My observations on Bona Malwal’s Book: Sudan and South Sudan, From One to Two.
By Peter Mabior Riiny,
April 9th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) — This book contains some historical facts from 1947 to 2011 and it is an eye opener for a lost generation like ours. It actually gave me hint on how and why Deng Nhial, the former leader of Sudan African National Union (SANU) was assassinated in 1968. However, I feel the title of the book is not right. Firstly Uncle Bona Malwal wrote the book on the account of his personal achievements for the struggle of South Sudan. The book very much borders Autobiography. But what comes out clearly is his hatred for what he calls ‘Garang Boys’. He says Garang boys believe they are the right inheritors of SPLM/A. Garang Boys according to Uncle Bona, didn’t want President Salva Kiir to succeed in leading the country and that anybody who tries to help Salva Kiir succeed is their enemy. They, according to Bona must be allowed to rule South Sudan based on Garang’s vision. While there could be some truth in this bombastic political posturing, I found it implausible because President Salva Kiir himself said he would not deviate from Garang’s vision, and Garang’s vision is the SPLM vision, Salva Kiir was quoted saying he was in fact the elder son of Garang if there are Garang Boys. The SPLM vision of taking town to people has failed. If Garang’s vision was not good, then where is Salva Kiir’s vision?
Uncle Bona then goes ahead and says when Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit was made commander of Bahr Elghazal region in 1990s by Colonel John Garang, Garang wanted him to fail so that the blame squarely fell on Salva Kiir and according to him, Commander Salva Kiir succeeded in thwarting Arabs attacks in Bahr El ghazal. He goes ahead and says Cdr. Paul Malong Awan brought peace between Baggara and Dinka Malual and since then no attacks from Baggara occurred. I think this line of argument is not true. Since Cdr. Paul Malong took over Northern Bahr Elghazal as its overall commander in 1993, the then Aweil west County witnessed heavy and devastating attacks in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001 respectively. We should also recall that Paul Malong himself was shot several times in some of these battles. These Arab attacks killed thousands of Aweil west people and many women and children were taken as slaves. Uncle Bona Malwal should read Dr. Jok Madut Jok book on slavery in Sudan. Bona Malwal Madut visited Marial-bai in September 1994 and met us in Marial bai primary school, I was in class three. Baggara attack on Nyamlel occurred some few months later after he left killing over 100 people.
In his accusation on Dr. John Garang, Bona Malwal says Garang made SPLM a one man show. Adding “New Sudan Vision” prolonged the war and that if Garang had gone for separation instead of unity, the war would have ended much earlier. I don’t agree with this line of argument. First, the world at the time was not in the mood of supporting separatist, and more so Ethiopia which was battling Eritrean Separatist would not have helped SPLA with resources needed to fight the war, Garang famously stated that if you want to land on the moon, aim for the sun. I believe if we had come out fighting for separation, we would not have gotten the help we needed and achieve separation. Anya Nya One tried separation and failed and then signed 1972 Peace Agreement.
Many books on Sudan state that Anya Nya One war started on 18 August 1955. Still do not know who is telling the truth but Uncle Bona’s book tells us that the war started on 16 August 1955. I am yet to confirm from the historian to tell the exact date.
In 2010 general elections, President Salva Kiir got 93% and Dr. Lam Akol got 7%. In his book Uncle Bona Malwal asserts that President Salva Kiir got over 98%. If I meet Uncle Bona Malwal today, I would tell him that Dr. Lam Akol got 7 percent in difficult circumstances following intimidations, beatings and arrest of his supporters across South Sudan by the security agents. Lam Akol would have performed much better had the elections been free and fair.
On war on 15 December 2013, Uncle Bona Malwal would want us believe that indeed Dr. Riek Machar, acting on the prophecy of Ngundeng, pulled a coup against the elected government of Salva Kiir Mayardit. This is a clear sentimental hogwash coiled from the rumors with no facts attached. Until this time, no one really knows what happened. But what we do know is that there was misunderstanding within Tiger Battalion and that led to the shootout, after which soldiers went on rampage killing Nuer civilians leading to counter revenge by Nuer White Army. Concluding that there was a coup attempt is a distortion of facts. We are still waiting to know what really transpired on that fateful night. More investigation is needed to tell South Sudanese and the world what triggered the civil war. On a fair note, Uncle Bona should have added that President Salva Kiir’s behaviors in the days leading to SPLM convention on 15 December, 2013 was reprehensible and very much contributed to the war.
In what he terms as Equatorian hatred for Dinka, Uncle Bona castigates Equatorians for joining Dr. Riek Machar’s bandwagon and this was done for the hate of Dinka. This is not true. The first Equatorian leader to join Dr. Riek was Lado Gore and most Equatorians adopted wait-and-see attitude in 2014 before joining in large numbers in 2015. A serious government should have done a campaign to change the reasoning of undecided Equatorians. But the behaviors of Dinka soldiers and indecision by a Dinka man at the helm coupled with self-appointed Dinka Elders contributed to the hatred.
In conclusion, the book’s title is wrong and misleads the readers. The title of the book should have been “Bona Malwal and Salva Kiir, From Two to One”. In stark contrast to a man of his stature. Uncle Bona Malwal is more of a Dinka elder than a South Sudanese Elder! This is what goes away with you after you read the book.
the author can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org