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John Garang Mabior and his legacy for South Sudan

Sometimes strange questions come into my mind but remembering a man who sacrificed a lot for his people such as John Garang de Mabior is highly emotional. Little is said about South Sudan but I can assure you that this is the pearl of Africa. Sudanese people define the most ancient empires in Africa. Actually, Sudan extended upto Senegal in the map of the great continent. Just below Egypt one would admire the great land of Sudan with different cultures and traditions.
Born in 1945, the young Garang had a dream and a vision. He lead Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), became a politician, a leader and a liberator. But too little is known of this man who defined the existence of the Republic of South Sudan. He died in plane crush in 2005, just few years after being appointed the Vice President of Sudan. He had to face it off with President Omar Al-Bashir, the leader of Sudan. He managed to convince the Arab dominated Sudan that he had a vision. He fought for a new Sudan. He rejected religious imposition on his people and lead the rebels, war of liberation.
Garang was one of the most intelligent, educated,charismatic and influential leader in Africa. His death only came too soon but he left a great legacy for the South Sudanese people to emulate. He cherished dialogue and made negotiations possible in Sudan. In 1962, he joined the Sudanese civil war. He was brought up in a poor background and humble family upbringing. He went through hard education but managed to get his PhD. Kings are not made, they are born. Leaders are not made, but born. He died on 30th of July 2005 while travelling back from Kampala after negotiations. Such a great leader cannot go without making both foes and friends…!
The interest of this blog is on how principles, ethics and values can make a rebel leader be a statesman. If anything, Dr. John Garang, a Christian from Dinka ethnic group, had ethics, principles and values. Wisdom defined his leadership and whoever met him in life, will never forget the face of a great African leader. The war he fought should not go invain.
He came to Kenya as a child where the government of Jomo Kenyatta arrested him for being in the country illegally. Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, the then, the vice President worked for his quick release. Jaramogi did not see in the young Garang a future liberator for the African people. Garang went to Tanzania where he met the current President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni. He got his way to the USA where he underwent his studies at the university.
It is a long walk to freedom. It is real that the fight and killings going on today in South Sudan would have been there if Dr. Garang were in life. It is the plead that the hard won independence may bring peace to the South Sudanese people. Political leaders must learn how to talk and protect the lives of thousands of citizens whose life is at stake. It is not Dinka or Nuer that will save the nation of which Garang had in mind, but all the citizens put together. Ethnicity and differences must be shunned in the young nation and the rest of multi-ethnic African nations. African leaders must now give chance to ethics, standards, ubuntu, African customary law and pan-Africanism.
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About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

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