By Raphael T. Abiem
In reaction to the piece that I posted about the status of Abyei, Raphael T. Abiem one of our refined lawyers shared this account of his recollection of Bona Malual. The views expressed here reflect the views of Raphael T. Abiem.
Bona is a man to respect. He has no inhibitions, so he cannot stop to soul search, casualties or none. His history is a litany of unquenchable urge to summersault into the untested, thank goodness he never had to lead battalions to wars. Bona swam like fish yet had no fins, flew like a bird, yet had no wings, fought what appeared to him like bloody battles, yet had no weapons. In similar vein, but real to life, he wrote copioudly, yet barely lettered, engaged in politics, yet naware of fundamentals of the game. Not only that, he fought for seperation, yet stayed put in Khartoum, joined Oxford University without Sudan School Certificate. If Bona is not the 8th world mirracle, what is?
All this does not mean he did not suffer his own Achilles Heels. Years of missed systematic education petered heads almost in all works he undertook, not least his writings. Bona sat in Khartoum and wrote about the stench in his host’s abode. No wonder, his wrtings felt like a crossbreed between the urge to inform people of South Sudan and long term objective to ensure the trust of North Sudan. Simply put, Bona has always worn coats of many colours. Look closely and you see a trifling representation of what you like.
Having been so situated for half centuary, his scribbles, in time, became our history, but why? In 1950’s through seventies, South Sudan sorly lacked competencies. Whoever was available then, became the center of attraction. We flagged some names as our representatives in forums filled with North Sudan intellectuals. No wonder, we were defeated every step of the way in negotiations. Our Bona, the lead journalist, was no match to his northern contemporaries. Yet, being a token, though sometimes a sort of discomfort, he was tolerated, not least because whatever he wrote was not enough to topple the equation, and in the end, would prove a historic flop. Bona along with his fellow politicians of the age, became what they were by default, not by calling or profession.
Bona had no mirror to tell him who he really was. His only confidant was the Nile Mirror which he used to self aggrandise in the eyes of wide-eyed South Sudanese, myself included. North Sudanese ventriloquists, kept manipulating him, now and then catapulting him from one underserved fame to another.
For a modestly educated mind, the days people of South Sudan died in huge numbers in Abyei and elsewhere, were is opportunity to shine. The muddier South Sudan became, the glossier his image. He because a reverse slave trader, buying slaves from Arabs while he got his pay Christian Solidarity Internstional.
That was the status quo until John Garang took over the leadership of SPLA, thus ending the reign of ignorance and politics of immediate gains. Although not a pronounced separatist, John Garang led the armed struggle while Bona, the separatist, fought for seperation seated in Khartoum.
To cut to the chase, when Garang passed in 2005 and leadership after him opted for separation, one would think he would jump into the banwagon at a glance. He did not. Bona, the contrarian, did what he knew best. He became unionist and has remained so to date. Left to him, he would do all he can to see South is reunited with the North and on the latter’s terms.
His first assignment is to hand over Abyei to the North. He has spoken. The outcome interms of South Sudan buying into his ploy, is not for him to determine. In as far as he is concerned, his position on Abyei is enough to enure his investments in North Sudan are insulated from harm.
Who would believe, of all people, Bona has proven beyond doubt the greatest enemy of separation. I blame his shifting political posts to lack of preparation for leadership due to scanty education. It is the silence/absence of competent people at the time that got him this far, not his excellence or preparedness.
I invite readers to peruse copies of the Sudan Democratic Gazette to see the efforts Bona Malual invested in the 90’s to tarnish the SPLA image along with that of John Garang de Mabior. Ponder the appearance of Bona in South Sudan only after hearing God had granted his wishes by prematurely taking John Grand off the lead. Bona came to Juba dressed in velvety attire ready to be crowned King. Much to his chagrin, things did not play out to his expectations.
If we all think Garang is dead and buried, make no mistake, Bona still stands petrified by the power Garang continues to wield posthumously. Garang did not write copiously, but whatever he spoke is now the mateial clerks like Bona use to build their fame.
Let us note that books did not liberate us. If civil war with north Sudan was intellectual, South Sudan would have lost, hands down. It is the resolve of generstions to end humiliation that that earned us the freedom we are now carelessly squandering. Bona was not at any one time exposed to the shattering teeth of Sudan’s war machinery. Instead, he took refuge in it, became part of it and its demise became his own.
It is arms, not Bona’s scribble that cast the die in our favour.
Bona, the man who slandered Garang, opposed self determination, opposed Abyei’s self detrrmination, continues to enjoy citizenship rights as Sudanese exampligied by ownership of properties and other investments, must not have any stake in the destiny of Abyei people.
What i wonder about is why Bona continues to be tolerated in South Sudan when others have been made to disapper for expressing innocuous views.
Requiem the National Dialogue.