August 23, 2013 (SSNA) — It is with great sadness to write this personal reflection about a man who left this world without saying Goodbye to his people in person but his message and spirit of peace and love for the country have carried more weight than being there in person.
Today marks the 1st anniversary of the death of the 1st Lt. General Paulino Matip Nhial Nyak. Late General was born in to a family with simplistic world view that has ringed through the ears of all Sudanese and around the world. Some called him Uncle, Mentor, Father, Papa, Leader, Hero, Protector, Provider, Guandit/Mzee, Principal, Comrade in Arms, Brother, Son, Grandfather, and I call him the legend who has lived a life without regrets.
As I reflect on this day, I am emotionally broken because he never lived to see and enjoy the fruits of his labor with me included as the result of his efforts.
Many South Sudanese have no idea about who he was but for those who knew and met him, they realized that he was one of the few true sons of South Sudan and a hero who championed the cause for his people to be freed.
Many South Sudanese were given a glimmer of information about him and their attention was directed to focus on the current events happening at the time of his death. No one was told about his history and especially the untold story of the break up in Bilpam, Western Ethiopia in 1983. Late General Paulino Matip was among the few who established Bilpam in mid 1970s and was one of the officers who welcomed Late Dr. John Garang to Bilpam.
Some of the achievements and service background of the Late 1st Lt. General Paulino Matip are as follows:
1973 – 1975 – Gen. Matip served as police Sergeant in Wangkei and Mankien in Mayom County
1976 – 1983 – He joined Anyanya II movement in Bilpam and trained in Dardawa and Gondor at a place called Kuara where he was commissioned as 2nd Lt.
1986 – 1987 – Gen. Matip became the Deputy Chairman of Anyanya II movement
1987 – 1991 – He became the chairman of Anyanya II movement
1992 – 1996 – He was commissioned as major general and joined South Sudan Independent movement and Army SSIM/A where he became a member of SSIM/A high command, zonal commander of Western Upper Nile and Governor of Lich State
1997 – 2001 – He formed South Sudan United Movement (SSUM) and became its chairman and C-IN-C
2002 – 2004 – He became the chairman and C-IN-C of South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF)
2005 – He participated in the Grand signing ceremony of the CPA and led South-South dialogue in Nairobi with Late Dr. John Garang
2006 – General Paulino Matip Nhial signed Juba declaration with the President of the Government of South Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit in which his forces were integrated to the SPLA
January 8th 2006 – He was promoted to the rank of Lt. General in the SPLA and appointed Deputy Commander in Chief of the SPLA
2009 – He was promoted to 1st Lt. General in the SPLA and remained in the same position as Deputy Commander in Chief till his tragic death
2012 – Late General Paulino Matip Nhial Nyak passed away on 22nd August 2012 at Karen Hospital in Nairobi after attending several medical treatments abroad.
The Late Gen. Matip will be remembered as a champion for the Independence of South Sudan, peaceful coexistence of its citizens and defender of the rights of all South Sudanese.
We miss you and your footprints have left a mark on this world and your legacy lives on forever.
Uncle, Mentor, Papa and Legendry, goodbye and we shall meet again!
William Pay Tuoy-Giel can be reached at [email protected]