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Editorial: Garang and his resurrection allegory

By Deng Vanang

July 28, 2015 (SSNA) -- 30th July is heroes’ day in South Sudan calendar as known to almost everybody in the country. The choice of this day is to coincide with the day Dr. John Garang de Mabior died in 2005 in a plane crash. He is also feted as one among top heroes and heroines, besides meeting his death while a leader of the then autonomous region, Southern Sudan. It is the same autonomous arrangement that propelled the region to independence in 2011 as the result of Comprehensive Peace agreement, CPA he signed with Khartoum- based government following half a century internecine conflict.

And therefore, were he to resurrect, the surprise would no doubt create as much confusion among numerous politicians leading SPLM/A factions as it could in himself. As some of these politicians would be more than happier while others could be overcome by rage.

Since these politicians are squaring it off with one another over country’s leadership, the only source of daily bread and ruthless authority to exercise over the weak. That is apart from being the pride of some exclusively filthy rich, Godless and shamelessly bragging oligarchs.

God couldn’t allow him to risk resurrecting at his famous tomb, now located between customs market and National Legislative Assembly in Juba. Since for certain, those soldiers manning the historic site 24/7 may not be doing so in his best interest.

Being shot in sight or getting kidnapped and spirited 100 KMS away in undisclosed location from his beloved people couldn’t be ruled out either. Followed by an intense questioning as to why he returns.

His crime is, wild suspicion that he returns to reclaim his throne already having claimed countless lives, millions maimed and others displaced internally and externally. Not between North and South he previously knew but between fellow South Sudanese.

In secret location where he is being held for questioning, he could be warned by new Juba’s authorities not to dare ask for his position of an autonomous Southern Sudan for its term has already elapsed ever since 2011’s successful referendum. And probably be told the country is an independent Republic now led by His Excellency, democratically and popularly elected President, General Salva Kiir Mayardit if he ever cares to listen.

To guarantee his safety, God could allow him to rise up mysteriously in the compound of United States of America Embassy’s residence, the most fortified fortress in the war ravaged country.

There the armada of journalists and curious masses could flock in order to have a glimpse of a long lost leader. A cordon of both American marines and UNMISS’ peace keeping troops could be thrown around the high walled compound. If not done, it could either be scaled or broken into by surging crowds, its height and state of security notwithstanding.

Up on hearing the news, opposing factions of SPLM/A could definitely be falling over one another as each wants to be accorded the first opportunity by Americans to brief him ten years after he went up in flames in the Zulia Mountains on the current state of the ruling SPLM and the nation presently in tatters.

While opposing factions are in stampede arguing loud and throwing punches at one another, Garang could be in state of confusion and nervousness as he stares up, down and about in blanks at bull necked and stomach protruded men that fight their way through thick walls of crowds with report files.

These are none other than his previously known associates changed by age and luxury of power. That is besides the city in which he finds himself.

For Juba he knew in 1980s as dust filled town over grown with tall elephant grass, grass thatched and mud-walled shacks  is now teeming with some sky scrapping buildings.

The scenery is replete with a few kilometers stretches of tarmacked roads with a sea of humanity and automobiles plying them as they chase South Sudanese tender notes visibly featuring his portrait.

If British war time of 1930s – 1940s Prime Minister, Winston Churchill’s political dictum ‘’ a week in politics is a long time’’ then what often plus years?

Certainly, Garang could be in need of one month induction course in order to acquaint himself with unusual environment called modern South Sudan.

That is in terms of fast evolving history, roller - coaster politics and infrastructural architecture more than a brief from bickering politicians and warring army Generals complete with press interviews from parading armies of both local and foreign journalists.

Not to be surprised, the pompous social change his inductors may talk big about could be nothing short of usual notoriety of history repeating itself anyway.

As he is being inducted by Americans and a few trusted South Sudanese, especially priests and Pastors lest he is misinformed in favor and at the expense of some politicians, Garang could break his jaws in laughter as well as cry out his eyes mournfully at the same time in bewilderment.

In a series of mindboggling revelations, he could learn his lessons hard that autonomous Southern Sudan controversially held elections in 2010 had resultantly caused the death of his once trusted General in rebellion against Juba, George Athor Deng. That is if either he or George lives in one of good heavens’ corners: paradise or hell.

This was followed by referendum in the South minus Abyei which is now facing the fate of being slaughtered if not halved, than one side between North and South takes it all.

South Sudan is now sovereignty but full-pledged failed state and regional destabilizer although fortunately no longer disputed territory between Afro – South and dominantly Arab North. But with SPLM/A being a pail shadow of former self.

SPLM’s remnants in the North and a coalition of Darfur rebels are waging a protracted guerrilla insurgency against Al-Bashir, his longtime rival over the Sudan’s Presidential stakes. Another SPLM – South has so far so good metamorphosed into ragtag warring factions in an irredeemable self -destruction.

That his better half Rebecca and beloved son Mabior declared themselves persona non-grata in the town and country he helped liberate.

His treasured apples in the eyes in the names of Pagan Amum, Deng Alor, Kosti Manibe, Hiteng, et al have just returned home from nearly two years’ old political exile while on the run from goons let loose by Salva Kiir Mayardit, now doubling as his successor and Alpha and Omega at the helm of tripartite system - ruling SPLM faction, government and the entire country.

He could also learn his tough lesson that some elements of the group were recently restored to their long lost positions after wobbling on their knees as they begged Kiir to be pardoned.

While Oyay and Majak are still unaccounted for as they roam in the wilderness stretching far and wide between ever repelling Juba and Pagak.

As if that amazement is not enough, Garang could come face to face with reality of Machar and Lam walking back in time to what he famously called theoretical coup of 1991. Lam heading DC faction in an open prison that passes for Juba as Machar heading IO in the torturous bushes of Upper Nile region.

He with Lado and Taban is having a trillion Dollars bounty placed on their heads by Kiir and his government they accused of most heinous of crimes against humanity such like ethnic cleansing, endemic tribalism, totalitarian dictatorship and runaway kleptocracy.

He could be gasping for a breathe when learning his dream towns are far from getting to villages but political leaderships surrounded by rivaling cults of tribal elders’ councils due to the above numerated ills.

To his even more annoyance, he could be told Juba is just a clearing in the jungle called South Sudan. For what he sees as marvelous development in Juba many disparagingly regard it as tiny drop in the gigantic Indian Ocean.

Reason being countless billions of United States Dollars enough to turn the entire country into an East African economic tiger are starched away in individual bank accounts as loots. Not by anyone and everybody but the very leaders who don’t lead by example but looting.

The dire consequences of these socio –economic ills trapped people in the viciously and deadly triangle of the ongoing devastating war, abject poverty and terminal diseases, he could then be told as he pays his usual attention patiently.

All soldiers having been fitted against each other went to the killing fields with their families gone begging the same greedy politicians en mass should they refuse to face the shame of returning to the refugee camps they left a decade ago, that is 2005.

No tamarack beyond Juba – Nimule road with clean drinking water and electricity supplies remain a pipe dream. Upper Nile region is now ungratefully consuming like a mass human grave with rapid ripple effects into the whole country spreading fast and furious.

Then, the invaluable lesson to be learned by all and sundry is the stake truth that nothing is new for John Garang to see other than the same horrors in different forms he left behind when he died on 30th July, 2005.

Deng Vanang is a Journalist and Author. He can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Compromise Peace Agreement is Fairer

By John Adoor Deng, Australia

July 27, 2015 (SSNA) -- The recently published document by IGAD Plus on South Sudan conflict resolution, call the Compromise Peace Agreement, is finding its home with many South Sudanese peace lovers. The document has explicitly defined, divided roles and powers at all level of the expected government of national unity. It has too; provided parameters that would guide the accountability and has in its mechanism to curb bad governance in the expected transitional government. For example, all decision-making in key institutions such as the presidency has been matrixed, and thus things like previous unsubstantiated non-consulted decrees shall as a result of this new matrix, ceased.

Secondly, the document had spent out a provision to observe transitional justice through the establishment of Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS). This court, according to this agreement shall hear all cases of atrocities and human right abuses committed during the 19months in South Sudan conflicts. As an international monitored and funded court, it will act lawfully unlike other African courts where offenders go without being given penalties they deserve. Apparently, this court will be unique and forceful in all matters presented.

Thirdly, the most contentious issue (the two armies' narrative) has been well spent in the agreement. The agreement postulates that the assembling, screening, re-organization, disarmament and demobilization of all military forces must be done within 30 days counting from the day, this agreement will be signed. It is also stated that all capital cities will be demilitarized and that only 260 soldiers will guard the president, 195 soldiers with the First Vice President, and I guess couple of soldiers will be spin to vice president.

Fourthly, fairness has been awarded to the most affected states of the greater Upper Nile region. There shall be specific funds accorded to these states for development and reconstruction.  Although, we South Sudanese have killed ourselves virtually for nothing, we can still swallow our bitterness to one and another and embrace this peace. In my view, this is a good peace both for suffering masses and ruling elites. The United Nations, TRIOKA, European Union, China, and the IGAD countries have recorded their inputs into this agreement. We can call it a world gave peace to South Sudan. The sceptics have no points to convince us against this peace unless they wanted South Sudanese just to kill and finished themselves for no good reasons.

There are no reasons to resist the call for peace and tranquillity in South Sudan. We have suffered enough and worse in the recent conflict. We cannot afford to remain fighting an unwinnable war among ourselves. Millions of homes, schools, hospitals have been destroyed in unimaginable scales.  I, therefore, appeal to the negotiators on both sides to accept this peace unreservedly and the joyous of peace back to the Republic of South Sudan.

The Author, John Adoor Deng, is a member of South Sudanese Civil Society Organisation in Australia.  He is a periodical commentator on South Sudan issues, conflict, governance and reconstruction. He is reachable by email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Editorial: Obama’s woes and accolades

By Deng Vanang

July 25, 2015 (SSNA) -- It is called a miracle God, the supernatural looking down from good heavens. That is miraculous because he miraculously molds the would-be powerfully renowned individuals from unlikely and hopeless backgrounds.

Dismissed as a liar, impersonator of Holy God and a son of a poor carpenter, Joseph - Jesus Christ was physically and verbally abused by His Jewish people until he was given a second thought as the true son of the living God long after he breathed his last on a rough wooden cross at Calvary.

The Nuer’s Prophet, Ngundeng Bong traveled similar rough terrain. He was known to have foretold the independence of South Sudan and the entire difficult trajectory – before and after independence – the country painfully irked along, was earlier on dismissed as mad boy and most elders surrounding him late in life stubbornly refused to adhere to his prophetic counsels.

In his first time to come home and roost in 1989, none cast a second glance at a poor black and white half cast American bogged down by weight of a mixed bag of a little more than odds and ends by the side of his grandmother, Sahara Obama.

A lost boy in search for an unknown motherland called Kenya while he traveled in dusty back streets and alleys of Nairobi in a comic, ramshackle saloon car. With torn-smelly sofas was his cozy bed to lay his head on over nights in a dingy sitting room. That is several years ago.

Today, Barack Hussein Obama is a dashing darling of both high and lowly. The powerful man on earth as the President of the only world’s super power America before whom every soul kowtows in awe.  As well as a supper rock star before whom every Dick, Tom and Harry looks up in ecstatic adoration.

It is this new and special status since he first saw and finally conquered the Oval office each and every part of the world craves to identify with in a mad rash to slice a piece of him. This is albeit the glaring and more tragic home truths that came on his way in a long journey to history.

That his father graced only single liner sentence in once popular Nairobi Times newspaper when mangled dead in a pick up on Elgon road, Upper Hills in Nairobi on fateful day of November, 23rd 1982. With no fond memories to leave behind as adversely eulogized by his closer colleagues and buddies as nothing than dawn to dust drunkard and a chain womanizer.

Nevertheless, he was an academic icon in Kenya‘s architectural history as the most prestigious Harvard educated economist. Who conceived of what is today Kenya’s dazzling beauty via tourism industry and physical infrastructure in form of roads, aviation, harbor, electricity, railways and name it. The conferences epicenter Bomas of Kenya and sky scrapping Hilton Hotels are his additional cultural master pieces.

While Obama Junior both closer home and a broad remains the epic battle ground each of his rivaling and expansive Obama clans in Kenya doesn’t want to cede to the other in custody rights. Wars over Obama‘s much contested ownership never end there and then either.

Anglo-Saxons view him as their own making courtesy of his Irish maternal father and mother. Kenya holds him as the dearest apple in the irreplaceable eye sight. While Lou community in particular sees his American presidency as the miraculous embodiment of a long sought after Presidency it is repeatedly denied of clinching right here in Kenya.

To South Sudanese, South Sudan is his cradle from which his Luo ancestors left Kenya due to a minor in house dispute to which he could bring the illusive peace deal at the ongoing IGAD’s peace talks in Addis Ababa. For Africans, he is a true son of the soil born of a Kenyan father. As much as Asia where Obama is a step son of an Indonesian man with his name sake town in Japan called Obama. For Arab and Muslim world, Obama is the Muslim hiding behind a Christian shrine.

All this history makes part of Obama’s life as a child of disdainful contrasts and flowery destiny. He was born of an atheist mother and free – wheeler father, commended one Kenyan writer in the Saturday Daily Nation newspaper. But became more of a disciplined child and proud of his heritage of a poor country in the dark African continent. 

Craned out his long neck to even crave for a stake in who is who American politics when he could instead be hunted down as an Arab –Islamic terror suspect by a racist white police in what is highly regarded as the country of white aristocrats. He is pauper who boldly held a torch against moneyed white billionaires with history to boot in a straight fight over a house, originally and deliberately painted white the only white rulers.

Deng Vanang is a Journalist and the author of South Sudan the Making of a Nation, a Journey from Ethnic Polities to Self-rule, State and Democracy. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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