Opinion: Bradford University should revoke Riek Machar’s PhD

By Nicholas Osobi,

South Sudan's former Vice President, Chairman and Commander in Chief o the SPLM/A-IO(Photo: supplied/file/Nyamilepedia)
South Sudan’s former Vice President, Chairman and Commander in Chief o the SPLM/A-IO(Photo: supplied/file/Nyamilepedia)

June 9th 2019 (Nyamilepedia)  — It is a known fact that South Sudanese from all walks of life contributed in the liberation struggle but today, much credit seems to be attributed to few elites in the leadership, especially those with PhD’s. Whilst it is true, learnt leaders have the proficiency to steer the country in the right direction, not all those with PhD’s have the same competence.

Some with their PhD’s are dragging the country into catastrophe. A clear example is SPLA IO’s leader, Dr. Riek Machar whose supporters have gone as far as branding him a gigantic, visionary and able leader, almost making him enjoy infallible status in the political arena just because of his PhD in Engineering.

However, a closer look into his track record across the liberation span and after signing the CPA only proves that he is just a self-centred opportunist and an architect of manipulations whose egregious politicking has caused untold division among the political class, military and the 64 tribes of South Sudan.

He (Dr. Riek) might have been a brilliant man in the classroom but his inability to translate his knowledge to foster unity and bring about development, but instead adopt tribal politics like his semi illiterate arch rival, President Salva Kiir renders his PhD a total waste. In my opinion, University of Bradford should consider rescinding his PhD in order to save it reputation owing to this underlying rationale.

Dr. Riek seems to have substituted academic reasoning with superstition (Ngundeng’s Prophecy). As an intellectual, he (Machar) should be both futuristic and pragmatic in his approach, focusing on day to day realities so as to be able to find appropriate solutions to the current dilemmas. This should be reflected in devising workable strategies, appointing of right cabinets, setting up functional ministries, creating proper accountability channel etc, but Machar has buried his PhD in the cow dung in pursuit of his ancestor Ngundeng’s prophecy despite the odd of its viability being dismal.

Machar should not be taking prophecy as an absolute truth like his unlearnt traditional tribesmen do but rather use his intellect and common sense to decide what is best for the nation as Ngundeng’s prophecy could be as a result of mental illness (hallucination).

For those unfamiliar with Nuer tradition, Ngundeng Bong was the most famous of the Nuer prophets, who lived between c.1830 and 1906. In the 1860s he began to have seizures and was thought to be mentally ill. He then left to settle among his mother’s people who initially were reluctant to host him as they regarded him to be a mad man, but eventually they began to recognize his strange behaviour not as a sign of madness, but of the divinity of Deng.

Throughout his life he (Ngundeng) allegedly maintained a reputation as prophet, predicting the future, the most notable being that a left-handed Nuer man with a gap in the front teeth becoming a leader of the country. This prediction seems to have altered Machar’s academic reasoning, envisaging himself as the fulfilment of the prophecy (president); educated, left handed and a Nuer man.

As if a survey has been conducted and he (Machar) is the only one who befits the said character, he is unwilling to accept any peace negotiation or strategy that doesn’t put him closer to becoming the next president. His goals and strategies only revolve around the prophecy of his ancestor and not the real politics of the country. To curb down on his ego and deny him chances of luring naïve recruits for his ancestor’s cause, University of Bradford should consider revoking his PhD, period!

Nicholas Osobi is a Senior Revolutionary Columnist. He can be reached through his email at nicholas.osobi@columnist.com

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