Malual Wun Kuoth, the longest-serving chief of Nuer community

Lat chief Malual Wun Kuoth (Photo credit: Family photo)

July 10, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – This July marks the ninth anniversary of the physical disappearance of a prominent community leader in the history of the Nuer community, the death of the Paramount Chief Malual Wun Kuoth. Wun, who ruled the Nuer community as a paramount chief for decades, died on July 2, 2011, at the age of 103.

So, who is Malual Wun?

The late Malual Wun Kuoth is well remembered both in the old Sudan’s colonial powers and the successive governments in Khartoum, and most importantly, in the contemporary Republic of South Sudan for resolving many entangled tribal conflicts and family feuds. Below is the full biography of of the legendary Paramount Chief, Malual Wun Kuoth.

PERSONAL DATA

Name: Malual Wun Kuoth Jang Chondör Mar Nyang Kong

Nicknames: Chotrial, Mawernyin, Nyathiang.

Languages spoken: Nuer, Dinka, and little Arabic

Date of Birth: January 1, 1908

Place of Birth: Panyidhok village, north-west of Ganyliel, Panyinjiar, Unity state.

Died: July 2, 2011

Nationality: South Sudanese

Ethnicity: Nuer

State: Unity

County: Panyijiar

Hobbies: Played traditional guitar, (Thom in Nuer)

Religion: Initially African traditional beliefs but later converted to Christianity.

Served as: Paramount Chief of Nuer Community between 1965 and 2011 (65 years).

Malual is a son to former Nuer chief Wun Kuoth who ruled a section of the Nuer Community in what is now Panyijiar during the British colonization of Sudan. Panyijiar is a county in Unity state and is inhabited by the Nyuong section of the Nuer community. Panyijiar comprises of Nyal and Ganyliel.

Malual who is not the eldest son to his father inherited the Nyuong-Nuer leadership from his outstanding father, Wuon Kuoth, in 1945, before becoming the Nuer paramount chief in 1966 and rule the Nuer for  over 45 years. Despite the fact that he was young, he was picked by his father to succeed him.

He was chosen by his father at an early age because he foreseen great qualities of leadership in him. Despite the many siblings he had – at the time – Malual was entrusted by his father after preparing him for succession.

Malual is a brother to Machar, Marial, Yap, Puot, Bilung and Kam.  He was chosen during the reign of the first Sudanese Prime Minister Ismail al-Azhari. Malual rapidly gained popularity as the Nuer paramount chief and immediately become of the outstanding paramount chiefs in Sudan. He was later crowned by the British colonization of Sudan as a chief of Sudan.

Following the removal of Ismail al-Azhari by Jaafer Mohamed Nimeiri, Malual was awarded a medal by Nimeiri for being one of the most performing paramount chiefs. He was praised by Nimeiri for serving with excellence and integrity. He served as Nuer paramount chief until his death in July 2011, a few months after casting his vote for the Separation of South Sudan which had taken place the previous January.

LEADERSHIP STYLE

Malual was an outstanding leader, virtuous, humble, critical thinker, kind, brave, intelligence, wise, good father, friendly, good listener and a peace-loving person. During his leadership, he was accompanied in his journey as Nuer paramount chief by other important sub-chiefs such as Riak Dong, Deng Jaak and Gatluak Thuah and many more others who are not named here.

He was the first chief of Nyuong Dool and was deputized by Danier Gatluak and other chiefs who represent the sections of Reui Kuong, Nyuong Danier, Nyuon Yar, Dachieng Mayom, and Pal Kach Thiech.

One of his leadership values is listening to people. He pays more attentions to people by listening to their problems when they speak and response to them amicably. He’s known as the best leader who judge people fairly when sorting out issues. He was the most respected sort of a leader who doesn’t give up and was never accused of taking bribery.

His wisdom made him popular when he resolved two difficult issues between Nuer of Nasir and Lou-Nuer who fought themselves resulting in the loss of many lives. He that conflict into a complete and also ended inter-ethnic fighting between the Dinka and the Nuer through peace initiatives with the most notable one being the Wunliet peace conference which brought about what would later be the Wunliet Peace Agreement (WPA) (also known as people-to-people peace process) in 1998. The success of that process ended up with him being crowned as the most senior chief along with a few other chiefs from Dinka and Nuer

He spearheaded the initiative of Nuer Peace Council which brought the Nuer traditional leaders with the Nuer intellectuals leading to what is now the Fangak Laws (or Nguot Pangak in Nuer) which aimed on Nuer covenantal way of life.

Those laws were created to govern the Nuer community and they are in practice as of Now.

In the late 1990s, Malual approved a request by South Sudan’s current First Vice President and SPLM-IO chairman Dr. Riek Machar Teny, to abolish the Nuer scarification. The scarification which is an initiation to manhood in the Nuer community had sparked fears that it may easy the spread of diseases such as the HIV, among other diseases, because many people would be initiated with single knife.