Opinion: President Kiir risks a lot with firing King Malong!
Today, there we’re a shocking news from Juba. As the SPLM/A and the President Salva Kiir Mayardiit who ordered through Presidential decree to sack his Chief of General Staff in the SPLA. That means the Army chief has been sacked in midst of civil-war, as the rising rebellions not only of SPLM/A-IO, but all the other rebels who works to dismantle the government of the President. Therefore this should be not seen as strengthening the Central Government, but more how fragile the powers of the President is at the moment.
“President Kiir has fired Lt. General Paul Malong Awan from his position as the Chief of General Staff of the national army SPLA. Through Presidential Decree number 77/2017 he appointed General James Ajongo Mawut as bus replacement. General James Ajongo has been promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant General and will assume office tomorrow. He served as the Deputy Chief of Staff in Charge of Administration under 1st Lt Gen. Paul Malong” (The National Courier, 09.05.2017).
SSNA reported this tonight:
“Tension is very high here in Juba as soldiers loyal to President are deployed on Juba streets and plainclothes national security agents drive in and around the capital telling people to go inside their houses. The South Sudan News Agency has been told by a senior government official that any politician from Aweil community suspected of being a supporter of the sacked army General has been detained. The official added that nobody knows what will happen as factions of the SPLA loyal to Awan have also blocked roads leading to Awan’s residence, warning, “If he [Awan] refuses to surrender his power peacefully, then Juba could burn.” (SSNA, 09.05.2017).
Truly, the consequences of this move isn’t certain, the motives behind it, if it was giving away guns to Dinka’s, the rumors in late April of a coup against the President. The son of the General who used stashed away government monies in Las Vegas and buying luxurious cars. The reason of fear of rising star and capabilities as General, could also be play the President saw. As he has seen people rise and get ambitions. Therefore, the reason for the sacking isn’t certain, what this can end in, are unsure, but certainly not create more stability. Something the youngest Republic needs. The Sacking will only create more uncertainty as soldiers are loyal to him and maybe not to President Kiir. So who knows what these soldiers might do or whose orders that matters the most? Will they fall in line of Kiir or will they follow Gen. Malong? Will these become rebels or will they still be part of SPLA?
How this plays out and what is President Kiir’s plan with this actions, that is only in his mind. We can only know that he appointed someone else from the same area. But not the knowledge of what intelligence and reasons for the sudden sacking. If it was for his threats to the Governors of States, who still was stationed in Juba, instead of the State Headquarters. It is not easily to know. What we do know is that this has created tensions in the capitol and the end-game will play out over the next few days. Peace.