R.I.P. THE LEGENDARY UNCLE OF THE REPUBLIC, ELIJAH MALOK ALENG (28-11-1937 to 30-10-2014)…!
“Uncle Elijah Malok Aleng is irreplaceable. The man was brutally honest and was never afraid to speak the truth. I just wish he did not go this soon; South Sudan needs him, people of Bor community needs him, and his little grandchildren needed him the most. The legend will be terribly missed,” Aduei Riak reacts to the breaking news of Uncle Elijah’s passing .
Like the heartbreaking news of the chopper accident of Dr. John Garang de Mabior and the crew on July 30, 2005, this news of the passing of Uncle Elijah on October 30, 2014, is unbelievable! Uncle Elijah Malok Aleng passed on in Nairobi Hospital at 1.20PM today (October 30) after a month of battling stroke and diabetes.
It is disturbing! I have been praying that this man lives on to author not only another book but the whole history of this ‘baby nation’ in addition to what he had already written: ‘THE SOUTHERN SUDAN: STRUGGLE FOR LIBERTY’.
As seen in the title of his first and last book of our virgin history series, after his 1972 Master’s Decree research book, The Commercialization of the Sudan Cotton, Uncle Elijah is larger than history; so huge and historic to the extent that my own words cannot explain his historical paths through the histories of South Sudan, Sudan and the Sudan.
In fact, it is almost impossible to tell in near accurate narrative what had happened, what has happened, what is happening and what will have happened around the life of this man, Elijah Malok Aleng Mayen, now that I am sharing this unfortunate news under intense emotions of grief and grievances of his too early passing in the wake of our raw history.
Indeed, he is one of ‘The Black Christs of Africa’, the liberators of the Sudanic Africans, upon whom I have bestowed that titular dedication of my poetry book. Read his summarized profile below:
NB: But, please, don’t forget to put his family in prayers.
The names of the family members will be availed after further inquiries as this writer is not close to the family by any relation but friendship and citizenship. Please, leave your comments at the end of this post in the ‘Comments’ section and they will be factored into the profile here.
Brief Biography of Elijah Malok Aleng (28-11-1937 to 30-10-2014)
Elijah Malok Aleng is a South Sudanese public servant, general, and politician, from Twic East County (Aulian section of Nyuak Payam/District) of the Bor Dinka subtribe in Jonglei State. He was born on 28 November 1937 in Thianwong, a Pen village about five miles East of Baidit in Central Bor among the Angakuei clan. He attended Rialbek Bush School in 1949, where he passed with good grades at the end of the school academic year and attended Malek Primary School (1950–1953), and then Juba Intermediate School and Juba Commercial Senior Secondary School. He then attended Free University of the Congo (former Zaire) in the present Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and later got a scholarship to study in Fribourg Catholic University, Switzerland, from which he obtained a Masters degree in Economics in 1972. In 1975 he obtained another Masters in Development Studies and Economic Planning from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.
He was elected a Member of Parliament (MP) representing Bor North territorial constituency in the regional parliament of Sudan in May 1982.
He enrolled in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/SPLA) on 28 December 1983 and became active in its ranks. He started as one of the senior political commissars in June 1984, and then went to join the SPLA Cadet Military College in western Ethiopia, graduating with the rank of a major. He was posted in Southern Blue Nile front, where he was the second in command after the late A/Cdr Wilson Kur Chol. The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) forces of Eagle Battalion, which they were commanding, were largely made up of Dinka elements from Northern Bahr el Ghazal specifically from Abiei, Gogrial and Aweil Counties. He remained in Southern Blue Nile front until mid-1987 when he was accredited to francophone West Africa as a special envoy of the movement. He was the SPLM Resident Representative in the Peoples’ Republic of the Congo (Brazaville), with non-residential representation in Zaire (now DRC), Gabon, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Rwanda, Burundi and Chad. He was primarily stationed in Brazzaville, Congo, but travelled from time to time in the various capitals.
Positions and roles in Africa Liberation Struggle
He remained in Francophone Africa until the advent of multi-party democracy in 1991. In June 1991, he was appointed Executive Director of the SRRA where he remained until January 1993, when he was transferred and became the spokesman of the SPLM in East Africa, a duty he carried out for the whole of 1993. In January 1994, he was appointed Secretary of the national Convention Organising Committee (COC), which organized the First SPLM/A National Convention, also referred to as The Chukudum Convention, a historic meeting that marked the stepping away of the SPLM/SPLA from the Eastern Blocs’ communist tendency towards the democratization of a rebel movement in Africa.
The convention was successfully held in Chukudum, New Sudan, in April/May 1994. After this convention such SPLM structures as the General Military Council (GMC), National Liberation Council (NLC) and National Executive Council (NEC) were instituted. He was elected member of NLC representing Bor North territorial constituency and he also became a member and Secretary of the First NEC in the portfolio of Co-ordination and Public Service. In 1997, he was reshuffled away from public service and coordination to an advisory role in the Office of Chairman and C-in-C of the SPLM/SPLA. In that capacity,he became the advisor on economic, financial and political affairs. In February 1999, he was again appointed, for the second time, the Executive Director of the SRRA and ex-officio member of the NEC on humanitarian affairs in New Sudan. When peace negotiations began between various Sudan governments and the SPLM between 1985-2005, he was always the Secretary of the SPLM to the Peace Talks continuing until the CPA was signed in January 2005. In 2005 he was appointed Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sudan (CBOS) and President of the Bank of Southern Sudan (BOSS).
Post-South Sudan independence
After the independence of South Sudan on 9 July 2011, he became the de facto Governor of the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) until he was dismissed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and replaced by his deputy Kornelius Koryom Mayiik in August 2011. He introduced the first currency of the country which is the South Sudanese Pound. He co-signed the historic currency with the then Minister of Finance, Deng Athorbei. As a governor he tried his best to fight corruption and misuse of public funds. His straightforward approach and openness is believed to have cost him central bank’s job as lobbied away by interest groups and individuals on whose way he stood as the national watchman at the gate of the public funds.
Until his death on October 30, 2014 in Nairobi Hospital (Kenya), Uncle Elijah, as popularly known and classified with the legendary elders of the nation like Uncle Abel Alier and Uncle joseph Lagu, is still within the ranks of Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) with the rank of a Lieutenant General. As hinted above, he has written a book Southern Sudan Struggle for Liberty published by the East Africa Publishers in 2009.
Major parts of this life history was drawn from online sources such as the Wikipedia, besides the scanty memories of this blogger, Jon Pen de Ngong. Therefore, the writer would appreciate any addition to or subtraction from this profile of the South Sudanese liberation legend, especially on his family parts still missing. Please, leave your comments in the ‘Comments’ slot at the end of this post. Any inadvertent omissions or commissions to his life history are apologized for in advance.