By Dr Peter Kopling
May 5, 2014 (Nyamilepedia) — Dr John Garang De Mabior was a charismatic, at the same time a very strong willed and a heavy-handed leader. Like most great leaders in prolonged possessions of absolute powers, he morphed into a Tyrant, and intolerant of opposing views while surrounded by mostly poorly educated individuals with the exceptions of a few the likes of Dr. Lam Akol and Dr. Riek Machar.
Because of this intolerance to opposing views, many of his comrades and founders of the movement, many big names and those equally educated like him but particularly those who advocated for a separate South Sudan rather than Garang’s vision of New Sudan perished in Garang’s very own hands or parted ways with him.
It was under such climate, when a fellow PhD holder, Dr Riek Machar, questioned Garang’s Tyranny and his wisdom of insistent to sacrifice the lives of Southerners for a new, united Sudan, when the northerners themselves seemed disinterested in the idea other than shoving Islam in our throats and wanting our resources.
Dr Machar argued, rather than using our limited human resources for liberating and achieving a United Sudan, We should rethink and forget about a United Sudan. This was the beginning of the Split between Dr Machar and Garang.
This not only set Garang into mistrust but he sought to eliminate Dr Machar whose life became in danger like the dead separatist before him who perished in Garang’s very own hands. He had an option to escape just like the current Juba saga or end up dead like his fellow separatist who did not leave to see an independent South Sudan.
Dr. Riek had to escape for his life. It is important at this point to remember because Dr. Garang wanted Riek dead; therefore Garang had declared himself a sworn enemy of Riek not a brother.
It is equally important to remember, South Sudan was not Garang and Garang was not South Sudan. The quest for South Sudan independence predated both Garang and Machar. The real question was not who fought who, but rather who fought what and stood for the aspirations of people of South Sudan and that aspiration of separatism predated both leaders!