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: [email protected].

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