Was Abdullah Deng Nhial a Minister of Environment in a Hostile Environment!

By: Justin Ambago Ramba

….the MPs beating have much to do with his tongue and nothing with his support for Abyei.

November 27, 2013 (SSNA) — What a news I am hearing from Juba! My old friend sheikh Nhial chose to physically advice an MP and eventually lost his job! That was a drama!

Even in that volatile environment of Juba, this incidence took everyone by surprise! I am told. Others wondered as to how a politician can revert to this kind of advice!?

On the whole, it might not have been the right thing for Hon. Abdullah D Nhial to do. However his circumstances should also be taken into consideration. I happen to know this Sheikh from school days when we attended universities in Cairo.

He went to the most prestigious Al Azhar Islamic University, while I attended the Kasr Al Aini Medical School – Cairo University. We both once served in the historical SOSSA.  He was a deputy secretary for students’ Affairs under my chairmanship. Since then I came to know him better.

What I will continue to remember him for is his strong views, opinions, positions and above all his being confrontational whenever faced by circumstances that forces him to do so. No wonder it is a typical Muslim Brotherhood’s trait ……El Kaizan!

He always knew what his political group has and has not. Would rather have and would rather not have.  What they need and what they don’t need. Above all Abdullah D Nhial knows how, when and where to go for or about these things.

No wonder at all that in only two years’ time following the independence of south Sudan from Sudan, Sheikh Abdullah D Nhial in spite of all odds was already rubbing shoulders with the former rebels of the SPLM/A and others who considered his Islamist ideology as a direct opposite to the core aspirations of the South Sudanese people who did everything to resist forced Islamisation, Arabicisation, and of course Arabisation.

Sheikh Deng Nhial’s political past was all about serving the Grande Maître of later days political Islam, Sheikh Hassan Abdullah Turabi in the realization of the so-called “Great Islamic Civilization Project” referred to in short as the “Civilization Project” المشروع الحضارى.

There is no any doubt in my mind at any moment that Sheikh Abdullah D. Nhial is still a strong believer in the ultimate realization of all the above mentioned three pillars of the Middle Eastern Neo Colonialism being directed towards Africa in general and South Sudan in particular. Nonetheless it wasn’t at all difficult either for him to become a minister in Salva Kiir’s ever lean and reformation cabinet.

He is also one of a few people to have been reshuffled in this cabinet from a ministry to another within a pace of two days.

After sharing my equally strong views with a friend working with the National Legislative Assembly in Juba about this most unfortunate incidence and its possible repercussions on the already bad publicity the new country has in the world media and how I view this outstanding South Sudanese politician as a man of an outstanding CV, my friend had this to say to me:

“No one can challenge your view on this particular case, It is a deep rooted habit with them Kaizan. But frankly speaking, I would have done the same to that MP if I was subjected to the same abuse. How can the MP call him a pimp?”

I took that to represent a position likely to be held by many others as well. In South Sudan people do of course value manners, but when it comes to personal dignity, don’t mess up with them!

In my humble assessment, Hon Abdullah D. Nhial’s resort to the application of physical advice was in line with the   first steps of the Islamic Sharia Law known as the “Prompt Justice” العدالة الناجزة! Now and here you settle the matter.

Otherwise, what did this Warrap MP expected when he was hailing all those sorts of insults and street words at Sheikh Abdullah D. Nhial, a person whose physical presence can never be ignored?

Again it can be argued rightly or wrongly that it was the right thing that the president relieved Hon Abdullah Nhial from the cabinet job following that showdown and loss of temper.

However given the true sensitivity of the issues involved and the trend which it took as it unfolded and finally resolved, it will be the unsaid that will carry the weight of the true situation.

Yet at the end of the day, we are all human beings, prone to make mistakes. While the minister might have paid the price of his emotional reaction, let us also hope that our friends from Warrap who put pressure on the president to grant them their wish, there is also a lesson for them to learn. A rude word is no any better than a slap on the face!

So how could one really sum up this weird incidence that took many by surprise? Another equally concerning reaction came in response to the country’s president who preferred to sack the minister without due investigation or any disciplinary actions towards the MP in the centre of this brawl.

In a society like South Sudan where nepotism and tribalism is rife, this has undoubtedly prompted many to believe that the president was being partial in this case as this MP hails from the president’s backyard.

This Warrap MP’s beating has nothing to do with his support for Abyei as Hon Abdullah D Nhial’s dismissal should have nothing to do with what he thinks of the issue. For if we go by official statements,  any views on Abyei should be seen by  president Salva Kiir Mayardit and his entire cabinet as outside the government’s officially declared position.

Was it not president Kiir who announced that the final solution to Abyei issues doesn’t lay in Juba anymore? “It is now up to the African Union to find that solution”. The president reiterated just a month ago.

While the MP from President Kiir’s backyard of Warrap could be right to show off his comradeship with his kinsmen of Abyei, still he could have done it in a civilized way. We expect our politicians to debate all kinds of issues that affect the country in a matured and cultivated manner.  However hurling insults and calling others names is a kind substandard to say the least.

Again what I fail to understand is that, how comes  this particular MP had all the guts to hurl insults on Hon Abdullah D. Nhial simply for holding a different view on Abyei, when his own man the President is now totally numb and dumb on the issue.

Was it not also this very president Salva Kiir Mayardit who the people of Bahr Ghazel are ready to worship, the one which came out openly to tell the whole world that the unilateral referendum that was held in Abyei, was an illegal action, hence null and void and to the best of it he has nothing to do with it?

Was he (President Salva Kiir) not the one who made it unequivocally blunt that the outcome of that referendum wouldn’t be binding for him? And what do we say about those Ngok Dinka in their thousands who not only insist to be Kordofanians, and hence citizens of Sudan as opposed to South Sudan. We know their leaders by names and who is someone like me to impose on them what they don’t want?

Fellow South Sudanese, despite my deeply rooted ideological differences with Sheikh Abdullah D. Nhial, a thing I know can never be rectified without a huge miracle taking place first; nevertheless today I don’t see him on the wrong to deserve being insulted in the public and be referred to as a pimp for saying what he politically thinks is right. This is democracy for you!

What can any South Sudanese citizen do on the issue of the Abyei disputed territory any better than the current president of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, and the many Dinka Ngok elites  he has often decorated his foreign missions with? Let alone those previous good for nothing cabinets!

First there is Dr. Francis Mading Deng who is now South Sudan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, then Dr. Chol Deng Alak, South Sudan’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation – the South Sudan Embassy in Moscow, and H.E. Mr. Arop Deng Kuol, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Sudan to the African Union in Addis Ababa..

Today in South Sudan, it is sadly true that we are still what we were in the Old Sudan. Under Khartoum we were all tribes and religious sects and denominations.  Everyone served lip service to the true Sudanism that existed only in late Dr. John Garang’s lectures and probably his dreams.

When some of us thought of themselves as Arabs others were Africans, Muslims or Islamists, Jaalieen, Dinka, Nuer, Junubien, Nuba, Darfuri and yet others considered themselves the true and only Awlad Balad.  

The irony today is that even in an independent South Sudan; unfortunately we remain far from embracing South Sudanism! Who didn’t know that Abdullah Deng Nhial was a minister of environment in a hostile environment!

We only know what we are not.  And besides our tribes unfortunately even after the five decades or so of the brutal wars and struggles, unfortunately we are still not what we want to be. Maybe it is that we actually do not know precisely what we want to be!

Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba is reachable at: [email protected]

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