Opinion Press Release

The Adulteration of the Legacy of the Struggle

By Mabior Garang de Mabior,

Dr. John Garang de Mabior Memorial in Juba South Sudan(Photo: via Joao Leitao)
Dr. John Garang de Mabior Memorial in Juba South Sudan(Photo: via Joao Leitao)

July 24, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — The legacy of the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior has been significantly quoted, however, it is hardly understood even by those that claim to have been his lieutenants. There is no legacy of the late Dr. John Garang, there is only the people’s struggle. The late John Garang was a Man that fulfilled his responsibilities as an individual to the people’s struggle. We should be speaking of the example of Dr. John Garang not his legacy. The legacy of Dr. John Garang de Mabior is destroying the Republic of South Sudan through its misuse by South Sudanese celebrity politicians.

The word legacy is defined by the Webster dictionary as: “1leg·a·cy noun \ˈle-gə-sē: something (such as property or money) that is received from someone who has died: something that happened in the past or that comes from someone in the past.” If this is applied to the political situation in South Sudan, and we invent something called the legacy of Dr. John Garang; it begs the question who is the heir to this legacy?

The answer to this question has divided the leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) as the different interest groups are contending over this legacy. The SPLM in Government under Salva Kiir, and the SPLM Political Leaders under Pagan Amum are fighting over the legacy to the exclusion of the third group under Dr. Riek Machar. The two groups the SPLM under Salva Kiir and the SPLM Political Leaders under Pagan Amum are in addition trying to assassinate the character of Dr. Riek Machar in the name of this legacy.

This barbaric war in the Republic of South Sudan arose out of a leadership crisis in the SPLM Polit-Bureau. The SPLM leaders; namely, Salva Kiir, Riek Machar, Pagan Amum, and Rebecca Garang had expressed their desire to contest for the chair of the SPLM at the National Convention scheduled for May 2013. The victor of these primaries would become the flag bearer for the SPLM at the general elections scheduled for April, 2015.

The Chairman of the SPLM recognizing that his popularity had waned, started to collude with his trusted henchmen to hatch a plot of eliminating those they perceived as a threat. The Chairman began his actions by dismissing the entire cabinet including his running mate Vice President Dr. Riek Machar on July 24, 2013. This was followed by the illegal dissolution of the structures of the SPLM on November 15, 2013.

The leadership of the Political Bureau countered by calling for a Press Conference on December 06, 2013 in which they exposed the dictatorial tendencies and rampant corruption in the government. The crisis came to a head on December 15, 2013 when the Chair of the SPLM in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces declared that he had foiled a coup and that he was moving to arrest the leaders. The President stated:

The SPLM is fully committed to peaceful and democratic transfer of power and will never allow political power to be transferred through violence. In response to the criminal acts of yesterday committed by these disgruntled groups and for the sake of the security and safety of our citizens I hereby declare a curfew to be observed from 06:00 AM – 06:00 PM until further notice…

The government will ensure that the culprits answer for their crimes before the appropriate law institutions…

The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces made these allegations prior to any investigation and without evidence. The leaders of the SPLM were subsequently rounded up and placed under arrest, while a private army trained, armed and financed by the Presidency conducted a house to house search, murdering 10,000 South Sudanese citizens (including women and children) between the 15 and 18 of December, according to a report by International Crisis Group (ICG). The community report puts the figure above 20,000.

The ethnic based massacre that took place in Juba from the 15 – 18 of December was carried out in the name of the coup allegation made by the C-in-C , that has since been disproven in South Sudan’s Courts. The violence that ensued in the name of this coup has now left South Sudan in a cycle of revenge killing leaving the most vulnerable of our citizens at risk.

The legacy of the late Dr. John Garang has been misused by the political elite within the SPLM while all along betraying that legacy. These celebrity politicians are using the legacy in order for their celebrity to be more renowned, they are trying to present themselves as the alternative to President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar in the eyes of the international community. The legacy of Dr. John Garang could have been used in order to continue the struggle to bring about fundamental change in the country. Alas!

The misuse of the idea of the legacy of Dr. John Garang led to a leadership crisis within the SPLM Political Bureau. The crisis in the SPLM Political Bureau consequently led to the Juba Massacre; and subsequently to the current fighting in the country. The leadership of the SPLM Political Leaders after conspiring to take power, albeit through peaceful means; have failed to take their responsibilities as leaders by dissociating themselves from the destruction that their challenge to President Salva Kiir’s leadership has visited on our people.

The SPLM Political Leaders after uniting against the tyranny of Salva Kiir and pledging to remove him from power using democratic processes, betrayed the movement that worked tirelessly to secure their release from illegal detention. The SPLM Leaders under Pagan Amum upon their released betrayed the movement under the false premise that they don’t believe in violence. They have gone further by trying to present themselves as the alternative on the basis of (supposedly) being the custodians of the legacy.

In conclusion the SPLM leaders and indeed South Sudanese leaders should not be talking about the legacy of Dr. John Garang, they should instead be talking about the example of the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior who sacrificed his whole life for the sake of the marginalized people of the Sudan. The SPLM political leadership should learn from this example and sacrifice everything for the people of South Sudan instead of being holier than the Pope.

Cpt. Mabior Garang de Mabior

Nairobi, Kenya – July, 2014

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