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Opinion — Luck might not be in General Kuol Manyang’s favor this time as it was 16 years ago. Many people do not know the drama that followed late Dr. Garang’s death and the subsequent need to look for a replacement among the SPLM senior commanders and politicians at that time.
Since Garang’s death was unprecedented, the decision to get a perfect successor was not easier to make. It nearly created a rift among the SPLM senior members who had gathered at New-site to look for a replacement. Fortunately, there was a clear line of command created and developed over years by the late chairman. Any sensible comrade could have understood who was to be the replacement when the chairman position felt vacant.
At the eve of confusion, Gen. Kuol Manyang bravely stood his ground by calling out General Salva Kiir Mayardit, whom he ordered to sit on the empty chair that would signify the official taking over of the throne left vacant by late Garang. A huge round of applause ensued soon as Kiir sat on the chair, indicating the approval of his nomination by the majority of the senior commanders who had then converged to nominate a successor. Kuol Manyang’s role could not be underestimated. Had he not decisively come out and called on Kiir to sit on the chair, there might have been some chaos, feared to derail the cause of the movement. Thanks to General Kuol!
The role of Kuol Manyang in today’s government under his choice
Kuol Manyang has changed for the worse. He is not the same incorrupt man, known to many during the liberation days. His level of corrupt malpractices has surpassed corruption lords and could be beyond comprehension in the truest sense of the word. Look at the few cases and draw up judgement.
Kuol Manyang registered corruption cases with evidence
When Kuol was the minister of Defense, he did not care or fear anyone. He was involved in unimaginable and monstrous financial discrepancies, embezzlement and corruption massively without shame and remorse, being that he was an SPLA senior commander who equally participated in bringing Salva Kiir to Presidency.
• The Eagle House sitting at the heart of Bilpham Military General Head-quarter’s construction cost was inflated from 24million to 48 million USD by Kuol Manyang. When the Eagle house was constructed Kuol Manyang jumped the cost of construction from 24million USD by doubling it to 48million USD. When a senior army officer, who was assigned to draw up the cost estimation complained, he was dismissed from the senior command tier and given a lesser job not commensurate with his rank. I may not mention the name of that commander, but he knows himself. He is still active though brushed aside by the corrupt lords.
• This 48 million USD contract was done outside the parliamentary approval. Neither were right procurement and logistics procedures followed nor were the legal financial acts regulations considered. Kuol took the money, owned and misappropriated it as he wanted in the name of being a senior and untouchable senior commander.
• Kuol designed another deal for the construction of a military Air-base at Bilpham General Head-quarter, which he roughly estimated at 309,005,787 USD or just say $309 million. In a nutshell, he picked a company belonging to his daughter and misappropriated funds. If he had used a lot in the airbase construction, it could not exceed 5 million USD. He bypassed the legal procurement procedures as he did with the Eagle House construction. He went away with a huge chunk of hard currencies. No one asked or questioned him. He ate all the money and was yawning for more. Testimony to this truth is that there is no Airbase as I write this article, but he has taken the money.
• Kuol Manyang deliberately corrupted procurement processes in Bilpam without anyone questioning him. He authorized and signed multi million contracts related to the purchase of military food items – contracts that were inflated beyond reasonable market price in the whole of East Africa. For example, one bag of maize flour was quoted over $700.
Kuol Manyang as minister and later senior presidential advisor and ONE BIG assignment he failed to deliver on
Sometime in 2018, there was a looming rumor that former President Omer Bashir was being ousted in months ahead that year. Kuol was called by the government under the auspice of President Kiir to organize and unite the faction leaders of all rebel groups fighting the Sudanese government in preparation for any potential future peace talks. The objective was to have them develop a common consensus, unified and working negotiating position with any potential incoming leadership in Sudan. Kuol immediately agreed to nurse the process since he was an old comrade to people like General Malik Agaar and General Adam Al Hilu.
The president of the Republic Salva Kiir Mayardit in good faith ordered the Finance ministry to allocate 1.5 million USD for kick-starting that project. Kuol received the 1.5 million USD and kept quiet with it. Months passed and there was nothing to show or inform of a report or feedback on the assignment. When asked what he had done with the money, and what progress was happening, he unashamedly lied to the president that he had built a conference building with the money, which conference building he would fail to show to the committee when he was grilled to lead them there.
The president asked Tut Kew to look into the matter after Kuol Manyang had eaten the money and failed to account for it. Hon. Tut Gatluak improvised from friends some money which he used to kick start the peace process, bringing all factions including the Darfur to Juba and that was the kind of peace negotiation you witnessed in Juba. Tut started without a single coin from the government although he was backed up by the government and international community later in terms of funding.
With these few cases and others to come with details, Kuol Manyang is right to say he and his other friends and cronies have failed not only the president or South Sudanese but the government and SPLM party. President Salva KIir Mayardit is not corrupt. Him and his cronies, who have in the recent past been ganging up as SPLM senior comrades should resign silently other than investing in noisemaking by unnecessarily accusing President Kiir for what are their visible failures.
The claim by Kuol Manyang that he alone managed that time to install the President is unreasonable. It was not his own effort, but all contributed. There was no other candidate who was in possession of President Kiir’s cards to replace late Garang. If he is wanting to install Nhial Deng Nhial in the same way he thinks he did the first one, he is dreaming of an impossible possibility. We are a nation, governed through democratic principles. We choose our leaders in elections not hand-picking.
If he wants Nhial Deng Nhial to be president, he should advise him to form a party, and make him its chairman. Who should meet with President Kiir at the ballot boxes in 2023. Nhial Deng Nhial is not wise at all. Why did he fail to notice the grain of confusion in the background of games by his team? How could he think, their agenda would go through at the platform afforded him generously by president Salva Kiir Mayardit? Is this not like committing an adultery with the wife of a host? Kiir hosted Nhial and Nhial is caught conspiring to unseat Kiir, god must be crazy!
The author is a concerned South Sudanese and can be reached via his Email at at email@example.com
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