The Three Godfathers of South Sudan

May 9, 2020

 

If someone were to ask the average South Sudanese in any city, region or country about the Founding Fathers of South Sudan, the answer they would receive would be almost identical to one another in every single case. Why is that? Because the history has been buried by the current SPLM Party in charge of South Sudan; the current leaders in South Sudan are attempting to eradicate the history of the heroes who came before them, heroes who struggled and fought for an independent South Sudan in the early 1950s; but the greed and political hunger of our political leaders have blinded them from paying homage to the heroes who paved the way to the independence we have today.

 

What would be a typical answer to the question, who are the founding fathers of South Sudan? Most certainly, one would say, “Dr. John Garang De Mabior” or “Dr. Riek Machar Teny” or perhaps “Lt. Gen. Joseph Lagu”. The answer would most certainly depend on the tribe or the region from which the individual hails - we tend to be very tribal and self-loving, it's why we see that the majority of the Dinkas are followers of Dr. Garang and Salva Kiir. A lot of Nuer are followers of Dr. Riek Machar and Equatorians are supporters of Gen. Joseph Lagu, Gen. Thomas Cirrilo and so on. As for the SPLM party, which is mostly composed of individuals hailing from the Dinka and Nuer tribes, there is a dogma that the majority of them love to believe and that dogma makes them view themselves as fathers and founders of the nation because it was the agreement signed in 2005 by the SPLM, which called for a referendum, that allowed its people to choose between a separate or a united Sudan. 

 

Yes, the SPLM/SPLA fought and died for South Sudan and they played a tremendous role in our independence today. But the true heroes and liberators who died for the country in the First South Sudanese Struggle shortly after the second World War fought for the country without committing atrocities to the Southerners, they fought without corruption or disappearances of public resources, they fought without raping or sexually abusing their women as we see today with the SPLM/SPLA in South Sudan. The Southern Party,  later renamed the “Southern Liberal Party”, was the first Movement started in Sudan for Southern Sudanese in 1951, the founders of the First South Sudanese Movement being Stanislaus Paysama, Abdel Rahman Sule and Buth Diu. 

Abdel Rahman Sule in Adodi Village in 1970

 

The Three Godfathers of South Sudan are Sule, Paysama and Diu. Abdel Rahman Sule, a Muslim by religion, son of a Bari Chief and a local businessman, always had the idea of a separate but united South Sudan independent from North Sudan, even though he was a Muslim himself. Sule used to describe how the Muslims of the North used to treat the Muslims of the South differently and unlawfully. Sule would suffer from being a Muslim amonst Christains who are his own people, while also being a Muslim abhorred by Muslims in whom they share a common religion. Due to his religion, his hard work and struggle for an independent South Sudan would be forgotten shortly after his death around 1985-87. Abdel Rahman Sule married over 12 different women and fathered over 100 children, he was widely known for funding the First South Sudanese Struggle for an independent State, and he was a big threat to the Government of Sudan from the 1950s up until the early 70s before the ‘’Equatoria Corps’’, later renamed Anyayna 1, was formed. Sule was a close friend to Lt. Gen. Joseph Lagu. The Government of Sudan killed one of his sons in the late 1950s or early 1960s, and in 2015 his son Justice Peter Abdel Rahman Sule was assassinated near the border of South Sudan and Uganda. The lawyer Peter Sule was accused of rebelling against the Government and was arrested in Western Equatoria with the help of the former governor Joseph Bakasoro. Peter was detained for 2 years but was later released, and he immediately seeked asylum in The Republic of Uganda from the United Nations which was granted. Shortly after relocating to Uganda with his family, he was abducted by men in plain clothes described as South Sudanese National Security Agents. A well known Commander from (CES) Central Equatoria State, General Elias Lino, was also with the lawyer Peter Sule when they were both shot, beheaded and burned. The Government of South Sudan does not want any descendant of  the late Abdel Rahman Sule to rise to power so they have started targeting his sons and daughters who are scattered all over the world.

 

Lawyer Peter Sule’ Son of Abdel Rahman Sule,  Former Chairman of UDF

 

Stanislaus Paysama was also a big head figure in the early 1950s. According to his personal history “How a Slave Got to be a Minister”, Stanislaus was born in South Darfur to the Fur people and was captured by Baggara slavers around 1904. He was taken to Kafia Kingi, where he was kidnapped by a proficient Hide slave merchant. Afterwards he was liberated and taken to Wau in what nowadays is Western Bahr el Ghazal state, where he was taught, changed his religion over to Christianity and picked up business as a receptionist within the British administration. Between 1933 and 1943 he worked in Rumbek and Yirol until 1951 when they formed the Southern Party.

 

Stanislaus was one of the three Ministers from the south to be designated to the government of Sudan after freedom in 1956. A number of months afterwards he was rejected and blamed for subversion, meaning that he had called for a federal government structure with a degree of independence for the south.

Sir John Buth Diu (Fangak, Upper Nile)

 

The final Godfather is Buth Diu a Nuer born in Fangak, Upper Nile. Buth Diu did not go to school as a child but eventually got a job as a houseboy of the British Area Commissioner. He was self-taught and learned to read and write in English on his own. With his gifted abilities, he got to be the official translator for the Area Commissioner, an important post for its time. By 1947 he was a nearby (local) Government official. Buth Diu was one of the Southern pioneers who had gone to a conference held at Juba on the 12th and 13th of June 1947 to examine the suggestions of a prior conference held in Khartoum, at which it had been decided that the south and north of Sudan ought to be joined together in one nation. Southerners were (and are) exceptionally diverse ethnically and socially from the individuals of northern Sudan, but the basis was that Sudan was colossal but destitute, and in the event that isolated both parts would be greatly frail. 

 

At the conference, Diu said that in spite of the fact that northerners claimed they did not need to rule the South, there must be safeguards. Northerners ought not to be permitted to settle on arrival within the south without authorization, ought to not interfere in neighborhood government within the south and ought to not be permitted in law to call a southerner a slave. In any case, Diu was not in favour of partition. He said the government ought to select agents from the South who would go to the North to think about and to take an interest in enactment, funding, and organisation. He said that Arabic ought to be introduced into southern schools without delay so they may become educated like the north.  

 

Buth Diu molded an "Upper Nile Political Alliance" in Upper Nile territory. The Governor-General of Sudan announced the course of action of the Structure Modification Commission in Walk 1951. Buth Diu was the sole southerner of that commission, which had 16 northerners and three British specialists checking the chairman. When the commission started work on 26 Walk 1951, Buth Diu called for a government structure. His recommendations were tirelessly rejected by the northern people of the commission, and he surrendered in appeal. The commission continued without southern representation. Be that as it may, the British people of the commission did request some safeguards within the draft structure to guarantee southern agreement, tallying an unprecedented Serve for the southern zones and a Counseling Board for southern issues. The northerners supervised for a short time later emptying this course of action.

 

The Southern Party did well in the 1953 elections for the pre-independence Transitional Government. The major devout partisan parties, the Umma and the National Unionist Party (NUP), both required the support of the southerners to create a government, but the southerners failed to stay joined together like always. Numerous individuals defected to other parties, diminishing the measure of the Generous Southern party to 20-25 individuals. The party chairman, Stanislaus Paysama, said ‘that the Liberals almost won the race … The cash was there, an incredible sum of cash,’’ from the Government and the Umma Party but they fell short due to conflicts.  

 

As of 1953 the party pioneers were as follows, Benjamin Lwoki, Chairman, Stanslaus Paysama, Deputy Chairman, Buth Diu, Secretary Common (General) and Abdel Rahman Sule, who handled the finance of the party. The aims and objectives of the movement were to work for total freedom of Sudan, with special treatment for the south. The party was authoritatively enrolled in 1953. 

 

So when we talk or ponder about the Founding Fathers of South Sudan, we need to know that the Founding Fathers of South Sudan are diverse in culture and nature. Many people have not heard about these three men I have mentioned in this article titled “The Three Godfathers of South Sudan”, because the current political structure in charge of South Sudan, which is mostly composed of politicians belonging to the Dinka tribe, is preventing the true history of South Sudan from entering into the minds of the masses. Out of those three men, none of them has a statue of remembrance in South Sudan to represent the struggles they endured to pave the way for those who came after them. 

 

After independence they quickly put up Statues of Dr. John Garang and other high-ranking Dinka political figures but left out the three Godfathers whom I have mentioned; the Government of South Sudan do not want to educate the public about these founding figures because they don't want people to know that the struggle for an independent South Sudan began in the early 1950s with three brave men called Sule, Paysama and Diu - the Three Godfathers of South Sudan.  

 

Muslim Gore 

Grandson of Abdel Rahman Sule 

South Sudan, Writer 

Florida, USA 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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