South Sudan: The Surprising Return of Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin Bil

Posted: August 30, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

The Surprising Return of Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin: When you always have the heart for the country, the country always has the heart for you.

By Deng’Kur Mading, Juba, South Sudan

Dr. Majak D’Agoot and Dr. Marial Benjamin, during the SPLM extra-ordinary Convention in Juba, January 2016

Friday, August 30, 2019 (PW) — In all-of-a-sudden, no one knows what hangs in the far end. But among all the pleasures of human heart, is the power of truth above all others. South Sudan as a country with long, painful experience of violent conflicts and subsequent civil wars has, to some undeniable extent, the most patriotic citizens in the world. This has come to be a material fact in respect to how her downtrodden citizens, regardless of the suffering they are undergoing, still wear smiling faces on the streets, even more friendly to each other and assert with great deal of hope that no matter how long the suffering may be, peace as the people’s greatest expectation, would surely come. It is with unpretentious duty that some politicians are a part of such a pitiful national story.

However, it would be dishonest to assign this, otherwise, less controversial compliment to some particular elements holding the center of recent socio-political developments – betrayed freedom on the one hand and short-term, hypocritical enjoyment of economic and political opportunities on the other. Instead, it’s the national character of the people of South Sudan that rests wholly in the heart of the matter. Though this, as of recent, has been influenced by other factors including entrenched tribal loyalty, loss of vision and chief propaganda – the import of the latter of which is to elbow out or completely oust those accomplished government bureaucrats which usually comes into play after appeasement strategy losses its intended purpose, the truth remains obvious; there are some leaders whose efforts will never fade into oblivion.

Besides above issues, double standards, fears, hopes and expectations have equally helped in creating some quasi-patriotic atmosphere in our country, something that anyone can be confused with at anytime. Those who manage to remain focused and vigilant, going along with truth while weighing at the bottom of their hearts, personal interests at the very lowest count are always rare to find. With their exquisite approaches to hard issues, only a few succeed in completely winning the heart of the country.

This is not because they promise the citizens with cash or threaten them but simply because they speak to the issues affecting South Sudan without any mode of pretense or unnecessary flattery. Their only aim, as observed by many, at domestic and international levels, is absolute peace, dignity and sovereignty of their country. Softly-softly, let us touch on the core of the matter.

Frankly speaking, I am one of the people who think that our President is indeed very famous when it comes to decrees. Some decrees are a cause of his criticism. Others, his praise, public cheer and compliment. But the former come, in my imagination, in the hope that those who talk a lot can also perform a lot. The end result is the opposite; the whistle-blower turns into some sort of a complete failure, and the blame game ensues. Because they are naturally smart and garrulous, the President falls into an abyssal well of national wrath dug by his own supposedly loyalists. Our writing is too, a whistle in the wind.

However, in order to figure out the truth, one must stop counting the decrees and turn to observing and listening to public opinion. It is from such an observation that one successfully draws a fair conclusion that the personality and ability of the one so appointed is either being recoiled from or widely admired. In the latter sense, the President is, of course, the first beneficiary of such an admiration. And he would always be, I suggest!

This being the case, the recent appointment of Dr. Barnaba Marial as Presidential Advisor and Special Envoy was cheered by thousands of people throughout the country and even beyond. This tells that Dr. Benjamin has a unique leadership trait that commands respect from different parts of the world. I am proud to place my trust in his capability.

Regarding his earlier performances, it appears that many South Sudanese did not hold back their opinions in respect to the expected upswing in our country’s shrinking bilateral relations. These people might have seen or listened, many a good time, to his views on issues affecting South Sudan and her people. At a personal level, I have watched most of his local and international interviews through the end of our independence struggle to his last-held Foreign Affairs post including the difficult one with Stephen Sackur (BBC Hardtalk) – Marial proved a calibre of exquisite smartness when it came to balancing his thoughts between charting the way forward and paying a great deal of respect to ethnic diversity back in his country. After watching that calm appearance, I thought his views were a “successful blend of moral duty and diplomacy in the face of a withering media snob.”

Notwithstanding that intellectual stimulation, and since his removal as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Benjamin has never been as antagonistic as a few others have done. Instead, he made an appropriate choice from a range of possibilities; to effectively perform his constituent duties as a member of parliament representing Uror South (current Bieh State) in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA). South Sudan is blessed with only a few politicians of his kind who honestly accept political changes with even more adept gratitude, among them Dr. Francis M. Deng who served as the first South Sudan’s Ambassador to the United Nations and later, upon his relief, wholeheartedly appreciated the decision of the president and later came back home to help his country realize peace through reconciliation.

This, to all intents and purposes, proves the adage that pen is mightier than the sword. A person’s tongue is the cause of recognition, respect and admiration to others while to some, it can be a dangerous weapon that quickly helps in self-destruction. In regard to the former, we can’t deny the two gentlemen of the benefits. Worst above all is in the latter perspective, and especially when one meets that criterion in a public position. I am quite certain that if Dr. Barnaba is given an opportunity to fully perform the primal duties of his new office, the vague feeling hanging on our international reputation as a country would eventually crystallize into something more concrete.

Having in mind the negative political and ethnic sentiments that have held our country hostage as of recent, some would have us say less of such a principled man. They would want his admirable personality trait and political savvy shadowed. They would want us say his is a Nuer or a Dinka, a pro this or pro that hardliner and so forth. However, there is great hope that, as we edify socially and politically, the low-thinking, arrogant traditional intellectuals will certainly join the civilized world.

As a final remark, no one would choose to publically put someone he has never physically met on a pedestal if, at all, he was not inspired by the positive personality of that person.     Dr. Marial Benjamin is the greatest living patriot our country has ever known; a fitting role model to thousands of positive young people who dearly wish to excel in life and effectively serve the state of South Sudan and her great people. We are proud to have him back!

The Author is an L.LB Student at the School of Law, and Founder and President, School of Law Oratory Club (SLOC), at the University of Juba, South Sudan. He can be reached via his email:

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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