Articles and Analysies
How Dr. Garang wanted Abyei to be? (1) /By Akol Miyen Kuol
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Feb 15, 2007 - 8:18:12 PM

How Dr. Garang wanted Abyei to be? (1)

By Akol Miyen Kuol

I saw the late African Sudanese leader Dr. John Garang
de Mabior for the first time from a short range on 31
May, 2001 when I had just released my first book
Sun Will be Rising’ in the SPLM office in
Then I gave a copy to one of his bodyguards to give it
to him. I’ll talk about my meetings with him in
forthcoming issues but for now I just want to
concentrate on his vision for Abyei or how he viewed
the struggle of the Ngok Dinka people of Abyei and how
he wanted Abyei to be.
From one of the meetings I held with him he assured me
that Abyei was on the top of his agendas. Abyei was
one of his first priorities. While he was alive he
never let down the Ngok Dinka people of Abyei or the
Abyei cause. This is part of the speech he delivered
in Agok the temporary capital of Abyei Area on June
16th, 2004 to explain the Abyei Protocol to the nine
Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms of which I attended:
“You people of Abyei, I greet all of you. I
greet all
of you; starting with the old man Lian Yak, all the
elders, that woman called Achei Ngor who delivered a
speech, all the women, all children in schools, all
the children all over Ngok homeland-girls and boys, I
greet you all. You the leaders of the homeland,
starting with the Chief Ring e Makuach who delivered a
speech and all the elders and chiefs of Ngok I greet
you all and extend my greetings to the rest of Ngok
who didn’t come here.
Add your tongue to mine and greet all the Ngok people
and tell them that Garang de Mabior came here with his
comrades and was very pleased. I’ll start my
with the word ‘Congratulation!’ it is
to you; because your homeland has been liberated, it
is now in your hands and it is no longer in somebody
else’s hands. I congratulate you for the
you have made; for the struggle you have made. You
struggled for fifty years (50 years) and some will say
for one hundred years (100 years).
Because Abyei was transferred from Bahr el Ghazal to
Kordofan in 1905 and now this is 2004. So it is
ninety-nine years (99 years), it is only one year that
is missing to complete one hundred years (100 years)
since Abyei transfer. Your struggle started in 1954,
before the Torit mutiny in 1955. It is the struggle of
Abyei that started first.
The children of the school went to Rijl el Fulla in
1954. They took permission from the District
Commissioner of that time who was British during the
Anglo-Egyptian Condominium. By that time the country
was not given independence in 1956, because it was in
1954 when these students protested so they were
They went to petition in Rijl el Fulla because they
what was coming, that their homeland was going to be
occupied by strangers. Those students were arrested
and that was the beginning of the struggle of the
Abyei people. So from 1954 to 2004, it is exactly
fifty years (50 years). You have gotten your rights
after 50 years; I congratulate you.
That is my first message, I congratulate you for the
struggle you have made and it is that struggle you
have made that brought these rights. And if there is
somebody who claims that I am the one who liberated
Abyei that is not true. It is you people who were
struggling who liberated Abyei. Mine was only
negotiation; but there were/are people who fought for
Abyei since 1954. Also, from 1965 many of your people
lost their lives during the Anyanya I, and you led the
forces of Anyanya One in Bahr el Ghazal and people
like Akonon e Mithiang lost their lives because of
your homeland.
You also led the Anyanya II, and people like Miokol
Deng whom I met in Bil-Fam also lost their lives
because of your homeland. So it is your struggle that
liberated Abyei, you have struggled for the last fifty
years. You have fought for 50 years and that your
right has been given to you in the negotiation in a
place called Naivasha. So the first thing is a word of
congratulation to you.
The remaining war of ‘referendum’ is an
easy war. What
is needed now is your unity and that you must work
collectively. Because you’ve won the war for
Abyei and
I say there is nothing that will abrogate the
protocol. My second message is that, everybody must
come back; people must come back to Abyei land.
The nine sections of the Ngok Dinka that are contained
in the protocol must come back. Ngok Dinka must return
to their home areas, wherever they are in the
Diaspora. If there is accessdised development in Abyei
then people will return, and it is said that Abyei is
floating on oil. Let us use this oil money to develop
Abyei, this is when people will return. So take this
message everywhere where Abyei people are, inside the
Sudan and in the Diaspora, that people must return
home. This is important”.
There was a special place for Abyei in Dr.
heart; he stood firm for the Abyei cause during all
the time he spent in the struggle till the time when
the experts presented their report ‘Abyei
Commission’ to the presidency in Khartoum and
President Bashir re-acted furiously and asked
this take people back to war?’ because he thinks
the experts have exceeded their mandate, then Dr.
Garang replied that, ‘it is our responsibility
prevent any war’.
Because of his full commitment to Ngok cause, Ngok
women in Todaj village in Abyei Area composed a very
beautiful song in appreciation to his efforts and I
translated the song from Ngok Dinka Language into
English. These are the lyrics:
Peace has been negotiated;
And has been documented,
And peace has been reached,
African countries settled it.
And John Garang de Mabior said:
You, the children of Abyei,
You, Abyei, the homeland of the south,
Peace has prevailed in your homeland,
And you will go to Ngol,
And we will be calling each and every village,
By its name.
We will be calling each and every,
Village by its name.
We will go to Ngol,
We will go to Ngol,
Of Mabek, Makuach,
Arukdul and a village,
Called Rum-Wut.
Rum-Wut is called,
We have called it by its name.
Since Dr. Garang did not let us down we the Sudanese
people including the Ngok Dinka people of Abyei should
also honour his vision of a new Sudan. Ngok people
should not only struggle for the setting up of their
Ngok autonomous-government in Abyei but should also
support the people of southern Sudan, Darfur, Nuba
Mountains, Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan and carry on
Dr. Garang’s vision which is the creation of a
progressive, peaceful, prosperous, stable and secular
united democratic new Sudan and make Khartoum its
capital, while the people of southern Sudan and the
Ngok Dinka people of Abyei retain their rights to
self-determination after the six (6) year Interim Period.

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