Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 8 December 2011

Who’s the Founding Father of the Republic of South Sudan?

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By Isaiah Abraham

December 7, 2011 — I’m probing to seek genuine answers not to provoke anyone or anything against our heroes, dead or alive. History is a beautiful thing, if it is interfered with and poorly written it back fire against values that guided human dignity and honor. Every leader in our case is a founding father in his/her own right, and the public will have no choice but to accord them the necessary place in the annal of our history. We owe them utmost appreciation for what they have done for the freedom of our people!

Now that the liberation dusk has settled, and the mission is over, to whom should we tie this title called ‘father of the nation’ or ‘founding father of the Republic’? This is an important question whose time is right. The other day in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in Juba, I found a beaming man distributing small books written by so-called Bahr El Ghazal Council headed by the former Chief Justice Judge Ambrose Riiny Thiik, in which they have labeled Kiir as the Founding Father of the Republic and Garang as the founder of the New Sudan Vision and Nation. May be there are other books in which Garang was equally given the same title (founding father of the nation). If that is the case, then there is a problem that needs deciphering.

I find it less talk about matter (because of its sensitivity), but for us in the media we always go for the truth and solutions for any anomaly or vague picture. Keeping quiet and allow the matter to die alone won’t help. It won’t die naturally, it will hurt many, it has to be made clear on the onset. Talking underground either isn’t a nice thing to do. Mr. Ambrose mind has this argument: that Kiir should be the man, since in Kiir watch, the freedom of our nation and its proclamation were consummated. To them Garang is like any other great leader such as Saturino Ohure, Emelio Tafeng, Joseph Lagu etc. I don’t have to stand on their way of thinking.

The issue here by the way is not about personalities but about us. Every leader we have had is fresh in our memory including every martyr that died in the course of our freedom. We are free at last and proudly grateful for a job well done by our leaders. The challenge now is whether we could keep up with the cause they have been fighting most of their lives. May we make the dreams of our leaders a reality. May we have a truly united and stable country under President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his able Assistant and man of the people H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny! May we have showers of blessing anytime from now, and that we should live in peace among ourselves and towards our friends.

Having prayed and sincerely wish that things go for better for our people, I however don’t see any reason of taking you away from our topic. To this little author, there is no incentive to deny a credit to one of our great leaders and award it instead to his colleague in the arm struggle Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. Gen. Kiir is aware of it, and always reserves himself a second fiddle accolade (at least publicly) to his brother and boss Dr. John Garang. Some people have tried the button of malice on the expense of Garang’s legacy, but Comrade Kiir has resisted them, and I wish he continuous that way. Garang for starters was too heavy a man, so superior, unique and anything (a joker if you like). He was original and wasn’t a pretender, but above all was an inspirer and a visionary, qualities that critical for a leader of any nation.

Let’s briefly define the majestic phrase ‘ father of the nation’ before we visit other historical leaders of other countries. According to Oxford English Dictionary, “father of the nation’ “ is an honorific title given to a man considered the driving force behind the establishment of the country, state or nation”. Also The Free Dictionary put it that: the founder of the nation is “a person who founds or establishes some institution”. By face value of that brief definition therefore, you could go on making your own conclusion (s)..

Remember it is not about achieving independence or being the first president that makes anyone the founding father of the nation. That is not necessarily the case! It is rather a recognition for a cumulative and extraordinary efforts an individual has exerted in the formative stages of a nation.

For example in Egypt, Saad Zaghloul (1859-1927) couldn’t have been recognized as the founding father of the Egyptians if an independence ticket was attached to that title. The first president of Egypt was Mohammed Naguib (in 1952). Namibia on the other hand became an independence nation under Sam Nujoma; he was sworn in as first President after his SWAPO took over from the South Africans in 1990. But the founder of that nation remains none other than Hosea Kutako, not Nujoma. Tunisian Habib Bourgaiba is known as the father of that nation but before him were others that witnessed the achievement of independence, why? Because of what he has established there, something others before him didn’t do, and what other after him were and will try to build on.

Sierra Leone Thomas Peters became a founding father among many more because of his ‘driving force’ when he convinced the British Abolitionists to help settle 1,192 Black American. The same is true in China with Sun Yatsen, who is currently holding the title the ‘father of the nation’. Everyone could think that Mao Zadong is the founding father of the Chinese people, but that is not the case. Indian Vallabhhai Patel freed that country from British rule, but still the honorific title was given to Mahtma Ghandi (1869-1948).

Liberians Joseph Jenkins Roberts became a governor in 1841 for seven years, but that country wasn’t colonized. He is the current founding father of the Liberian Republic. South Africa is struggling now to rewrite their history by giving the title to Nelson Mandela but before him in the then Free Orange State were Jacobus Groenendall, Josias Philip Hoffman, Pieter Jeremias, Francis William Reitz etc. Afghanistan Ahmed Shah Abdali who is the founding father of that nation came earlier before others, and he is recognized for his efforts in 1747. We can go and on, but the point we are making is that it is not about someone overseeing an independence that makes anyone an automatic founding father, it is about what a nation think someone has tangibly contributed for a nation building. I thought Garang could be a serious contender there.

You may disagree or not, yet it is essential to be careful before we rush to give everyone that title when he doesn’t deserves it. Kiir to me has done something but its too early to crown him the founding father of our nation. We would be doing injustice to his predecessor who actually erected our foundation (at my best judgment). May be we need to be generous to give it to Garang, prejudices aside. I’m seeing President Kiir being push so hard, the people that are doing such things aren’t helping him in any way.

I don’t know why some people become so tribalistic and parochial in their heads against the ordinary. I doubt whether we are sincere. Mr. Ambrose and others please don’t Gogrialize this title, leave Kiir alone; he is there because Garang was there (do you get it right). Kiir is one of the founders of the SPLM and First President of the Republic of South Sudan, nothing more.

In summation let’s have this matter known, not each interested group projected it in books or someone writing it somewhere, it confuses the public. We want to give credit to one among equals someone who has done an extraordinary efforts for our freedom. I don’t know who is legally responsible to put this matter to rest, but I pressume that the Ministry of Heritage could initiate the process, then Council of Ministers to pass it to Parliament and finally it is there promalgated. Since there is huge conflict of interests, say some groups that have now engage in crowning Kiir, it will take a while for this matter to be resolve. I salute Abu Sala with all of my heart!!!

Isaiah Abraham lives in Juba; he can be reached at Isaiah_abraham@yahoo.co.uk



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  • 8 December 2011 22:58, by Aristotle

    @ Abram, you are absolutely right, in Africa tradition, if you inherit your brother wife, it does mean you are the first husband,your role is to foster for the wellbeing of yr brother family. All the children u produced are still named to yr dead brother.Those of Ambrose should use other begging methods other over-giving innocent Kiir a title of his Predecessor.

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    • 9 December 2011 08:40, by Kur William

      Abram thank man you are true guy in African history and in Sudan as well therefore for this assumation of title I think the nature of struggle will dictate the answer by it self who is founder of nation and I believe Kirr doesn`t deserve this title.

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    • 9 December 2011 17:58, by $ 10,000,000

      The only two people who are right on this debate are only Tut Oyuek and Wetdut. But Tut is totally right

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      • 10 December 2011 00:42, by Elijah B. Elkan

        Mr. 10. It so painful to read some of the idiotic comments about who knows what.Are these comments a translations from what language?.Many are rubbish and don’t make senses at all. Mr. Abraham is int-tile to his opinion,and does not make it a fact.Abraham always worried about Dinka superiority now he has to stirs pot of beans hopping it will work this time. Abraham you can’t win this PR war’s dude

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        • 11 December 2011 17:54, by $ 10,000,000

          Just call Garang the father of Bor!

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    • 9 December 2011 18:05, by $ 10,000,000

      No body should be considered father of RSS. It is us all but we appreciate those who devoute their time to liberation cause like Dr. John and the rest. History changes overtime and you should know that even the emblem and pictures on money will change too given another different period of time. Even Geprge Arthur want to change the flag, picture himself on SSP. Anything that is at work is just..co

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      • 9 December 2011 18:10, by $ 10,000,000

        When time and regimes change, corruption will diminish and new symbols such as flags and emblem will change too. Every leader changes some laws amended by predecessors most of the times. Even Gai Tut too was fight for the liberation of the South but they became enemies with Dr. John over who is to be the leader

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  • 9 December 2011 07:40, by Abu shery Nyang

    In my humble opinion, I think, jumping to conclusion that; President Kiir should be the father of the nation, is immature decision, just,to say the least. who can predicted the future?. The man may turns into a monster in a year or two,God forbid, who knows?, therefore, the issue is too early to decide. We still have a long way to go. This is my perspective!!. Daniel

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  • 9 December 2011 08:58, by AUGUSTINO DENG

    Dear Mr.Isaiah Abraham,

    In reality, the Late Dr.John Garang is the "Founder Father of the Republic of South Sudan" period. Salva Kiir Miyardit, on the other hand is a predecessor. On my own analysis, Salva Kiir is not completely a founder father of the Republic of South Sudan. To me, Salva Kiir Miyardit is a helper, but not a founder father.

    By Augustino Deng. Jech la mer from Tharpam.

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    • 9 December 2011 09:40, by Chagai Lokuno Bai

      Thank Abraham for bringing this into the forum of S.Sudanese. I don’t really know what kind of people are those of Lawyer Thiik Riny, Shame on them. I don’t believed Salva can accept that name. There can be many national fathers so Salva is a second. According to the contrast you have posted, they are dead wrong completely. History can not be built on wrong information to the next generation.

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  • 9 December 2011 10:09, by Man manning

    To Southern Sudanese: it is unpronounceable to say Kiir is the "Father of the nation" absolutely and incredibly WRONG perception. Ask Kiir if he will agree with that shit idea.Riiny wanted to practice law and publication/writtings.He is doing an attachment but not a real lawyer with his degree or work experience. Otherwise he won’t have attempted to cite that Kiir is the Father of the nation.

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  • 9 December 2011 10:53, by Wetdut

    The founding father of Republic of S Sudan is our heavenly father. your question is not revelant, land is created by God and we all found ourselves there, so who should we particulary point our fingers to as a founder? you should have ask the beginning or history of liberation instead. First of all you have confused your names Isiah and Ibrahim which are two different names.

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    • 9 December 2011 11:36, by Akuma

      Good for you Isaiah, it is quiet unfortunate that you too involved in tribalistic thoughts, you see, Gogrial is not for one clan where Ambrose Rinny Thiik came from. He assume that for himself under his responsibility and even President Kiir is not in position to welcome that idea positively. My point here is, don’t make accuses against Gogrial otherwise former President of Autonomous Region of So

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      • 9 December 2011 11:37, by Akuma

        ...of Southern Sudan and first Vice President of the Republic of The Sudan deserve right of being called "Father of The Nation".

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  • 9 December 2011 12:00, by Laat Ayie Jal

    Dear Mr. Isaiah,

    Thank you for your well thought-off article.To me the attribute of who should be the "founder of the nation" is unquestionable.Dr. John deserve this title by all standard,the only thing is that government have not come out with this proclaimation publickly.Please forgive our uncle Ambros Riiny because whatever he may have said is his own opinion it does not refelect the entire

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    • 9 December 2011 18:30, by $ 10,000,000

      Saturnino Uhore, Garang, Lago, Salva, Riek, Kuol, Lam, Kong, Gai, AKuot, Arok, Kuanyin, Oduo, Wani, Pagan, Abdallah, Vincent,Majer, Nyuon, Ngor, Tafeny, Matong Majok, Gatluak. All these people deserve the first category.

      Second category will be all of us without exception!

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      • 10 December 2011 11:53, by Man manning

        Dolla!
        Stop floating man, I am sure and hope that you might have not understood the topic of discussion. How dare you to mention all those people,are we talking here about heroes or "Father of the nation" damned?

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        • 11 December 2011 17:44, by $ 10,000,000

          We are actually substituting the reality that there is no single found. Garang has his own father and so do we. It is a complete error to call any that name unless if negatively pleasing them. By pleasing them, we will be treated like children by them. So don’t "K the As"

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  • 9 December 2011 12:29, by Tut Oyuek

    In South Sudan story, we have only 2 visionary leaders: Dr John Garang with the Vision of New Sudan, and Dr Riek Machar with the Vision of South Sudan through Self-determination which is achieved and enjoying now. Dr. Salva Kir never have any vision even the vision of taking cattle to a grazing field, leave alone calling himself a father of a New Nation….cont…

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  • 9 December 2011 12:30, by Tut Oyuek

    99% vote for independence of South Sudan is a clear sign that the wrong vision of new Sudan is imposed to people of south Sudan by force. The issue of who the father of the new nation? Just like looting money in South Sudan, say John Garang or Salva Kir no one will question you now, but story must be rewritten correctly.....cont...

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  • 9 December 2011 12:36, by Tut Oyuek

    To me, the dead visioned man could be a father of the newly republic of South Sudan. Dr Machar deserve that but he ignore all those corrupt things and focus on his 2nd seat. If not, we are all the fathers of the nation including those death heroes. Don’t rush to write wrong story guyz, even it will not be though in some part of the country. only those states accepted this wrong piece of the countr

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  • 9 December 2011 16:13, by Ayuikwaat Ayuik

    General Kiir has to make a chioce, either follow the tailwagging,egocentric like Mr. Ambrose who can do anything or say anything to please Kiir for some personal favours or do himself pride by doing the right thing by letting the history takes its right trajectory. It will be deemed a daylight robbery to do otherwise. I don’t need nor want any favour but I am watching.

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  • 10 December 2011 15:11, by Mi diit

    Who was the first leader that began the stages to indepedence since 1820, the official period for the beginning of the struggle for freedom?

    How many leaders have involved in the process and on what ideologies or objectives.

    Well, I ordered my plane to land in Khartoum from Addis Ababa, then was hijacked and forced to land in Juba and I take the credit for landing in Juba. What a confusion!

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    • 10 December 2011 22:59, by Elijah B. Elkan

      Mr. Mi diit,

      With all due respect to you sir, you are an idiot.

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