South Sudan war: Another Deborah Emerged

By Benny Gudo,

SPLA troops retreating from a battle field(Photo: file)
SPLA troops retreating from a battlefield(Photo: file)

May 19, 2017 (Nyamilepedia) —— As usual, in this commentary, I want to start by greeting my beloved comrades and friends of South Sudan, in particular, those sieged or bravely residing and traversing inside war- torn South Sudan. Hopefully, through our tenacious efforts and prayers, the Almighty God may one day raise HIS supreme hand to install your lost pride, joy, peace, freedom, justice and accountability in the land of South Sudan.

In spite of that, the business of the day rests with the resurgence of Deborah of our time in South Sudan, in form of Angelina Teny, wife of the rebel leader, Riek Machar. Angelina Teny, a British-educated politician par South Sudanese is an inspirational woman politician who took a leaf from the likes of Winnie Madikizela Mandela, former South African president’s wife. Winnie Mandela was popularly known by South Africans as ‘mother of the nation’ because of her resolute and selfless work which helped end the country’s apartheid system of racial segregation. Her influence gained traction when her husband, Nelson Mandela was sent to Robben Island prison between 1962-1990. Winnie spent 17 months in prison between 1969-1970 and she lived in internal exile from 1977 to 1985. Eventually, she became a heroine of the antiapartheid movement.

On the same vein, Angelina Teny is another Winnie in the making because of her love for the emancipation of South Sudanese. In particular, her resolve, unwavering support and magnanimity clearly typify that she is a force to reckon. Given that African politics is very rough,  Angelina’s firmness, resilience and patriotism is incontrovertible. A case in point is that Angelina walked with her husband and other comrades en masse for 40 days and 40 nights after July 2016 heavy fighting in Juba. Heavily armed  blood thirst SPLM-Dinka soldiers pursued Angelina Teny and her husband days and nights in the villages, rivers, mountains and forests of South Sudan without success because their lives were in the hands of God. At last, the two got indispensable assistance in neighboring DRC where they were uplifted to a safe zone.

Back home, their son perished in the hands of SPLM-Dinka, while their house in Juba was ransacked to the ground. On the other hand, hundreds of their supporters, relatives and friends were slained in cold blood.But albeit, against such backdrop, Angelina Teny never gave up. As I write, she is in Australia fighting for the same cause in the absence of her husband who is under house arrest in South Africa.

Undoubtedly, Angelina is another Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar in the making. Many people agree with me that it’s uneasy for woman to venture in politics of that sort especially in Africa where the political environment is awesome. In fact, the environment is wholly infested by hyenas, lions, cheetahs and snakes.

In the April 2010 elections Angelina Teny broke from her party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, and ran as an independent candidate for Governor of Unity State. Her main challenger was the incumbent governor Taban Deng Gai . Early reports showed she was leading by a wide margin against the other six contestants. The state electoral body announced that Taban Deng Gai won by 137,662 votes, beating Angelina Teny with 63,561 votes. The defeated parties said in a joint statement that there had been widespread rigging and called for a review by the National Elections Commission. Angelina Teny said she would not accept or recognize the results. Angelina Teny detailed many irregularities, including ejection of observers, missing ballot boxes, vote counts in excess of the number of registered voters and so on. Her campaign leader was arrested when he and members of his team tried to enter the State High Elections Committee’s office. Police shot dead two people and four others were injured when police opened fire on a crowd of protesters in the state capital, Bentiu. Angelina Teny called on her supporters to be calm and avoid violence, which has been endemic in Unity State, the main oil-producing area in South Sudan.

In the wake of this mess, Angelina Teny never quit politics, she is still seated in the Freedom Train of South Sudan, this time in the driver’s seat. So, in my view, it’s a wake-up call to those who think putting her husband in prison in South Africa may bring their desired outcomes. Nevertheless, fearless Angelina Teny, the Winnie Mandela of South Sudan will defy odds and outclass her opponents heavily.

Based on facts on the ground, South Sudanese man will soon smell the coffee as Angelina and Rebecca Garang rose to lead the revolution. On the same note, the international community, as well as regional leaders fast recognize the two especially at this juncture where man failed to iron out their trivial differences to stop the war. For this reason, chances are a woman might take over the affairs of South Sudan in order to restore peace and stability. Because what is necessary at this stage is to see peace in South Sudan whether it comes from a donkey, cat or rat, it does not matter.

I think it’s high time a man should change their condescending attitude because woman are also there and they have the zeal, exuberance and political prowess to steer South Sudan towards the correct trajectory. In South Africa, for example, Fredriek de Clerk tried it, through his apartheid system, to prosecute revolution leader Cde Nelson Mandela as a way of suppressing the blacks but Winnie Mandela rose to the occasion, took over the button to continue with the movement until South Africa attained independence in 1992. Is this what President Kiir and other Igad members want? If they want to smell it, they should:

Is this what President Kiir and other Igad members want? If they want to smell it, they should:

  1. continue force Riek Machar out of the region.
  2. continue to insist fighting.

Without exception, the nation of South Sudan is tired of consistent wars, as such, chances are very slim for war mongers to win legitimacy in the country, come to the election.

The state of Burma(Myanmar) is a very good example that I think the man of South Sudan should take a leaf from. When the nation gained its independence on 4 January 1948,  Burmese never tasted any peace nor smell it as a result of monarchies that emerged. The rights of Burmese were thrown in the cesspit by the military junta-led government. The affairs of the nation spilled into the hands of former military generals. Command economy substituted liberal economy. Most firms were under the purview of Ministry of Defence. On the other hand, hundreds political opponents went missing while others were murdered in cold blood.

Against such backdrop, another Deborah emerged in Burma, Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi rose to the occasion to fend off junta hegemony. She led the National League for Democracy Party (NLDP) to emancipate Burmese. Of significance, her message was welcome in Burma by people from all walks of life. For that reason, the military junta government was shaken to the core. Sensing danger, the government unleashed the brute force to thwart Suu Kyi’s party but it was too late because NLDP spreads like cancer in Burma. At last, the military junta government has defeated all systems out.

In short, keeping Riek Machar out of the region might exacerbate President Kiir’s downfall. This time not by man but a woman. Angelina Teny and Rebecca Garang have the zeal and exuberance to liberate South Sudan. I’m sure President Kiir and his darling, Taban Deng Gai are in the dark, very soon they shall smell the coffee.

I rest my case.

The author can be reached via: gudobenny@gmail.com

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