Joseph Oduho Haworu was born in Lobira village, which is about 42 miles east of Torit, the capital of Eastern Equatoria State (EES), in 1927 He is believed to have joined Isoke Catholic Diocese Elementary School, Ikotos County, in 1937.
He was admitted in Okaru Intermediate School from where he excelled to become one of Rumbek's Secondary School Pioneer Students. He attended a Post Secondary education in Nyapeya in Uganda. Later on, Oduho was admitted in Bakht Al Ruda Teacher's Institute from where he graduated with a Diploma in teaching in 1950. He worked in Maridi, Okaru and Palotaha Intermediate Schools as a headmaster. In Maridi he was arrested after the mutiny in Torit, accused of conspiracy and was sentenced to death by the authorities in Khartoum. He was released in a general amnesty that was issued immediately after independence on January 1st, 1956.
In December 1960, Oduho Fr. Saturnino Ohure, Ferdinand Adiang, William Deng, Alexis Bakumba and others crossed the border into Uganda and the Congo, (http://www.unrisd.org/unrisd/website/document.nsf/d2a23ad2d50cb2a280256eb300385855/b0216c5eb95fe77b80256b84003da4b8/$FILE/dprah.pdf). While in exile, Oduho and his colleagues formed Sudan African National Union (SANU) and became its first president. SANU is a short form of the Sudan African Closed Districts National Union (SACDNU) formed in 1962 under the leadership of Oduho. He amongst others was arrested by the Ugandan authorities after officially launching SANU in Uganda in 1963. He was released but did not abandon the struggle. He crisscrossed the world in search of friends who sympathized and supported the struggle of the South Sudanese people until the signing of Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972.
After the signing of the Addis Ababa agreement in 1972, Oduho was appointed Minister of Housing and Public Utilities in the first Regional Government of South Sudan called The High Executive Council (HEC). He was arrested by the Khartoum and Juba authorities in 1975, accused of plotting to breakaway the South from the North. He was released in 1976 in yet another amnesty issued by President Numayri in the success of the so-called Al Wifaq Al Watani or National Consensus (Reconciliation) between SSU and the other northern political parties. He stood for elections of 1977 and won his seat. He was reappointed Minister of Cooperative and Rural Development in 1978-1980. He was reappointed in another administration as Minister of Labour and Administrative Reforms 1980-1982. Oduho was also a member of the SSU Central Committee.
In 1982, there were discontents from all over the South, reactions to what became to be known as an exercise of tribalism in the HEC government. Equatorians and other minorities in the South called for decentralization of the South so that power could be devolved to the greater regions of Bahr Al Ghazal, Upper Nile and Equatoria. Oduho resisted this move, stressing to all South Sudanese, young and old, about the dangers of decentralization. He said if bought by all, the idea was aimed at weakening the South, which was emerging as a powerful democracy at the time. Oduho told others that decentralization was a self-destruct mechanism carefully designed by Numayri and Turabi. He was a member of the Committee for the Unification of the Southern Sudan, (http://www.africa.upenn.edu/ssanewsletter/vol24no2-06.pdf). Again Khartoum and Juba authorities arrested him but they released him in 1983.
Having suffered under his government in the South and the authorities in Khartoum, Oduho believed that the country was not yet ready to coexist and prepared to leave. He was smuggled out of Torit by a Good Samaritan to Kenya from where he joined the Bor-Ayod Mutineers under the leaderships of Majors Kerubino Kuanyin Bol and William Nyuon Bany. He became the first SPLM politician to lead the Political and Foreign Affairs Committee of the SPLM. Oduho co-chaired the drafting of the Penal and Discipline Laws of the SPLA in 1984, (http://www.gurtong.org/resourcecenter/documents/default.asp?s_DocName=&s_DocType_id=4). He was arrested in 1984 after the return of the delegation which he led to Europe. The delegation was to enlighten the international community on the struggle of the South Sudanese people for freedom, justice and equality. He was briefly released in 1987 but with passport and other useful documents withdrawn from him by the SPLM/A.
He was rearrested in 1988-1989 only that this time he was kept in an isolated area on the mountain top of Jabal Boma or Boma Mountain. He was released in 1991 to come to his home village, Lobira, to bury his late son, Alt-Cdr. Kizito Omiluk Oduho. While in Lobira Oduho realised that he was still under surveillance and his Lobira villagers knew that and prepared to smuggle him out of the village. But before that happened, SPLA soldiers came to Lobira and ordered him down the Lobira Hill. He refused but SPLA soldiers opened fire on the Hill and many innocent lives were lost on both the SPLA and the villagers' sides. Oduho was then moved by the villagers to a border town called Madi-Opei between Sudan and Uganda.
While in Madi-Opei, he wrote a note to his son, Ohiyok Oduho, to help rescue him or he will be killed by SPLM/A whom, he said, attempted to kill him while in the Madi-Opei Catholic Missionary. Ohiyok Oduho called his maternal Uncle in Canada, Paul Odiong Dominic, to assist. Paul Odiong approached an old friend of the Late Joseph Oduho, Prof. Stores McCall, in Canada and asked him for assistance. McCall responded and about 1,000 USD was sent from Canada and Ohiyok Oduho contributed another 1,000 USD. to hire a Cessna Aircraft from Kenya which landed at Kitgum Airstrip. Ohiyok drove to Madi-Opei, about 27 miles North of Kitgum, and evacuated Joseph Oduho to Nairobi in February 1993.
On his arrival to Nairobi, was taken by his son, Ohiyok, to Nairobi Hospital where he was admitted to the Hospital's Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He had developed diabetes, and had a flat heart, which the Cardiologist Doctor, David Silverstein, said could have ceased from work up on the plane, had the flight extended for a little longer. He was released after four days of intensive care at the ICU.
As a veteran Sudanese politician, Oduho was approached in Nairobi, Kampala and beyond Africa by South Sudanese concerned with the situation at home. His son, Ohiyok Oduho, told him that it was time he retired from politics because politics in the South was becoming dirtier by the day. Oduho told his son that he was the only surviving founder of the South Sudanese struggle and could not feel happy to retire if he did not unite the people of the South for whom he had surrendered his life to. Oduho said it will be difficult to negotiate with Khartoum if there were more factions.
In order to fulfill his vision of reunifying the people of the South, Oduho, through the assistance of a Catholic organisation called People For Peace In Africa, organised a reunification conference in Nairobi in late February 1993. All factions were invited, including Torit Faction or the mainstream of the SPLM/A under the leadership of Dr John Garang. SPLM/A disassociated itself from this reunification conference and instead planned to destroy it. As the reunification conferees converged at Panyagor, in Jonglei State, to organise and announce the reunification of more than four factions that broke away from the SPLM/A mainstream, they were attacked by the SPLM/A mainstream. Oduho was caught alive by the SPLM/A and was executed there and then. The execution of Oduho was carried out on this date and month in 1993.
This information should not be misunderstood as being aimed at dividing the people of the South. The real aim of releasing this information as it is, however, is to correct the distorted information on surrounding Oduho's death. He wasn't a simple man and as such the people for whom he sacrificed his life ought to know how he died. His death was and continues to be both strength and loss to the people of South Sudan. Strength because he believed that he would one day die in the cause of the struggle and did not care whose bullet would get him first. Loss because the South needs people like him today to help unite and guide its people.
As heard and read from this short synopsis, Oduho died while trying to unite the struggling masses of South Sudan. OSSA therefore will do everything in its power to work and fight for the unity of the South Sudanese people and certainly cherish such legacy left by a hero this country will never forget for the contribution made by him, and fellow heroes like Fr. Saturnino Ohure, Ferdinand Adiang, William Deng, Aggrey Jaden, Alexis Bakumba and Dr John Garang, just to mention but a few of the many heroes the South and Sudan as a whole has produced.
About this great man
Sudan's Painful Road to Peace
The full story of the founding of the People's Revolution: SPLM/SPLA (1983-2005)
By Arop Madut AropMay 16, 2007 (New Sudan Vision)
"Garang, the son of my mother, have you come? Take over the command from here. Chagai, my work is finished: give me something to drink and let's celebrate the start of the Revolution." Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, May 13, 1983, Bor, Arop p.51 (2006)
Sudan's Painful Road to Peace, the latest book written by a Sudanese Journalist/Writer Arop Madut Arop, is a full story about the founding and development of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army and its subsequent military campaigns (1983-2005). The SPLM/SPLA Campaigns which have now changed the political landscape of the Sudan and which may alter its political map apparently forever, were concluded with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the South and the North in Kenya in January 2005.
Because of SPLM's political importance and the impact and effect it has had on regional politics in general and at the entire people of the Sudan particularly in the south, its constituency, the world at large awaits anxiously the smooth implementations of this important historical landmark agreement in spirit and letter. It is important to keep on reminding ourselves each year when we commemorate the founding and development of the SPLM/SPLA.
This demand that during the celebrations we must throw some highlights on the Movement not only as reminder for the veterans who made this history but for the younger generations who will inherit this land mark episode. It will also refresh the memories of the generations who have fought, sacrificing so much in order for their people to enjoy the fruits of freedom, dignity and wellbeing like the rest of the civilized people worldwide.
For the benefits of the readers of the New Sudan Vision on this historical day, we hereby give you some of these highlights below:
Background to the Bor Uprising
Before we talk about the founding and the development of the SPLM/SPLA, it is very instructive and important to give some highlights about the politics that led to the start of the second war. Indeed, the politics that preceded the SPLA war in 1983 were that of dismantling of the Addis Ababa Agreement by the May Regime and attempts being made by the people of the Southern Sudan to maintain it (1972-1982). The struggle between the May Regime and the regional government unfortunately led to widespread discontent throughout the Southern Sudan. This discontent soon led to the formation of many underground insurrections each mobilising the people of the South Sudan for the resumption of the war of liberating their region, a liberation struggle brought to a halt by the May Regime in 1972, when the south was given portions that fell from the high tables of the northern political elite which they euphemistically called regional self rules. Basically, some of the main effective underground cells were, the National Action Movement (NAM) led by veteran politicians, Joseph Oduho, Akuot Atem de Mayen; Benjamin Bol Akok and Samuel Gai Tut just to mention a few. There was also the Movement for the Total Liberation of Southern Sudan, headed by students movement mainly in Equatoria and SOSSA student organisation based in Egypt. The most important and effective rebel cell was the Anya Nya Absorbed Forces Underground Movement that had notoriously been active through the ten years of peace in the Southern Region. This underground cell was born and bred by veteran Anya Nya Absorbed Forces who were opposed to the Addis Ababa Agreement. Some of these officers who were initially opposed to the Addis Ababa Agreement right from the start and who were mainly from Bahr al Ghazal Region, were located in Bussere (Camp some 12 miles South of Wau Town). Though the leader of this underground cell was Colonel Emmanuel Abuur Nhial, the brain behind it was three officers: Captain John Garang de Mabior, Lt. Colonel Stephen Madut Baak, Lt Colonel Joseph Kuol Amoum, Lt Colonel Deng Aluk and Major Albino Akol Akol. This movement did also have membership in Upper Nile and Equatoria.
When the plot was discovered that this group may wreck the peace agreement and return the country back to war, both the regional and national authorities acted immediately. Colonel Abuur was promoted to Brigadier and posted to Wau as second in command to a northern Commander in order to keep him away from Bussere Camp. Captain John Garang whom the authorities feared most being a University graduate was promoted to major and transferred away from Bussere to Bor as commander of the absorbed Forces there. He was later transferred to the North and in order to keep him away from the Sudan, John Garang was given scholarship after another for the next ten years.
As for Stephen Madut Baak, another notorious officer who was totally opposed to the Agreement, he was transferred to Jebeit in Port Sudan as trainer officer of Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs). The rest of the most senior Anya Nya officers, among them Andrew Makur Thou, Joseph Kuol Amuom, Albino Akol Akol, Alison Manani Magaya and Habakuk Soro while keeping them under security surveillance were given higher positions in the government each time they show signs of rebellion.
In effort to rid them from the army where they pose threat to the peace agreement the Anya Nya most senior officers were later on put in the interim Government of General Rassass in 1981. Many of them were either given early retirement from the army or given constitutional post after another and always away from the south where they may have some influence on the deteriorating security situation triggered by the May Regime' policies of dismantling the Addis Ababa Agreement.
The May Regime having effectively got rid of the Anya Nya senior officers in the army it was natural that the next move was to transfer the remaining Anya Nya officers and men of Battalions 110,111,104,105,116 and 117 away from the south and scattered them all over the northern Sudan were they would only be individuals. But even this attempt to nib the underground revolution in the bud didn't stem out the underground cells completely. On the contrary the movement was taken over by junior officers among them Francis Ngor Makiech and Salva Kiir Mayardit, Abdalla Chuol and Chagai Atem. Such was the political and security hostile environments in the Southern Sudan when the actual leader of the Anya Nya Absorbed Forces Revolutionary Movement, Colonel John Garang de Mabior returned to the country from USA in 1981. The authorities, aware of imminent danger John Garang presence in the south would contribute to the discontentment prevailing in the south resulting from the May Regime scorched earth policies, Colonel Garang was posted to the Army General Head Quarters in Khartoum. This positing was a blessing for Garang as it enabled him to reorganize the underground revolution discreetly by remote control.
In February 1982, it was decided that the Revolution should be launched on August 18th, the date on which the first uprising took place in Torit in 1955. But discovering that the plot was discovered by the authorities and that the potential rebellious battalions were earmarked for transfer to the North, the Underground Revolution changed the deadline. Under the disguise that he was going on leave so as to start his agricultural farm in Jonglei Province, his home area, John Garang de Mabior moved to Bor in order to launch the revolution by proximity. Garang remained there till the Bor Uprising when he led the rebels forces to Ethiopia where he later launched the revolution..
The Adura, Bukteng and Bilpam camps
Following the Bor Uprising many of the leaders of various insurrections mentioned earlier started moving toward Ethiopia. The First to arrive were two of the leaders of the National Action Movement (NAM), Samuel Gai Tut and Akuot Atem de Mayen who made Bukteng Village there command post.
On arrival on the borders with Ethiopia, the two leaders contacted Gordon Kaong Chol, the leader of the Anya Nya Two Movement at his Command Head Quarters at Bilpam. It is to be recalled that Anya Nya Two was founded in 1977 by Vincent Kuany and James Bol Alangjok, the leaders of the failed Any Nya absorbed forces uprising in Akobo in 1975.
Gai and Akuot instead of waiting for the various rebels groups that had already started moving to Ethiopia after which they would launch one united movement apparently after reaching consensus, put a proposal that, Gordon Kaong would be the leader of the military wing and (they) Gai and Akuot would lead the political wing of the Movement about to be launched. Apparently Kaong may have been aware of the coming of John Garang group that has been in touch with him for a long time turned down the proposal. By the end of May the Ethiopian authorities have cited the Sudanese rebel Colonel John Garang de Mabior and his group and located them to a village called Adura.
Sooner than later the news about the outbreak of war in the south attracted hundreds of thousands of Southern Sudanese who began in earnest pouring into Western Ethiopia in order to join the revolution that was being launched. These refugees went to one of the three refugee main camps according to their choices.
The three main camps were Bilpam under Gordon Kaong Chol, Bukteng under Samuel Gai Tut and Akuot Atem and Adura Camp under John Garang de Mabior, Joseph Oduho, Martin Majer Gai and others.
It is to be noted that Gambela Region is inhabited by the people of Southern Sudanese origins, Gajaak and Gajok Nuer and the Anyuak.
Early in June Lt Colonel Francis, Captain Salva Kiir Mayardit arrived and joined the Adura Camp. It is to be remembered that following the uprising in Bor, Ayod, Waat, Pibor, Fosalla and Akobo, Francis and Salva had attempted to take over Malakal and failing to do so left for Ethiopia where they were directed to their colleagues in the Underground revolution.
Sometime later two leaders of the Abyei Liberation Front; Deng Alor Kuol and Chol Deng Alaak arrived. They too were directed by the Ethiopian authorities to the Adura Camp.
The Third Group that joined the Adura Camp was the Student Revolutionary Group headed by Pagan Amum Okiech, Nyachigag Nyachiluk and Lado Lokurnyang and Oyai Deng Ajak. Finally the leaders of the battalions 105, 104 that revolted in Bor, Ayod, Pachalla, Pibor and Waat led by Kerubino Kuanyin Bol and William Nyuon Bany arrived in Ethiopia. They too joined the Adura Camp.
The formation of the SPLM/SPLA and the leadership question
Following the arrival of hundreds of refugees, it was time for the leadership to meet and decide first the question of who would lead a united movement. This was very necessary because they should meet the Ethiopian authorities as one group in order to seek political and financial support. Importantly they would need logistics for effective launch of the Movement.
But before various groups could meet to elect the leader of the group, Akuot Atem, after receiving reports that the Ethiopian authorities were already in contact with Colonel John Garang and suspicious that the Ethiopians may impose Garang on the refugees as the leader suggested that a government be formed before meeting the Ethiopian authorities. Despite the fact that most of the people thought that it was not yet time to do so, Akuot assuming that he had the majority of the refugees went ahead and formed his cabinet. He made himself Chairman, his friend Samuel Gai Tut Minister of Defense, Joseph Oduho Foreign Affairs; Martin Majier, Legal Affairs and Justice and John Garang Chief of Staff. In order to meet the Ethiopian authorities to enable them launch their Movement and despite sensitivities already expressed by Akuot Atem behaviour, the Sudanese met and a delegation headed by Akuot Atem de Mayen was formed and in the membership of Joseph Oduho, Colonel Dr John Garang de Mabior, Samuel Gai Tut and Captain Salva Kiir Mayadit. The meeting was then arranged in order to meet the Ethiopian Chief of Staff General Mesfin who would subsequently arrang for the group to meet Chairman Megistu Haile Mariam to sanction the launch of the Movement.
General Mesfin asked the group to write its manifesto as a precondition of meeting Mengistu. The group came back and Chairman Akuot Atem was asked to write the position paper which he did. Akuot's paper contained the following conditions: That the Movement was a socialist oriented Movement fighting for the total liberation of the Southern Sudan. When Akuot paper was presented to General Mesfin it was turned down. The group was told in no uncertain term that the Socialist Ethiopia would never favour the breakup of a sisterly state as stipulated in the African Unity Charter. The Group went back to the main refugee camp of Itang dumfounded and unable to comprehend what the Ethiopian wanted them to do as a precondition for soliciting support from her. The most elderly Joseph Oduho made special appeal to Colonel John Garang to write a position paper that would be acceptable to the Ethiopian authorities. Colonel Garang accepted and wrote the paper that later became the SPLM Manifesto.
Garang paper stated that the Sudanese Movement about to be launched should fight for the creation of a socialist oriented united secular Sudan and that all the scattered rebel forces including the Anya Nya Two be grouped to gather in order to start the liberation struggle of the whole country.
When this document was presented to Chairman Mengistu it was accepted and the Sudanese were asked to launch their Movement. Thus the name of the Movement was to be called the Sudan's People Liberation Movement and Liberation Army SPLM/SPLA. And John Garang as the Chief of Staff for the Movement about to be launched, was asked to remain behind to in order to work out logistics requirements before the official launch was inaugurated. But when the group arrived back at Itang Refugee Camp an incident happened that upset the smooth launching of one movement and which would lead to the start of the beginning of the war as two movements instead of one.
The incident was that, Colonel Kerubino Kuanyin Bol has just shot dead a refugee by name Marial Alek, allegedly for insubordination and impudence to his most senior commander. The death of this innocent refugee set the refugee camp ablaze and would have spread into seemingly sectional violence. On hearing of this incident in the refugee main camp, the Ethiopian Security acted fast and sent a force in order to maintain law and order there. Chairman Akuot Atem, already suspicious that the Ethiopians' request to keep Colonel Garang behind to solicit logistics requirement told his supporters that the coming of the Ethiopian security personnel to the camp was an attempt to impose John Garang on them as an absolute leader of the new movement to be launched. As if that was what he wanted; Akuot Atem ordered his supporters to collect their belongings and moved back to the Sudan where they would launch the People's Revolution for the liberation of the Southern Sudan there. Thus all and sundry in the Bukteng Camp and some from the Itang Camp moved to Bilpam Camp to join Gordon Kaong soldiers.
To make things worst, Lt Colonel William Nyuon Bany who had just arrived with his forces from Ayod, attacked Bilpam and dislodged both Gordon Kaong and Akuot Atem groups from Bilpam. After some skirmishes with William Nyuon Bany forces, Gordon Kaong and his forces followed Akuot and Gai forces to Bukteng Camp inside the Sudan border. They remained there till they later launched an alternative Movement they would also call SPLM/SPLA. The rest of the Anya Nya Two and those who disagreed with Akuot Atem and Samuel Gai Tut went to Itang where they joined John Garang de Mabior Group. It was against this background that John Garang de Mabior was elected by the group that remained loyal to him in Itang in August 1983, as Chairman of SPLM and Commander in Chief of the SPLA. Immediately the following were appointed members of the top leadership of the Movement called the Politico-Military High Command:
1. Colonel Dr John Grang de Mabior Chairman and Commander in Chief of SPLA
2. Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, promoted to Lt. Colonel was appointed Deputy Chairman and Deputy Commander In Chief so as to bring him nearer to Colonel John Garang in military hierarchy.
3. Major William Nyuon Bany was promoted to Lt. Colonel and appointed Chief of General Staff of the SPLM
4. Captain Salva Kiir Mayardit was promoted to the rank of Major and appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for Security and military operations,
5. Nyachigag Nyachiluk was given a military rank of Major and appointed alternate Member of Politico-Military High Command.
It was in this light that the struggle whose manifestations were to haunt the South Sudan liberation struggle throughout the Campaigns (1983-2005) thus started as two antagonistic movements contrary to what others say it was one movement that split up into two. This was made clear by Dr John Garang in an interview with the author of the Sudan's Painful Road to Peace in 1986 that: Our objectives was to convince the Anya Nya Two to join us. The Anya Nya Two also attempted to convince us to join them. The failure of the two groups to join together as one organisation, unfortunately led to the start of the war as two movements that brought untold sufferings and setbacks to the people of Southern Sudan they had wanted to liberate.
Hon. Arop Madut Arop Member of Parliament(MP)Journalist and Writer. (http://home.planet.nl/~ende0098/Articles/20070516.html)
Excerpt from article on sudanese online.com
The invitees to the round table conference were northern and southern political parties. The northern invited political parties were mainly the Umma, NUP, the Sudan Communist Party and some other small northern splinter groups or parties. Southern Front, SANU-William Deng and SANU-Aggrey represented Southerners. Before the convening of the conference, SANU had split into two factions, a faction led by William Deng that advocated peaceful struggle inside the Sudan, and another one led by Joseph Oduho and Aggrey Jadein, who favored armed struggle, while remaining outside the Sudan. Aggrey and Oduho objected to any conference being held inside the Sudan, while William Deng did not see any objection to that, but took his faction altogether to operate inside the Sudan.
Bona Malwal Urges Establishment of Reconciliation Body in South Sudan
A South Sudan heeling and reconciliation process is essential if the tragedies and horrors committed during the years of war are to be constructively addressed, said a prominent political leader.
"It is necessary for the Government of Southern Sudan, therefore, led by the SPLM/SPLA that was largely responsible for the war atrocities within Southern Sudan, to now establish a truth and reconciliation commission, to lay to rest the ghosts of war and to enable the society to reconcile and to move on." Bona Malwal said.
The presidential advisor was speaking at the 15th anniversary commemoration of death of Veteran politician Joseph Oduho who was killed on March 27 1993 during an attack against a meeting convened by SPLA-Nasir faction to reunite all SPLA dissidents in Kongor.
"Southern Sudan can not afford to have lost heroes like Joseph Oduho in vain and as we falter from the paths and principles for which Joseph Oduho and others lived and died." He emphasized in a ceremony organised in the Sudanese capital on Friday April 4.
Malwal, who had difficult relations with the SPLM, becomes more and more virulent opponent to its policies on the national and southern Sudan levels. Each time he has a public intervention, he criticizes SPLM’s management of Southern Sudan and its political conduct with regard to the peace agreement implementation.He accused the government of southern Sudan of spending wastefully the resources of the south and lamenting that things are getting worse.
Speaking about South Sudan’s share in the oil revenue and GoSS transparency in this respect, he said "Are we only entitled, as Southern Sudanese, to know what Northern Sudan is not doing for us and we are not entitled to know what the government of Southern Sudan is doing with our resources for us?"
Bona who was opposed to Naivasha peace process tried to mend his relations with the SPLM after the death of its former chairman John Garang through his good ties with his successor Salva Kiir Mayadrit.
But since Salva Kiir distanced himself from the NCP appointed presidential advisor.
Speech Delivered by Col. Ohiyok Oduho
Your Excellencies Brig. Aloysious Emor Ojetuk, Guest of Honour, Uncle Bona Malual, Patron of this occasion, Dr Kamilo Oduwa, the Supervisor of this gathering, Your Excellency Mayom Koch State Minister at the GoNU Ministry of Irrigation, Hon. State MPs, State Council and National Assembly MPs, My fellow Otuho community and its leadership, Otuho-Speaking Association (OSSA) Leadership and membership, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;
On behalf of the late Joseph Oduho's family and on my own behalf, I greet you in the name of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. Please, allow me to extend my sincere greetings and appreciations to you for attendance and to the OSSA for making this day a success.
As a serious students' body, OSSA has been and will remain to be, with the community's support, the pride of the Otuho-Speaking Community. This being the case, OSSA needs to be seriously cautious of the politics in the South. There are politicians who are bent on dividing South Sudanese people on tribal lines. You do not follow them. Instead, exert efforts against division and all its vices.
Division is so useless that it could earn you nothing but hatred which likely develops into conflict. Joseph Oduho whose commemoration we are marking today did fight for the unconditional unity of his people. Oduho's last mission in politics was to reunify fragmented brothers and sisters in the struggle. The fragmentations being referred to were the splits in the SPLM/A in 1984 and 1991. Please browse the Internet and don't be shocked when you see the amount of information you would get. Thus, as young men and women who have recognised his efforts, OSSA needs to follow one of the noble legacies Oduho left behind: serious effort to unite the people of South Sudan unconditionally. Occasions such as this do unite people and as such must be encouraged in order to perform its wonders.
As a family of the late Oduho, we would like to reiterate to you, OSSA members and today's honourable presence that we have missed our father; and have done so for the last 15 years and – God knows – we will continue to miss him forever.
However, there is one thing that encourages us as a family to live on as we remembered our father: his unresolved fight against those regimes in the Sudan that thought they would continue unabated to suppress the Sudanese people, especially those from the Southern part of it.
We are aware that our father was a friend to the late Philip Khabbush; with whom he was detained at one time by Numayri's regime. We are also aware that our father supported and encouraged both Philip Khabbush and Yusuf Kuwa to sustain the struggle of the Nuba people.
We strongly uphold our father's ideals and shall continue to cherish his legacy of unity. Therefore, on behalf of the Oduho family, I assure you who gathered here today that the Oduho family will continue to fight for the unity of the South Sudanese people.
Even though we are aware that our father was killed by fellow comrades in arms, trying to avenge for his death is foolish. It is only a fool who would think that such an action would bring Oduho back to live. An "eye for an eye" theory is unacceptable because it would leave many without eyes, and one could just imagine how disastrous that would become!
The least we, as family members could do, is to ask those who ended his life to remember him and colleagues like Fr. Saturnino Ohure, Ferdinand Adiang, William Deng, Alexis Bakumba, Martin Majier, Benjamin Bol Akok, Akot Atem de mayan, Nashigak Nyashulluk, Samuel Gai Tut, Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, William Nyuon, Peter Kidi, Garang Agwang, Mario Muor-Muor, Joseph Malath, Martin Kajivura, Pierre Ohure Okerruk, Kizito Omilluk Oduho, Philip Khabbush and Yusuf Kuwa whose forces participated in the liberation of South Sudan, and Dr John Garang who delivered all of us home, just to mention but a few of our heroes.
On behalf of the family once again, I appeal to the authorities in the GoSS to transfer the resources necessary for a serious campaign, that has to be instituted by them with the aim of promoting unity of the South Sudanese people, dealing with tribalism and introducing heroes' day in the South to appreciate and commemorate the efforts of those who gave their lives for Southern Sudan.
The Oduho family concludes by earnestly urging OSSA to join hands with the rest of the other students' associations in the South and Sudan as a whole to remember the heroes of this country; those who shed their blood to make the Sudan a country others could emulate.The peace agreements signed between the government and the Western and Eastern Sudan rebels and between SPLM/A and the Sudan government, especially the Comprehensive Peace Agreement spearheaded by the late Dr John Garang de Mabior, the most unique, I must say, of our contemporary heroes, did offer hopes for a comprehensive Sudanese peace and unity.
Finally, I would like to appeal to all the South Sudanese to forgive each other so that we could concentrate on the development of Southern Sudan.
Thank you very much and May God Bless You all?
Col. OhiyokDavid OduhoKhartoum, April 4th, 2008.
Related ilinks containing info on Oduho