A top general in South Sudan has resigned, accusing President Salva Kiir and the national army leadership of pursuing a tribal agenda in the country.
Lieutenant General Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), is the second highest-ranking officer to resign after Gen Bapiny Monytuil since clashes erupted between government troops and opposition fighters in July last year.
Swaka hails from Equatorial region.
In a six-paged letter dated February 11 and addressed to President Kiir, Gen Swaka accused the president and the SPLA Chief of General Staff Paul Malong of deliberately orchestrating planned violations of the August 2015 peace agreement. It’s these violations, according to Swaka, that caused the resumption of fighting in the capital Juba in July last year.
Gen Swaka in his resignation letter gave 14 reasons why he decided to throw in the towel. He among others accuses the SPLA of planned tribal war in South Sudan and frustration of the peace process by the president and the senior SPLA commanders. He also mentions failure by the president to professionalise the army and instead resorting to forming tribal militia and failure to recognise the sacrifices by the nationals of South Sudan in liberating the country among others.
Swaka says President Kiir and what he called his Dinka leadership clique have tactically and systematically transformed the SPLA into a partisan and tribal army that targets non-Dinka tribes.
He further says the SPLA, the police and other security organs systematically recruited Dinka from the home region of President Kiir and the Chief of Staff. He claims that other tribes and some Dinka who disagreed with President Kiir’s policy were sidelined.
Swaka points out that soldiers from the Dinka ethnic group have been strategically deployed in non-Dinka areas to implement the policy of land occupation. “The President and these SPLA officers have systematically frustrated the implementations of the peace agreement and pursued the agenda of Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) of ethnic cleansing, forceful displacement of people from their ancestral lands and ethnic domination,” he said.
The SPLA general accused the Mathiang Anyoor tribal militias of burning villages, grabbing land, especially in Equatorial, Shilluk land and Western Bahr el Ghazal.
Gen. Swaka concludes his letter with what appears to be a personal attack on President Kiir: “In light of the above and in conclusion your Excellency, I would like to tell you frankly and in honesty that in my view you have disgraced yourself and the office of the republic; you have disgraced the people of Dinka community and made them to be hated by their brothers and sisters from other nationalities; and above all you have become a disgrace to our country because you have consciously, wilfully, persistently, defying all sensible advice, and by design, failed the people of South Sudan.”
“Given the above reasons that are by no means exhaustive, I hereby resign from the position of Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics, and from the Sudan People’s Liberation army,” the letter concludes.
Swaka says he can no longer continue to be part of the “ongoing destruction of our beloved country by the same army.”
However, a spokesman for the Military says the General is using his claims to justify his defection yet in the actual sense he is running from a 9 million dollar military purchases inquiry.