Quote: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the movement of comfort and convenience but where he stands in the movement of challenge and controversy” (Dr. Martin Luthern King Jr.)
By Deng Riak Khoryoam, South Sudan
November 16, 2010 (SSNA) — The people of South Sudan are going through the toughest time ever in their life time; this is because in less than 53 days time, they are going to define their future status – whether to remain united with the North, under the current arrangement or separate to form their own independent country in the forthcoming referendum. There are lots of anxieties and uncertainties as to whether it will be peaceful, free, fair and transparent; and with credible results, since others have resorted to issuing of threats to pro-separation campaigners or advocates. Some quarters have been calling for the postponement of the polls amid delays in preparing the field for the voters to cast their votes at the plebiscite, come January 9, 2011.
In South Sudan, there are those whose minds are towing towards all directions the wind blows to and would be a source of confusion for the common man and woman, who does not know anything about politics but cares much about the future of his/her children. When a leader like Salva Kiir talks of unity in Khartoum to appease the NCP leaders or just because unity has been given a priority (to be made unattractive) over the other choice in the CPA, this makes them lose nerves and the light goes out, because it sends a mixed signal. “The SPLM believes on the necessity of Sudan unity, stressing that the unity is strength to all parties; indicating that all will lose in case of separation” (GOSS President Salva Kiir on April 30th) Is this to woo or confuse the masses? But please be consoled that when the light goes off, there is despair and everything seems to be in limbo, there is someone who is just right there to rekindle that light and restores hope and it’s non other than the GOSS VP, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny whose stance on separation for the people of Southern Sudan has never changed despite the odds of life or its hurdles. His stance on south’s ultimate independence has been unswerving!
There are a lot of mystifications concerning the referenda on Abyei and South Sudan that need to be demystified. We’ve been hearing some watermelon or chameleon leaders making nasty comments; casting doubts on the possibility of holding the crucial vote on time and whether it will have the recognition from the international community or not. Dr. Machar is not one of those chameleon politicians that always change their spots or show to suit the situation (talk of unity when in Khartoum and talk of separation when in Juba). He is always consistent in his dealings and persistent on the right of self-determination for the people of South Sudan, which he introduced into Sudanese politics and which has now gained momentum, both nationally and internationally; and which even those who for one reason or another were against it came to accept or realize that it’s the only solution for South Sudanese’s problem.
He successfully negotiated with the recalcitrant NCP members the 60% threshold of voter turnout and 50+1 quorum to declare the South an independent state. He is a charismatic leader; and he has a great sense of humour. He is not a tribalist but a nationalist. To prove this right, you make a visit to his office one day to find out whether what I am saying is true or not. Don’t be surprised to find out that most of those working in his office are from various tribes in Southern Sudan, not Nuer!
I must make it explicit and crystal clear that I am not praising him on the basis of tribe but on the basis of nationalism, because he is not a tribal chief but a national figure. I think we need to appreciate our leaders whenever they do something good and we ought to give credit where it’s due. Let those with tribal lenses see it the other way round with their limited brains and limited reasoning capacity!!! He works day and night to meticulously plan for the referendum for the people of Southern Sudan; he is not leaving anything to chance. He is not like other leaders who change shows day and night to achieve personal ambitions or gratify vested interests and are thus nothing short of megalomaniac. “South Sudan’s final movement of destiny is unstoppable” says Dr. Machar, and he continued to say that it was important for both Southern and Northern Sudan to wake up to the reality of the situation and begin to work on creating future good relations and cooperation as secession is the most likely scenario. “ (Dr. Riek Machar).
In nutshell, Dr. Machar remains a source of inspiration for all South Sudanese people who are desperately and earnestly waiting to see that day when the South is declared an independent state come January 2010. This may seem a caricature to many but it’s indeed a reality, and which it’s just at the corner. He’s been showing a good example in terms of his democratic leadership style and his belief on good governance. And that is what Mr. Ralph N said that “the function of a leader is to produce more leaders, not more followers” (by Ralph Nader).
So Dr. Machar, (aka Garnyagonyang), continue to shine and keep the candle burning till we achieve this noble task!!
The Author lives in South Sudan and is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org