October 21, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s former vice-president, Riek Machar said the late Daniel Jumi Tongun, who died last week on 11 October, deserved a special honor as a freedom fighter and the oldest veteran politician who saw the birth of the nation on 9 July 2011.
- South Sudan’s former vice president, Riek Machar (AP/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin)
Late Tongun was born in 1904 at Gwurusoki village, the current location of Juba International airport, northern Bari payam of Juba County.
Machar on Sunday after attending a memorial service on Saturday in honour of the late said Tonngun was a national icon that deserved a special burial organized by the head of state.
The late, he said, could be the longest surviving leader as he died at the age of 110.
The late spent most of his life fighting for the rights of the people of South Sudan and was the first elected president of the Southern Front in 1963, the only political party in Southern Sudan by then.
He joined Anya-Nya I in 1966 after the failure of the 1965 Roundtable Conference in Khartoum in which he participated.
The former vice-president explained that senior citizens such as late Tongun who have lived for over a century and fought for the independence of the country should have been given a special status and cared for by the head of state and his government.
“This man is an icon in these two aspects. Despite the hazards of political life in Sudan and in exile he lived 110 years. I am aware of the fact that those who live beyond 90 years get congratulations from their head of state. This we did not do to late Daniel Juma,” Machar recalled.
Other senior citizens such as Simon Mayan Tut in Upper Nile state, he said, is another example of those who have lived for over 100 years and still living.
He urged the government to begin establishing a ‘Guineas Book of Records’ in which to record senior citizens who have attained the age of 90 and beyond.
Machar also said a monument should be built in honour of the late Daniel Jumi.
“These are the people who implanted in us the importance of independence of South Sudan and should be honoured. During his time he led the whole South as the only party leader. That recognition needs to be made by the government. A monument should be built for him,” he further suggested.
BIOGRAPHY OF LATE DANIEL JUMI TONGUN
1930 – 1934: He attended C.M.S Elementary School.
1935 -1939: He was teacher and preacher in Kaji Keji.
1940 -1943: Attended Nugent School Loka as student and teacher.
1947: He was detained by the British Administration for leading a strike.
1948 – 1949: Attended Juba Training Center
1951 – 1952: Was in Yambio Institute of Agriculture.
1955 on 17 Augus:t Was detained because of Torit Mutiny and taken to Khartoum Prison.
1956 April: He was released from prison after Sudan got independence on 1 January 1956.
1957: He was nominated by the Liberal Party and elected as Member of Parliament.
1958: He was confirmed as Member of Parliament in the second Sudan parliament (Khartoum).
1963: He was elected president of the Southern Front party.
1965: Led a delegation to East Africa to convince Southerners to come for a Roundtable Conference in Khartoum.
1966: He joined the Anya-Nya I Movement.
1972: He rejected the agreement signed between Gen. Joseph Lagu and Sudan government and remained in exile in Congo till the emergence of the SPLM/A where he played an active role.
1994: He became a chief campaigner to mobilize youth and SPLM/A deserters where he enhanced mobilization of a big army that led to the fall of Yei and other places in Bahr el Ghazal region. He continued to play an advisory role to the SPLM/A leadership till the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005.
Late Tongun is survived by several children and grandchildren.