By Simon El hag Kulusika
OPINION – In 2019, Al Jazeera TV, broadcasted a documentary, on the death of Gen. Dr. John Garang de Mabior. He was killed in a Helicopter incident. The title of the documentary was “John Garang: Nihhayyat Ghamida, Laaqz Maktal John Garang. Maen Al Mustafeed min Wafateehi”, (John Garang: Recondite Ends. The Riddle of the Killing of John Garang: Who, the Beneficiary, is of his Death).
This article does not comment on the documentary, which has raised serveral compelling questions. Questions that have remained unanswered. As was the case of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in Dallas, Texas, USA.
The reader may try to construct questions on the killing of de Mabior, based on the contents of the documentary. At least 17 questions could be raised, that might throw light on the Riddle of the death of de Mabior in the reported Helicopter incident. The questions would be difficult and begging inlusive answers.
POLITICAL IDEOLOGY OF DE MABIOR
Dr. John Garang de Mabior (this writer met him and had a long and liberal discussion on the movement) did not found his liberation movement on specific political ideology, eg, communism, socialism, Pan Africanism, Islamism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Capitalism, or liberalism, and so on. However, from his speeches, military statements and what was written about him; three recurring ideological themes and trends could be traced. That is Communist, Socialist, and Pan Africanist inclinations. But his emphasis would appear to be greater on Socialism. Which some political thinkers considered to be a cover – up for Communism.
Such political maneuvers were used in conjunction with his calls for the
establishment of “New Sudan”. Calls that defused fears regarding communism, socialism and separatism. They earned him some popularity in northern Sudan (NS) and reserved support amongst the intellectuals of southern Sudan (SS), especially in “Greater Equatoria”.
The indifference amongst Equatorians induced many of them to sit on the fence. Rather than join SPLA/M. As a result, their participation in the activities of SPLA/M was as one Equatorian Professor described it “dismal”. Hence, they were not given equal, or fair shares of the spoils of war. This may continue. Despite protestations from Equatoria. Unless new formular for participation in all activities of governance is invented.
It has not been clarified whether the “New Sudan” was a political ideology, a strategy, or merely a propaganda tool used to galvanize support far and wide. To ensure ascendancy to leadership for the entire “New Sudan”. During negotiations leading to the conclusion of CPA, and after, the term “New Sudan” disappeared. It was replaced by a dubious phrase, If NS wanted one Sudan, “they must do something” that would persuade SS that togetherness was better. It was the last attempt by de Mabior and his advisor Dr. M. Khalid to rescue a sinking boat. But this didn’t find support within a divided National Congress Party (NCP) led by Marshall O. H. A. Al Basher.
As for CPA, it was comprehensive. Because all armed groups, in SS, that emergered after the foiled Coup, joined in as one SPLA/M, in talks with Khartoum Government. It was disappointing to groups in Abyei (its case was complicated by the Arbitral Award in favour to NS), Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile. They were left out in the cold; so to speak.
Meanwhile, a book on SS and right to self – determination and establishment of New Sovereign State, was published by S.E. Kulusika. It came out to push for self – determination. It was read widely by SS, especially members of the first transitional national assembly in Juba. It was priced at $ 10, but the author has not received anything in return. Most important was that it acted as impetus for Freedom; the people of SS are experiencing, nowadays.
Sadly, de Mabior did not live longer enough to pursue his dreams of the “New Sudan” and used it, to make the people of SS, to go to a referadum, to confirm it. Rather than opting for Separation, as they have done. Creating a New Sovereign State: SS (as it’s called, for the time being).
PANACEA OR RISK
For many politico – military commanders within SPLA/M, de Mabior’s calls for “New Sudan”, was seen as a Panacea for the problems Sudan was facing at the time, the calls were made (by de Mabior). There also were groups of commanders in SPLA/M, who held secretly, the views that the calls for “New Sudan”, posed real risk to the existence of SPLA/M, as unified armed forces and movement. That it would create enemies for SPLA/M leadership in NS While in SS, SPLA/M would be perceived as armed forces and movement that have betrayed the people of SS. In both cases the calls for “New Sudan”, aroused opposition to de Mabior in NS, and SS for different reasons.
In NS, the Sectarian political leaders (eg, of Umma, DUP and others), the liberals and the Muslim Brotherhood feared the concept of “New Sudan” and opposed it. The talks between DUP and SPLM was no more than a window dressing affairs. Intended by DUP to hit at Umma Party, which has defeated DUP in all elections held since independence.
The “New Sudan” was welcome by the Sudan Communist Party, as a channel to its redemption. After their near fall from Sudan’s politics in the wake of violent conflict with Nimeiri. One of them, a diplomat, said to this writer, “we would like de Mabior to rule Sudan, so that we can judge whether, or not, a Junubi can be a ruler over Arabs.” Another NS, an Ambassador, reacted to a reference to “New Sudan”, by shouting, in the presence of other ambassadors, “what liberation?”, ” What ‘New Sudan’?” He was furious.
Generally, NS did not want de Mabior, because a Junubi could not rule them.
In SS de Mabior’s popularity was questionable. Those who could be called die – hard disciples and followers were very few. Even his own Dinka did not show total loyalty to him. One Dinka told this writer that “the Dinka do not recognize de Mabior as leader. They have not chosen him. But that as a military leader they will stand with him until someone else is found.” He said a lot, which decency forbids to be disclosed.
As for other persons in SS the idea of “New Sudan” was to be rejected ‘without much ado’. Again it shows that de Mabior was never adored by majority of people of SS. Very disappointing, indeed.
THE “ENDS” OF JOHN GARANG DE MABIOR:
The preceding brief discussion leads one to make some preliminary conclusion:
- With the exception of Communists and their allies the Socialists, no one in NS liked de Mabior. Some would even like to see that he was removed from the political scene by all available means, including the use of Witchcrafts, or offensive weapons. Could one attribute the incident of the Helicopter to such under – hand methods? Only the Iblis can tell the reader. If the Iblis so wishes.
- In SS, de Mabior commanded respect within certain circles in SPLA/M. Outside those circles, de Mabior’s acceptability was shrinking alarmingly. The attempt on his life in Nairobi. The attempted coup against him, plotted by Dr. R. Machar, Dr. L. Akol and others were sign – posts of rejections. Does this mean that anyone of those groups could be held responsible for the incident of the Helicopter, on that fateful day?
- On the international plane, the idea of “New Sudan” was saleable in China, Russia, Cuba, Italy, India, Ghana, South Africa (ANC), Angola, Mozanbigue, Zambia (one of the Presidents welcome de Mabior on Red Carpet), and the Scandinavian countries. Elsewhere, it had no place. The rejectionist countries might have prayed day and night that de Mabior should go. So that their Capitalists, through conditional investments, would become the masters of the new country: SS. Are they suspects in the killing of de Mabior?
Your conclusion would be fear killed de Mabior. It’s irrelevant who caused the incident of the Helicopter, killing all on board including de Mabior. What sad and covert “Ends”.
BENEFICIARIES OF DE MABIOR’S DEATH
Al Jazera’s documentary throws to you, a politic sentence: “maen Almustafeed min Wafateehi”. A quick response would be “we don’t know”.
If international syndicates were suspects, they came and have since run away, fearing loss of their conditional investments.
If the NS were suspects, they have earned loss of 1/3 of Sudan, they called Dar Al Harbb. Where Jihad is a duty to covert Al Kuffar into Islam.
If the SS were accused, they have got a land that is ungovernable. People’s hope lapses. Because fighting is raging in some parts of SS. Economy is morbid; mostly, controlled by foreign investors. Consumer Price Index (CPI) is distorted due to Inflations. Unemployment is deepening. Poverty is widespread. Independence euphoria has fled, through the small windows, with the west winds.
No, no one is a beneficiary of the death of de Mabior. Perhaps those who plotted the incident of the Helicopter. De Mabior death has brought more miseries than happiness to people of SS.
Demands of Leadership:
SPLA/M was/is a military/political organization. In military, chain of commands is critical for the survival and success of a military establishment. It has one strategy, one discipline, one goal : to defeat an enemy, and one command – for which second thought was punished severally, including firing squad. Those were what SPLA/M was used to and employed by de Mabior with vigour. They gave him the confidence that he was a political leader and Commander – in – Chief, in charge and total control.
He also was aware that there were persons who, as he said it to this writer, “wanted to cruxify me alive.” That is what every person who is vying for leadership should expect. Because some persons would like to assume leadership the easy way, such as, plotting to kill the incumbent, or staging a bloody coup d’etat. Even though they do not possess the qualities, and credentials of leadership.
De Mabior has left us. But the fruits of his struggle are being, somehow, enjoyed by all the people of SS. Including those that had managed to get rid of him by violent means. Have they become disgracefully the beneficiaries of the death of de Mabior?
It’s now for the successors of de Mabior, to accomplish what he had wanted to realize. To do so, they will have to wage war in varying fronts. That is what leaders have to do. Bearing in mind that leadership is a difficult and risky undertaking. Those who assumed it should be praised for their bravery and willingness to serve humanity.
That is true. Every one of you wants to be a master, or a leader. But when you get there, whether legitimately, or by hooks – and – crookks, you suddenly develop a cold feet. Because you are face to face with the reality of being master, or leader. You realize in a flash of light that you are in a world suffused by “Cares, Crosses” and intrigues, rendering your tasks exceedingly difficult
Let us offer thanksgivings to Gen. Dr. J. G. de Mabior for his sacrifices that have contributed to making SS what it’s today. Elites with big bellies. Commoners with collapsed cheeks. But, better than nothing. Things soon will get better. President Kiir, Dr. Machar, Dr. Lam, Gen Shwaka, Gen Malong, and other leaders, and their teams are working day and night, to ensure three meals per day return to all households across SS. Leadership is about constructive actions. God, Almighty shall protect our Citizens.
The author is a professor of Law at Zambia Open University. Reach him via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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