Tributes to the late Chief of Defense Forces, Gen James Ajonga Mawut Unguec

Posted: April 28, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle; it takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into the battle,” Says Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.

By Bol Madut Ayii, Juba, South Sudan

 April 28, 2018 (PW) — It is always not easy to write about the dead for there is that nagging fear that they would want to be remembered for particular things which may not necessarily be the focus of the writer. The painful part is they aren’t there to make the needed amends. Still, writing a tribute for General James Ajonga Mawut Unguec is necessary, for he was a freedom fighter, a loyal officer, a man of the people a humble and honest army officer.

More importantly, he was a South Sudanese who paid his dues, he fought for the independence and take off any assignment offered to him by the leadership and indeed he served his nation without fear or favor, those are the dues of good and loyal citizen. General Ajonga left a good name, excellent deeds, the respect of his family, friends, colleagues and the nation at large.

This tribute is a recognition of his achievements, his perseverance, his struggle, his wisdom, loyalty and humbleness and all that even those things that this writer do not know about him.

It was indeed with profound shock and dismay that South Sudanese learnt of the passing on of Comrade James Ajonga Mawut at Egyptian military Hospital in Cairo, on Friday the 20th of April, 2018, which was another black day to South Sudanese as people and South Sudan as a nation. General James Ajonga’s military career dates to 1984. He was among a group of South Sudanese students who abandoned their studies at Rumbek Secondary School and took to the bush to join the SPLM/A.

Prior to that he had attained a primary education in his village before going to Awiel Intermediate. General Ajonga was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the SPLA in 1984 after passing out of the military training known as shield one, equivalent to a military command course in a conventional army. He was deployed after the training as part of Jamus battalion, where he rose through the ranks and held various command assignments in different places in Equatoria and Bahr el Ghazal regions.

Writing the profile of this great son of South Sudan may take pages and the pages may not be enough for the intended tribute.  Comrade James Ajonga Mawut was a patriot and tried and tested revolutionary officer of the SPLA and the SPLM as a political wing of liberation struggle. Above all, he was a brilliant military tactician as well as one of the fearless Commanders of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), SPLM’s Military Wing. In addition, Comrade Ajonga was a dedicated and hardworking and a committed army officer.

His death is therefore a big loss, not only to his family but also to the entire South Sudan Nation. When I say Comrade Ajonga was a fearless freedom fighter who never wavered, I do not do so merely for political relevance. I say so because he was a reliable SPLA Commander with an unbroken resolve, undiminished energy, unshakeable dedication and an unwavering patriotism. He embodied all these traits and personified single-minded self-application to the task at hand.

Comrade Ajonga had a forceful personality, high intelligence and keen intellectual ability as well as toughness of mind and a high degree of courage. Indeed, he demonstrated unique leadership qualities and was ever vigilant to defend the gains of our hard won freedom and independence. Late Gen. Ajonga like his peers of that time left the school in his earliest age to join the National Liberation Struggle , waged by SPLM/A.

As one of the pioneers of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), SPLM’s Military Wing, and a tried and tested cadre of SPLM, Comrade Ajonga rose through the ranks and held various positions in SPLA . He distinguished himself as a gallant and fearless fighter in many battle operations inside Sudan. Comrade Ajonga was instrumental in transforming the SPLA into a professional and modern army after his appointment as chief of defense forces in May 2017 a position he held till death robbed him from us, indeed South Sudan have been robbed of a humble, honest and loyal leader.

Comrade Ajonga was bestowed with the position of our national army chief in recognition of his contribution to the attainment of our country’s freedom and independence. As we bid farewell to Comrade Ajonga, a veteran of our National Liberation Struggle with whom we crossed many rivers of blood and thick jungles, our sadness is tempered by the comforting knowledge that he fought for a noble cause and lived in pursuit of a better life for all our people. Furthermore, as we take leave of Comrade Ajonga, we are consoled by the knowledge that he lived to see a free and independent South Sudan, as the sweet fruit of his sacrifices and labour.

Although his demise leaves a void which will be difficult to fill, his products bear witness to his selfless sacrifice and focused dedication to the betterment of the living standards of South Sudanese people in general and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in particular. Mindful of the sacrifices borne by the Late Comrade Ajonga and given his illustrious background, I thank His Excellency, Gen Abdullah Al Fatah Sisi, the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Egyptian Army for conferring a hero’s and military recognition to Gen James Ajonga. Our brothers in Egypt have shown the real spirit of brotherhood since the day Gen Ajonga was on his sick bed at Egyptian military hospital until that fateful night of Friday 20th.

I view this as befitting for a person of his caliber who dedicated his entire life to the National Liberation Struggle and the betterment of the lives of all our people. The Nation has indeed lost not only a committed and patriotic South Sudanese but also a reliable Comrade and a custodian of the country’s Safety and Security. We must therefore emulate and draw strength from his exemplary deeds as we chart the future destiny of our country.  Late James Ajonga represented a generation of those who gave up their childhood and youth for a life of struggle, to ensure the liberation of all South Sudanese, when there was no prospect of reward or recognition.

We should never forget that role played by General Ajonga and others in helping us move from a repressive regime to a society built on the values of human rights, dignity and democracy. General Ajonga will be remembered as a remarkable, modest, honest and loyal commander who had never been greed of positions like others.

He have done his part during his lifetime on earth and indeed he died with honour as a nationalist who did not stubbed his people from the back. May his memories serve as consolation to all of us and grant us fortitude during this time of bereavement and sorrow.

May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace

The author, Molana Bol Madut Ayii, is pursuing his maters degree in Law at Juba University. He can be reached via his email:

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