Articles and Analysies
What's Rebecca Nyandeng up to: Next President of GOSS? By Tut Gatwech, South Sudan,
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Aug 16, 2008 - 8:49:43 AM

What's Rebecca Nyandeng up to: Next President of GOSS?


By Tut Gatwech, South Sudan,


14th August 2008 – The widow of the late Chairperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and current Government of Southern Sudan’s Presidential Advisor on Gender and Human Rights Affairs, Rebecca Nyandeng, has recently stepped up her hunt to politically character assassinate leaders who have become her selected targets.


In her recent appearance and comments before the Southern Sudan parliament after disappearing from Juba for almost three months, Rebecca Nyandeng did not hesitate to attack the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, according to the news published by the Sudan Tribune newspaper on Wednesday, which copy I obtained.

Nyandeng accused the Vice President of what she thought amounted to ‘corruption’ because, according to her own words, the Vice President one time ordered her to issue a business license to Roads Construction Company in Juba when she was still the Minister of Roads and Transport, but she refused. Nyandeng also attacked the Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, Justice Michael Makuei Lueth for issuing business licenses to Companies, but reportedly apologized to Makuei a few minutes later in the Parliament.


Nyandeng also accused the whole Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) of doing the opposite of her husband’s vision of ‘taking towns to the people’. She concluded by saying that the “South Sudan we were fighting for is not the South Sudan coming up now.” Really!


The question that comes to my mind is what is Rebecca Nyandeng after in choosing to accuse her Party’s senior member in the Parliament on something that might not really amount to a clear evidence of corruption?


First of all, Nyandeng could have been fair enough to condemn her own very well known corrupt practices before desperately attempting to assassinate political characters of other leaders. She was known for allegedly misappropriating up to 30 million US dollars when she was the Minister of Roads and Transport, which made her to lose the job last year and was shifted to an advisory role to survive on for the sake of her orphans.


Nyandeng allegedly brought a construction company (name withheld), in which she was a shareholder, to construct the roads and nothing happened with Juba roads let alone the other parts of Southern Sudan until David Deng Athorbei took over. This corruption scandal became the number two’s most serious corruption scandal after that of former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Arthur Akuen Chol.


"..rumors have been circulating in Juba that Nyandeng wants to compete against Dr. Riek Machar and James Wani Igga as potential candidates for presidency of the south in 2009 elections in the name of "Woman for Presidency."

However, government senior officials including Dr. Riek Machar did not want to publicly embarrass the late Chairman’s widow and decided to remove her quietly from her Ministry.


To me, it is not an evidence of corruption just because the Vice President advised a Minister to work with a certain company. A senior political leader may have bilateral contacts with foreign governments that offer their companies to work in a country as part of promotion of bilateral cooperation. It is up to the Minister concerned to evaluate the performance of such company based on his or her Ministry’s guidelines. He or she may accept or reject that kind of company!


That doesn’t as such amount to corruption and to be made a bold point in a nation’s parliament. May be Machar knew about Nyandeng’s alleged incompetence in choosing a good construction company or even suspected that she would bring a company she was holding shares in like what happened exactly.


If Nyandeng was serious about implementation of her husband’s vision as she has been accusing others of not doing, she should have implemented some part of the vision in her Roads and Transport Ministry. Probably she was put there in the first place to open up roads to the people in the villages in order to transport towns to the villages. Without roads, it would be difficult to take towns to the people! She terribly failed to implement the very vision of her husband in her Ministry.


I used to read her justification for failure in the media blaming insecurity, lands mines, lack of construction equipment, etc. Well, even late Garang predicted that the implementation of his ambitious vision would be very challenging. This vision of taking towns to people is not a revolution, but a common vision of every body but challenges do not allow for its implementation now!


Nyandeng also twisted the vision of her husband or just say misinterpreted it when she claimed that her husband was fighting for South Sudan. I thought he was fighting for “Socialist New Sudan” since 1983, and then turned 'United Secular New Sudan’ in 1990s.


It would be good news for separatists like myself if that was his vision as unveiled by Nyandeng. It would be an excellent U turn from the vision influenced by the ‘inferiority complex’ idea that South Sudan could not become a viable independent sovereign nation unless it is part and parcel of the rest of the Sudan.


Now the other specific question is why Nyandeng has selected Dr. Machar and Makuei Lueth as her targets for now.


The Sudan Tribune on the same day of her accusations also reported that rumors have been circulating in Juba that Nyandeng wants to compete against Dr. Riek Machar and James Wani Igga as potential candidates for the Presidency in the South in 2009 elections in the name of “woman for   Presidency”.


Probably she was trying to demonize Dr. Machar, the would-be potential candidate in the eyes of the public. Nyandeng also probably attacked Michael Makuei Lueth, the most influential figure in the Bor Community and the Community’s Chairperson, in this particular time, to try to look more cleaner than Makuei in the Community in search of her Bor community’s approval.


Nyandeng should have honestly assessed the situation in Southern Sudan whether the people of Southern Sudan are ready to elect an incompetent unionist and communist-oriented woman to lead the people of Southern Sudan to the difficult times of referendum ahead of us in 2011.


If the women are ready to contest for the highest post in the South, to me Nyandeng should have instead encouraged Dr. Ann Itto, the current SPLM Deputy Chairperson for Southern Sector and the most senior woman in the present leadership hierarchy of the SPLM to contest for the seat. Dr. Itto is a more qualified woman than that of Nyandeng, etc!


Nyandengdit shouldn’t mistakenly believe that because late Dr. Garang was a capable leader means she too as wife be automatically become capable of commanding this complex political situation in the country.


I also pity Salva Kiir Mayardit who allows junior party members to seriously accuse his senior colleagues without any disciplinary measures against such rogue personalities. Kiir may mistakenly believe that attacking his senior colleagues whom he fears politically means helping him to get rid of them.


The Vice President was attacked by the current Unity state governor, Taban Deng and no party’s disciplinary measures were taken against Taban. But when somebody Kiir thought was his ally, Pagan Amum, was accused by Telar Deng, a junior Party member, Kiir jumped up and dismissed Telar from the Party.


Now this is what Nyandeng has dared to repeat expecting Kiir to just remain silent because it is Machar being accused. Is this a political Party or what?



The author is a South Sudanese ordinary citizen living in South Sudan and can be reached at: [email protected]

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