OpEd, Politics

Happy birth day, Dr. John Garang De Mabior

Happy belated posthumous birthday to you, Dr. John Garang de Mabior.

Born on June 23rd 1943, if Dr. John Garang de Mabior lived to-date, he would be 81 years and 8 days old today.

The founding father of the Republic of South Sudan, I wish I were an expert in Artificial Intelligence (AI) I would produce an 81-year-old Dr. John Garang De Mabior. How would he appear in a picture?

He would appear as unique as this. His baldness would expand a little bit to cover his occipital and parietal prominences. So, his head hair would appear in a thick line from the right frontotemporal border to the left. If he needed shaving, it would not take his personal barber long time to shave his head.

His hair and beards which were a mixture of grey and black would wholly be grey. Even some of his body hair would turn grey as well. His nasolabial folds and frontal wrinkles would increase and become prominent, accentuating his old age. His periorbitals would appear like they are swollen, but not.

His skin would feel thick as a result of age spots and become less smooth, marking loss of adequate subcutaneous fat. He would walk slowly stooping as a result of his spinal discs shrinkage and loss of elasticity. He would be complaining of poor eyesight, difficulty in hearing and forgetfulness, indicating reduction in sighting, hearing and memory capacity. And generally, John Garang would show every sign and symptom of old age.

As far as his political aspiration is concerned, he would have achieved all he had set to achieve and the achievement continues as he might have been in power this year. A number of his speeches would have been documented, with some being collected and published as books. He himself would have written books on his life as a scholar or his political career as a key personality in Africa and beyond.

I must admit the path South Sudan has chosen now would not be the path she would choose if Dr. John Garang were alive and still the President of South Sudan. Everyone knew South Sudan after John Garang would be as doom as Syria and any other country moving without a torch in the darkness.

Dr. John Garang was not a God to perform a miracle during hardships, but his informed decisions on the matters of South Sudan made him a lesser God. He was much closer to the citizens than to politicians who benefit from instability. In a crowd of roughly 500 people, Dr. John Garang would shake hands with at least 150 people; a thing Salva Kiir Mayardit has never done in his 19-year leadership period.

Dr. John Garang was a liberator just like Salva Kiir, but differ from him in a few ways. Both of them were lenient in the bush, but the leniency of Salva Kiir Mayardit has put South Sudan in a pool of hard-to-rehabilitate damages. John Garang was intolerable to corruption, tribalism, rebellion, and subversive politics.

But Salva Kiir Mayardit is a fan of corruption, tribalism, rebellion and subversive politics that has now fragmented South Sudan into tiny pieces. Not to be taken out of context, Salva Kiir Mayardit, as a president, admits that he is working with hyenas, in other words, corrupt individuals. But he does not bring corrupt individuals to book, try and punish them according to law.

Government officials, once appointed, employ their relatives, friends and concubines, hence cultivating a culture of tribalism and nepotism in public offices. Because rebels are given more rights and privileges than those who have not rebelled, rebellion has become a paved route to public offices.

Because politicians are as free as animals in forests, they practice politics of divide and rule. They take sharp knives and cut the then united communities of South Sudan into thousands of hard-to-weld pieces. This all happens at the watch of President Salva Kiir Mayardit and he takes no measures to stop them. It is something else, not leniency, I swear.

If Dr. John Garang de Mabior were alive, he would use his smart mind to control or eradicate corruption, tribalism, rebellion and divide and rule politics, which are the key determinants in the failure of South Sudan to thrive. If Dr John Garang were to rise today, he would be disappointed at his colleagues, especially Salva Kiir Mayardit.

He would get informed that the civil servants and soldiers have not received their salaries for nine months now. He would see more soldiers in forests than in barracks, and he would see them armed with more axes than guns. He would see more ministries operating in fabricated offices. The most painful thing of all, he would see his party, SPLM, operating in a fabricated office. He would see poor education, infrastructure and healthcare systems. The only thing he would see improved is the size of the government.

But the dismay is that, he would not rise, even for just an hour. If death had given two choices, to take John Garang’s life or position, we would tell death to take his position as the FVP of the Republic of Sudan and the President of the Government of Southern Sudan. His presence would help as the presence of Abel Alier, Joseph Lagu, Kongor Arop and Moses Machar is helping now. He would give pieces of advice and that would keep the sitting president on the right path.

At age 62, Dr. John Garang died young. Since nothing could be done to revert it, I wish his 81-year soul would guide the leaders of South Sudan to recover the economy, fully implement peace agreement and bring South Sudan back to the right path. The Sower is not always the harvester. Though gone, his rich legacy remains behind. Happy posthumous birthday to the visionary, revolutionary and characteristical leader, Dr. John Garang de Mabior Atem.

Thanks for reading “Sowing The Seed Of Truth”.

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