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Sudan mourns a fearless Anglican Archbishop

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By Manasseh Zindo

September 19, 2009 — Sudan is mourning the death of her Third Anglican Archbishop who succumbed to his to illness on Friday September 18, 2009 in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. Sadness greeted me this morning when I was woken by a phone call to be informed that the Most Revd Joseph Biringi Marona is dead. I immediately called the current Archbishop Daniel Deng who confirmed that Marona was no more. His body will be flown from Khartoum to Juba, the headquarter of Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) where he will be laid to rest alongside his predecessors.

I cannot account my emotion without remembering October 20, 1998 when my late father was taken from us in a cruel, road carnage. Retired Archbishop Marona, 68, and my later father Daniel Zindo were known as twin bishops when they were consecrated in 1984 by the first Archbishop of Sudan The Most Revd Elinana J Ngalamu. I remember the colourful ceremony very well in Yambio. They were first consecrated in Maridi Cathedral where Marona would later become the first Bishop. My father was then enthroned as the second bishop of Yambio replacing the late Bishop Yeremaya Datiro who died in 1983.

My siblings and I would from the 1984 onward acquaint ourselves with Marona and Mama Eunice his wife. We would welcome them to Yambio frequently and they would reciprocate in Maridi. The twin hypothesis of Marona and Daniel Zindo was that they were nearly age mate, born in 1941 and 1942 respectively of parents who did know each other. The two men at some stage attended missionary school in Yambio in the 1950’s but the Lord would bring them together as the youngest priests to be consecrated bishops at 42 (Zindo) and 43 (Marona).

Archbishop Marona was loved in Yambio as he was in his own Diocese and he knew almost every priest in Yambio by name. When the civil war broke out in Western Equatoria the twin bishops were all away in Khartoum where they were confined but they Lord would one year later after the liberation of Yambio reunite them with their families in exile as Maridi became a bloody town where thousands of people were killed as the well equipped government forces resisted incursion by the rebel Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA).

Marona’s family had fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1990 while we went to Central Africa Republic (CAR). In 1993 Bishop Zindo returned from exile to work in the SPLA controlled area, his twin brother in the Lord followed him and back again they were in full control of their respective Dioceses. As it is commonly the case in leadership Marona and Zindo had to deal with bitter rivals from within their own clergy who felt they were short-changed when the two men were transparently elected bishops. Because of these enmities Zindo would later survive death attempts on his life including a well calculated car crash in the 1985 which he survived as his time was yet to come.

The two newly consecrated bishops were to encounter tougher times ahead when ECS was plunged into leadership crisis with Marona and Zindo standing by the newly and constitutionally elected Archbishop of ECS, His Grace Benjamin Wani Yugusuk who was recognised by the worldwide Anglican body as the primate of Sudan. The crisis emanated because the first Archbishop of Sudan His Grace Elinana Ngalamu did not accept his retirement and went on to consecrate rival bishops in each Diocese. It was difficult time for the ECS as I saw it.

Back to the twin bishops. In 1994 Zindo who was until then the Dean of ECS and Archbishop Yugusuk with Marona as the Secretary of the Episcopal Council managed to work out a modality that recognised the bishops consecrated unconstitutionally and ECS was once again reunited. In the same year, renowned Catholic bishop of Torit Paride Taban stepped down as chairman of the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC), and Zindo was elected the new chair. He stepped down after his three term in office expired to assume his new role as the Acting Archbishop of ECS following the retirement of Archbishop Benjamin Yugusuk.

The story of Zindo and Marona resemble that of American tennis stars and twin sisters Serena and Venus Williams who once in a while are called to face each other in their quest for supremacy in tennis. Zindo and Marona faced each other in 1984 as well when they were consecrated assistant bishops under Yambio Diocese where there was a vacant, and one of them had to become Diocesan bishop. In the contest Zindo was elevated the Diocesan Bishop and Marona was his assistant until Maridi became a full-fledged Diocese.

Following Zindo’s departure at the helm of NSCC in 1997, Marona replaced him as the chairman and also served his three term in office. When Zindo suddenly died in a car crash, Marona replaced him as Dean and acting Archbishop until his election as the third Archbishop of ECS in bitterly contested election as we saw it in Limuru Kenya in 2000. Marona emerged and defeated his closest challenger Bishop Michael Lugor of Rajaf Diocese.

I met Marona many times and remember him very fondly that I do not know which occasion to account for but the most exciting encounter for us was in 1999. I was in London and Archbishop Marona was in the UK, he was travelling from Salisbury Diocese to meet Archbishop George Carry of Canterbury at the Lambeth Palace, and there was no body to receive him on arrival. Canon Andrew Deuchar then Secretary for Anglican Affairs at the Lambeth Palace asked me if I could receive Marona at Waterloo Station and take him over to the Palace. I accepted and was driven to the nearby Waterloo station. Marona arrived, looked around and started walking towards the exit; I don’t know where he was going, probably to take a taxi to the Palace. I approached him and he was amazed to see me, we hugged each other (the Sudanese way) and I look him to the Lambeth Palace.

Although the inevitable was to occur because of his deteriorating health, I did not expect it so soon. I last saw him in Juba in 2005 in poor health and he told me that he would opt for early retirement which he eventually did, and for which I saluted him for the bold decision. In this part of the world of ours, leaders want to cling to power until death but that was not Marona.

When he became the Archbishop in 2000 and accepted to return to Khartoum, it was a bold move too because we feared for his life but he was a fearless man who believed in God. God loved him and has now relieved him from this troubled world. I pray for Mama Eunice and the many children he was fathering. It is my prayer that the Lord will continue to take care of them.

Now that he has been reunited with his twin brother in heaven, I want to pay countless tribute to their reminiscence and exemplary work as bishops. They fought good fight and finished the race, may God reward them for dedicated service as true soldiers of the ministry to which they were called by God.

Manasseh Zindo is a Sudanese Media Personality, currently studying for a Masters Degree in Peace Studies & International Relations in Nairobi Kenya, and son to the late Bishop Daniel Zindo. E-mail: manassehz@yahoo.com



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  • 20 September 2009 13:06, by Michael Madit Magot

    May God Almighty rest the soul of his lordship Marona in peace.
    He will be remembered as the archbishop who spreaded a word of God in Sudan.
    His followers like Daniel Deng Bul will fill the gap left by his demise.
    However, his demise would be greatly felt especially in Southsudan where he played important role in bringing peace about between the north and the south.

    Rest in peace!!!

    repondre message

    • 20 September 2009 14:12, by TRUEMAN

      Archbishop Marona’s demise will give we the Nuer chance to lead.
      He had been blocking Riek Machar’s aspiration for leadership.

      Thank God he has gone!

      repondre message

      • 20 September 2009 15:07, by Sunlight

        Dear Truman,

        First, I would like to pass my sincere condolance to the entire Sudanese people and the family of the late most Rev. Dr.Marona for the untimely death.May our Lord Jesus keep his soul among the Saints and angels.

        I’m a die-hard supporter of H.E Dr.Riek Machar, but you have really hurted my feeling with your uncalculated and irresponsible comment.

        Dr.Riek is not in need of someone’s death to assume his natural position. Please don’t taint this gentleman’s name like what our brothers Dinkas are doing.

        H.E Machar will lead the South as a suitable candidate not as an opportunist waiting for somebody’s death. Mind your language please...

        Regards

        repondre message

        • 21 September 2009 02:20, by thieleling

          Sunlight,

          First of, my sincere condolence to the family of our Great Rev. Dr. Marona and sudanese in general. May God rest him in peace! Please check Trueman’s writing on this website. Trueman is a Dinka, not Nuer. But that is his way of being cunning thief and clever ploy to depict others. The other south sudanese can see for themselves.

          Our Rev. Dr. Marona’s death is not a joking matter where desperation of hopelessness on tribal matter would be employed. This shows lack of culture of respect of where Trueman comes from.

          repondre message

    • 20 September 2009 23:32, by Chief Nanga

      May the Almighty God rest his soul in peace.
      The late RT Rev. Dr Joseph Marona, we will miss you in body; but you will be with us in spirit!!! Rest in peace.

      repondre message

  • 20 September 2009 16:24, by Akol Liai Mager

    If we can understand simple things like "One bad Onion does spoil a whole sack" we will not doubt for seconds that our behaviours in Sudan will spoil this planet and God may intervene and punish human kind again and for good because of a tiny minority in Sudan.

    I never come across people who celebrate a death of a person in Africa, I hear and see it in Arab and Islamic world, but now its become a hyena cry right here. I am shocked to see those words used to express a human feeling, may Almighty God forgive us.

    Lord Jesus should intervene, not to end life, but to change our behaviours to value lives again as we used to do.

    Again, I would like to recommend a book for reading. I believe that book will help us help ourselves to know who we are, what we intend to do and what kind of rewards should we expect just for doing that. The Book’s title is; "The Power of Intention" and the Author name is; "Dr Wayne Dyer". Please, find this book and you and and do not hesitate condemn me for that after reading it if you find it useless.

    I wish Riek Machar have time to join this Web forum to disassociate himself from these behaviours.

    repondre message

    • 20 September 2009 17:09, by gatkuothdiew

      Dear readers: Trueman, Sunlight,Akoi,Door,

      This is painful. Your imput on this case does not help anything at all.
      First, incase the communities may not be affected, anyone must use his right name.
      The names like TRUEMAN and SUNLIGHT do not make any sense at all.
      The website should have ban such names to avoid such occurrences.

      Nobody can celebrate anyone’s death.
      Even Arab do not celebrate a person’s death as wrongly said by one among you.
      Human live is a sacred thing worldwide.
      If indeed mr Trueman is a Nuer then our future as a community is at great risk.
      Otherwise the man might be sick and require special treatment.

      Let’s practice mature debate free from tribal utterances.
      On behave of Nuer i apologise to anyone who might be offended by mr Trueman’s sudden outburst.

      The website must take control of the situation by deleting any comment that can cause controversy.

      By Gatkuoth Diew.

      repondre message

      • 20 September 2009 19:55, by Gatwech

        Gatkuoth Diew,

        TRUEMAN is a Dinka. Just refer back to his comments yesterday and the day before yesterday. You will see how he insults the Nuer and talks proud of his tribe, the Dinka. He shamelessly used the death of this great man to voice out his foolish tactics which will instead show that somebody among the Dinka can be that stupid. He foolishly think he was setting the Nuer against others that will read his irresponsible comment. This is very stupid culture, indeed.

        repondre message

        • 20 September 2009 20:28, by Gatwech

          Dear readers,

          Please so that you know that TRUEMAN is from the Dinka tribe, I refer you to his list of demands for Dr. Riek Machar to be President of South Sudan. Read his comment on the opinion article entitled "SPLM’s candidature’s questions: The bold stumbles" written by Amos C. Ngueny on 18th September, 2009.

          Here is TRUEMAN’s comment on that article:

          TRUEMAN
          Conditions Riek Machar must fulfil to be SouthSudan president.

          1) He must convert to Dinka( i doubt if Dinka will accept him).

          2) Riek must accept and apologise for 1991 massacre.

          3) He must call Dinkas saviours

          4)He must acknowlegde Dinka as their brave and heros.

          5) Riek must accept Dr Garang as his hero.

          6)He must denounce and condemn Ngundeng prophesies as evilish and refute being called the anointed one.

          7)He must go to Dr Garang’s Bortown school and learn politics.

          8)He must believe in God and pray to Dinka for forgiveness.

          9)Riek must arrest his greed for power and believe in Dinka as a ticket to his leadership.

          10)He must not be slave-hearted as Arabs’ stooge.

          11)He must confess that he is Omar El bashir’s second wife.

          12)Riek must declare Nuer as second class to Dinka.

          13)He must believe in Dinka prophet KON Ajith.

          14)He must confess that he had a hand in Dr Garang’s death.

          15)Riek must vow to Kiir as his hero.

          16)Riek has to confess that he has a hand in Jonglei conflicts.

          All the above conditions can give Riek Machar the south presidency. He either accept them or go to hell with his evilish Nuer.

          repondre message

          • 20 September 2009 20:32, by Gatwech

            This Bor-Dinka old man calling himself TRUEMAN is spoiling the image and culture of Dinka as a people. To celebrate over the death of the Bishop shows the most stupidity on this planet earth. Why does he want Dinka culture to look stupid and inferior? Other Dinkas who have sense should rebuke this man. He is a shame. I can even see that the first commentator who is also a Dinka rushed to talk about Bishop Daniel Bul to take over from the deceased Bishop. Is this the intention to celebrate. Oh, God, such inhumane and evil spirits among the great people of South Sudan.

            repondre message

            • 20 September 2009 23:12, by gatkuothdiew

              Gatwech,

              This man’s outragious behaviour might have been caused by your comment against their tribe on this website.
              You and Kim Deng has been calling the death of Dr Garang a blessing and even went further to say that he went to hell.
              Can you imagine how they will feel?
              I appreciate giving me those comments mr Trueman made the other day but iam not in a mood to accept them as his own work since you had been hurling bad words against their leader.
              Dr Garang did an extremely excellent job during his life time and all must thank him and wish him a good stay in paradise.
              Dinka as a whole owe my sincere trust for being firm in the liberation struggle.

              I sometimes regret being born a Nuer when i recollect how we let down the moment.
              Riek must face all he deserve and we as a tribe has to distance ourselves from him.
              He is not our leader as Nuer but the whole south and we must not frequently jump into defending him when others say something about him.

              You were not appointed by Nuer to come to sudantribune website to say shit about our tribe.

              Cease from this nonsense talk now.
              You have seen how your actions are affecting our community.

              Again i deeply regret being a Nuer! Sorry

              repondre message

              • 21 September 2009 03:46, by thieleling

                Gatkuothdiew,

                Did you say you regret being a Nuer?

                You don’t have to be a self-hating Nuer to advise our brother Gatwech. See, you almost believe Trueman is a Nuer if Gatwech didn’t get you his correction info. He is a Dinka posting as a Nuer to ruin Nuer image. There are so many Dinkas bashing Nuers on this web. Gatwech is just refuting and telling the truth.

                People like Trueman are cunning thieves & cleverly corupted brothers. they don’t tell the truth as you have seen the factual truth forwarded by Gatwech. We can’t authenticate if you are a Nuer. But if this minor exchange can make you regret being a Nuer already, then how much of a Nuer are you really? Authentic Nuer attitude speaks for itself. This is a minor trivial & petty thing to denounce being a Nuer.

                repondre message

                • 21 September 2009 09:07, by Gatwech

                  thieleling,

                  Gatkuoth Diew is not a Nuer but is Mr. Zechariah Manyok Biar with his multiple false identities to confuse who is who on the website. Just forget about whatever comments he will be making on this website.

                  repondre message

                  • 21 September 2009 09:37, by thieleling

                    Gatwech,

                    I was suspecting the same thing. I just wanted to see what logic he would present denouncing being a Nuer. Gatwech, Your active alertness & great intelligence is appreciated. I am not surprise though about your great detective superior-minded. It is in the blood. Keep it up! Manyok is so many alias on this web. I even suspect Trueman to be him as well. Let quickly reads between lines whenever.

                    Thanks!

                    repondre message

      • 21 September 2009 11:51, by Akol Liai Mager

        Dear Gatkuoth Diew, in the bottom of my heart and without more elaborations, I pologise for above comment I made yesterday. I didn’t meant to hurt innocent people and I am sorry for that.

        repondre message

  • 20 September 2009 22:47, by Tuaks

    I would like to pass my condolences to Episcopal Church`s community in Sudan and to family of our late beloved Brother the most Revd Dr Marona may God receive him in His Kingdom. As for who called himself as Mr Trueman, I do not see any connection between Dr Riek`s desire of power and the death of the most Rev Marona. As we know that Dr Riek after his repentance and submission to Southern Community he restored his position as a son of the Southern ,not as NUEEEEER. I do respect all our tribes, as for this case let me just proposed that Nure once led Dr Riek down, as a result he severely failed because he was for Nuer. Dr Riek became Vice President of Southern Sudan not because he was qualify for the post or because he was the only capable Nuer but the fact was , he worth the position as a result of death of our Great Leader Dr Garang add to that the forgiveness of our people he deserved because that time he made a fair decision by his returning back to his original place as SPLA warrior and a defender of our Soil, I dearly respect him . I am not a Nuer but I respect our diverse of ethnicity, and cultures. I know you are blind person and may be you do not know that Nuer is a Dinka and a Dinka is Nuer and Nuer, Shilluk, Dinka, Jurchol, Anuak, Achouli rooted from Lou. I do not see any reason or obligation for all these masses. DR Riek is our son and he has a right to contest , I want us to make sure that Nuer alone will not be able to enthrone DR Riek, in my opinion as a southerner the only way to satisfy the hunger of Dr Riek is only through the tribes of the South and only by means of Democracy only by force, I am sure we will make possible for Dr Riek to Rule. Sothern Sudan is not For Nuer and Dinka is for all, and I want next President to come from Wau or Equatoria or from Nuba Mountains or even from Angasna.
    You are undermining Dr Riek by treating him as a representative of Nuer tribe.
    Let me say that to be a Nuer is not bad, but to think that Nuer will subdue the South that is impossible. Do not consider Ngundeng as prophet because he is a false prophet, and do not walk according to his false prophecies,
    Let us respect our Elders and our Leader despite their Ethnic background and weaknesses.
    My last word is to the lost cheep: Dr Lam Akol, I beg you to repent and return back to your people your SPLM- DC will isolate Shilluk from Southern Community, and cause severe destruction to the South, You shall be forgiven.

    repondre message

    • 21 September 2009 09:18, by Gatwech

      Tuaks,

      First let me correct you that Dr. Riek Machar did not and will never repent or submit to any dude in the South because there is no reason for him to repent. Championing self-determination for the people of the South in 1991 is never a crime but a blessing.

      I have not heard you saying something about your evil community member, TRUEMAN who foolishly uttered those stupid comments pretending to be from the Nuer. Another first commentator from Dinka also rushed to say that Bishop. Deng Bul will now take over that Bishop Dr. Morana has died. Don’t you see how such stupid comments makes your Dinka culture inferior and stupid?

      repondre message

      • 21 September 2009 14:09, by Tuaks

        Dear Brother Gatwech, Thank you so much for you message, God bless you I am pleased to answer your questions. In my opinion what is need here is transparency, and wisdom for initiation of brainstorming. I wrote that message, purposely to bring about the Unity and Solidarity in Southern Sudan, I did not say That Dr Riek Should Apologize and Repent simply because he had already apologized and repented when he returned back to his people and his origin to resume fighting and struggling against the NIF, what I have indicated was about DR Lam Akol you can prove this if you go back and Read all my comments, I never insulted or denounced any Tribe, and I will not do it, I am not that type of people. Regarding your message ,You said that , or Do you what to say that the Barbaric incidences of 1991 (disaster,,, raping , looting , massacre , and all types of dehumanization which were committed by the savages and barbarians Armed forces against innocent victims were heroic and bravoes action? Do think that DR Riek Macher had achieved his goal by his aggressive behavior and desire of cleansing and all shameful things? I do not think even Dr Riek had expected the consequences and even never assumed that he would lose controlling his barbaric Militia.
        Addition to the killing of non Nuer even Dinkas and others tribes who were supporting him against DR Garang , then what happen Dinka and Nuer, and even Nuer among themselves engaged in an everlasting series of fighting , as a result of that ( Here not only Riek but others involved ) Fighting widely occurred between tribes, sub tribes, and clans, and families. May be DR Riek miscalculated the outcomes before he plan and embarked on an action of overthrowing Dr John Garang, In my opinion He should have had read or assess the given environment.

        YOU know that Painful barbaric activities of1991 initiated our breaking point, and the result as any it was expected was that the entire South were the losers and NIF won the war not the Nuer, any way Let forget about for the sake of our next generation and let us work together for SOUTHERN SUDAN NATION the chosen people and the promised land, this is not from Ngundeng Prophecies but quoted from The HOLY BIBLE Isaiah 18. Why should Nuer die for Ngundeng since you know that you are part of GOD`S people? MY Objectives is bringing people together and sensitize our people to build bridges of Peaceful Coexistence, to achieve this just you need to take you part as positive citizen.
        Concerning your Friend Trueman, I think I have addressed him through this message .I am not a Dinka as you assumed, but I am a typical example of the good Southern Sudanese in other words I am mixed of three Major Upper Nile tribes( Shilluk, Dinka, and Nuer)and I have cousins from NUER, DINKA, SHILLUK, ANUAK, MURLE, MORO, BARIA, JURCHOL, and NUBA.AND Nephews and niece from all tribes of the southern and the North, I wish I answered you question, except my invitation for Building culture of peace co existence in our community( Janub AL Sudan )in order to save our community from evil of tribalism.
        We need to build up united Nation from our tribes. Let us support our GOVERNMENT (GOSS and our Bravest SPLA). I know that some of our political leaders are corrupt but it does not mean that we should destroy our home, because of that , you will not find a perfect community that why I insist that the need is to reform and fix what is damage collectively as a duty and responsibility.
        Let us make Sudan Tribune a good place force brainstorming not for fostering tribalism let use it as a tool for building sustainable and strong political leadership to defend the CPA and to face the SAF and the entire terrorist world the SPLA is CAPABLE even to separate the SOUTH before 2011.

        repondre message

        • 21 September 2009 16:23, by BUSTA 2

          All those who have commented here are so stupidy and fools!!

          The article is talking about mourns of Anglican Archbishop not the useless Southerners fake politicians who have no vision for even their families.

          This man is the man of God not politician rather did he have interestin in participating in politics.
          If you have nothing to say just shut up your ugly mouths.

          Brother in Christ ,

          Busta 2

          repondre message

          • 21 September 2009 19:23, by Gatwech

            Tuaks,

            To correct you with your imaginery apology of Dr. Riek Machar, he never apologized and will never apologize because of championing self-determination. He merged with Dr. Garang in 2002 because Garang accepted the right of self-determination to be the objective of the movement. This is what we are enjoying its fruits today and this is what Dr. Riek championed in his 1991 historic move. May God continue to bless him in carrying out the debates on self-determination towards its achievment in 2011.

            I advise you Mr. Tuaks not to waste your time and allow yourself to live in the prison of the past. Get real with the current situation in Bor or Jonglei. Civilians are now killing themselves under Kuol Manyang Juuk’s failed administration. What do you do? It is like the same killings between civilians in 1991 at Bor. Just think of the present and the future not being a prisoner of a fabricated past.

            Sorry Busta 2 for these heartless commentators who provoked me by commenting irrelevant issues to the topic of the untimely death of our great Bishop. Can’t you see that they just rush to say that their Bor-Dinka Biship, Daniel Deng Bul will now take over because the Bishop has died. Very stupid comment in deed by the first commentator. May God rest his soul in eternal peace.

            repondre message

            • 21 September 2009 19:31, by Tuaks

              To the disguised coward: Mr BUSTA
              It is clear that you have not read all posted comments otherwise you’re a coward and lying .If you really read all of them you would have found my condolences.
              Let me ask you, what do you about God and God`s servants? Your last comment was not event about the death of the Archbishop, but was completely dedicated to insult people, and this shows your character and personality, you are such coward who behaves like a child.
              You have deviated out of the Line. How dare you insult your uncle friends in an occasion like this? My last comments were a response to Gatwick. BUSTA or whoever you are, I know you , but control your tongue and stop not presuming to be a wise man, your comment has unveiled the mask from you ugly faced and disclosed your personality. Read James Chapter 3 please read the whole chapter.
              The sudden death of man of God is a lost for all of us, please respect yourself, and work for the GOOD.
              BUSTA you are a sick person who need to be treated as maniac.

              repondre message

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