South Sudan

Taban Deng Moves to Woo Machar’s Generals

Gen Taban Deng

The contentiously appointed First Vice President of South Sudan Gen. Taban Deng Gai has made his first open move to woo to his side the SPLA In Opposition generals and fighters.

On Thursday Gen. Deng who is currently in Machar’s seat, treat dispatched the first opposition general to pay allegiance to him, Karlo Ruai Kuol to oil the richest Unity State on a mission to entice other commanders
and regular combatants to defect from the force’s founder leader Dr. Riek Machar to the former’s side.

A group of SPLA-IO leaders consisting of 4 ministers recently appointed Taban to replace Machar who has been missing since the beginning of this month.

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The replacement was effected by President Slava Kiir who subsequently passed a decree confirming Taban as the First Vice President of unstable nation.

The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee Chairman, Festus Mogae mentioned this week in Juba that it’s the gun but not reasoning that wields the power in South Sudan.

Therefore Taban still has to get close to those holding guns in the SPLA-IO for him to be seen as the leader of the group.

Machar’s allies have already accused Taban of working for Kiir and Machar had “dismissed” him both from the ministerial position and the SPLA-IO membership before he was contentiously appointed the First Vice President.

According to sources in his camp, Gen. Taban who has the “political instruments of power” now only has to secure the support of the generals and their followers.

“In the South Sudan administration Gen. Taban already has the instruments of power by the virtue of being appointed the First Vice President. The remaining thing is the support from our commanders and
their big combatants,” a source said.

The first move is strategic since Unity is one of the three states dominated by the SPLA-IO forces. Since the beginning of the unrest in South Sudan in December 2013, the defected SPLA fighters who
joined Machar and formed the SPLA-IO moved to Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states.

Taban was the Governor of Unity State before defecting from Kiir to Machar in December 2013. His defection significantly helped in nurturing the SPLA-IO that had no single army but simply emerged from
deserted SPLA soldiers.

Gen. Karlo (sent by Taban) has reportedly met several SPLA-IO communities in the oil rich state with a single message of joining the “new” First Vice President.


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