background-color: #f5f8fa; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;”>Appearing on the BBCsearch sans-serif; color: #292f33; background-color: #f5f8fa; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;”>, Machar clarified that there was no coup in south sudan as alleged by President Salva Kiir and cannot be blamed for the subsequent events.

“I am not a rebel; first of all there was no coup. There was a fight amongst soldiers after Kiir had earlier on ignored their advise.”

He further explained that he knew “Kiir was going to arrest me among others and I slipped away”.

“I shouldn’t be blamed for this war. I never started the war but it was started by the circumstances that happened in Juba. I was on the run…I am the victim. Why should I apologise?…that I have been victimised?

He said as a “Vice President, I did whatever I did and I am satisfied with it.”


In an interesting turn of events, he labelled President Kiir “illegitimate because he is destroying Southern Sudan. He is killing Southern Sudanese”.

Both guilty of war crimes

Without rushing to conclusions, focus should be put on the recent UNMISS Human Rights Violations report which indicated that both sides (government and rebels) had committed crimes against civilians.

The report indicates that under the command of Maj Gen James Koang, rebels massacred more than 200 civilians in Bentiu, while Gen Gathoth Gatkouth led rebels to rape and murder people in Malakal, Upper Nile State.

Another rebel Maj Gen Peter Gatdet is currently under sanctions at the hands of the US government (mistakenly for Bentiu instead of Bor massacres).

Gen Gatdet is responsible for the death and displacement of civilians in Bor, Jonglei State as well as Upper Nile state where he has been operating ever since the South Sudan war broke out.

SPLA, according to UNMISS report, raped everything female, killed and displaced the whole of Leer county where Machar hails from.

SPLA is also accused of staging the Bor UN camp raid that left more than 70 dead and many more hospitalised.

Furthermore, SPLA is accused of orchestrating the Mapel massacre of more than 200 Nuer trainees and their families in Bahr el Ghazal State.

Not to forget the over 300 Juba massacre masterminded by Kiir’s Chief Guard Major General Marial Chanuong Yol.

Kiir, illegitimate?

It should be remembered that during last week’s signing of a ceasefire agreement between the two leaders, President Salva Kiir made it clear that he was not in Ethiopia to “negotiate with an equal” but to ensure peace in his country.

“I want to assure you that the party and army I’m leading will implement this agreement without fail,” he told mediators.

He, however, hastily observed that, “I’m not here to respond to what my brother here has said. I’m here to sign the peace agreement”.

“I don’t want to talk about a coup or no coup – but a gun doesn’t fire itself,” he responded to Machar’s claim that he never stage a coup in December 2013.

“I cannot let my people continue bleeding,” Kiir pursued, adding, “I am the president and responsible for all the people of South Sudan.”

Power struggle

Recently, the UN secretary General, Ban Ki-moon revealed that the problem with South Sudan was a “senseless” power struggle between Kiir and Machar.

He clarified that if the two chose not to engage in “useless” rivalry, South Sudan would have peace.

Machar revealed in an interview that he too wants the guns to go silent so that “we set up a transition government and we go to elections”.

Yet, Kiir a few days back, postponed elections from 2015 to a date yet to be communicated citing the need to first reconcile the people.

Worth noting, Kiir clarified that the problem was that Machar wanted to be the president of the interim government and probably the reason he hastily accepted peace talks and is very busy pushing for the said government.

For the time being, it is not yet clear why the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, threatened to arrest the two leaders unless they agreed to sign the peace deal.

It should be remembered that while visiting Juba not long ago, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, assured Machar that he should not think himself Kiir’s equal because the latter is an elected president while the former is “a rebel”.

This revelation draws a blurred picture of whether Machar will be allowed to lead the interim government as Kiir alleges.

Machar’s brief background

Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, born 1953, is a South Sudanese politician who was Vice President of South Sudan from its independence in 2011 until his dismissal in 2013.

Machar obtained a PhD in mechanical engineering in 1984 and then joined the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army(SPLM/A) during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983–2005).

Riek fell out with the SPLM/A leader John Garang in 1991 and formed a splinter group, the SPLM/A-Nasir.

In 1997 Riek made a treaty with the Government of Sudan and became head of the government-backed South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF).

In 2000 he left the SSDF and formed a new militia, the Sudan People’s Defence Forces/Democratic Front (SPDF), and in 2002 rejoined the SPLA as a senior commander.

After the death of John Garang in July 2005, Riek Machar became vice-president of the autonomous Southern Sudan.

He became vice-president of South Sudan on July 9, 2011 when the country became independent, but was dismissed from office by President Salva Kiir Mayardit on July 23, 2013.

On December 15, 2013, Kiir and Machar disagreed in an SPLM meeting resulting into an alleged coup attempt and a war which has raged ever since killing hundreds and displacing many more.

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