Remembering Dr. John Garang de Mabior

OVER a decade ago, Dr. John Garang, a US-educated African bush guerrilla and charismatic leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement led a two-decade liberation war of the Southern part of the country, from Sudan His group signed a widely-hailed peace deal with the government of Sudan, ending Africa’s longest-running civil war. In July, Garang briefly served as First Vice President in a national unity government; before his death in 2005, in a tragic helicopter crash.

Dr. Garang died in a helicopter crash 15 years ago
Dr. Garang died in a helicopter crash 15 years ago

DR. John Garang was a Sudanese politician and revolutionary leader right from 1983.

He was born on June 23, 1945 and died in a helicopter crash on 30 July 2005; after the Ugandan presidential Mi-172 helicopter he was flying in crashed. It was piloted by Col. Peter Nyakairu and Capt. Paul Kiyimba.

Other Ugandans who died in the crash were Captains Patrick Kiggundu and Paul Kiyemba, Lt. Johnson Munanura, Ms. Lillian Kabeije, Samuel Bakowa and Cpl. Hassan Kizza.

He had been returning from a meeting in Rwakitura with President Yoweri Museveni.

Garang was a major influence on the movement that led to the foundation of South Sudan.

He led the Sudan People’s Liberation Army during the Second Sudanese Civil War, and following a peace agreement he briefly served as First Vice President of Sudan.

A probe committee was set up; John Nasasira led the Uganda team while former Sudanese Vice-President Abel Alier Kuai led the Sudan team. Ministers Ruhakana Rugunda and Beatrice Wabudeya and former Army Commander Maj. Gen. James Kazini comprised the Uganda team.

The report, issued simultaneously in Sudan and Uganda in April 2006, said the flight AF 602 accident was partly caused by inadequacies in operational systems.

The report identified the probable causes of the crash as, the captain’s failure to maintain horizontal and vertical situational awareness of the helicopter’s proximity to the surrounding terrain, resulting in inadequate clearance and controlled flight into terrain.

It also cited the captain’s decision to continue visual flight into deteriorating weather conditions and the inadequacies in operational systems.

Uganda Relations
27.07.2002. The historical handshake. For the first time in 19 years, Sudanese President Omar El Bashir came face to face with the Leader of the SPLA Dr. John Garang de Mabior. The two met under the mediation of president Museveni at International conference center 27.07.2002

Sudanese President Omar El Bashir comes face to face with the Leader of the SPLA Dr. John Garang de Mabior
Sudanese President Omar El Bashir comes face to face with the Leader of the SPLA late Dr. John Garang de Mabior

 

SPLA_M Leader John Garang greets the National Democratic Alliance members during a meeting of the Sudan Rebel groups in Kampala

Garang and his wife Rebecca

July 29 2005.John Garang met with President Museveni’s country home in Rwakitura to discuss over important issues about the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed with Khartoum government in January 2005 in Naivasha, Kenya.

Dr. Garang on his arrival at Entebbe airport before heading to Rwakitura to meet President Yoweri Museveni; on July 29 2005.

 

Dr. Garang meets a crew assigned to transport him to Rwakitura, where he was scheduled to meet President Yoweri Museveni.

 

Dr. Garang on his arrival in Rwakitura, to meet President Yoweri Museveni, in July 2005.

 

Dr. Garang’s funeral in 2005. Touching Dr. Garang’s casket, is his wife Rebecca.

 

President Salva Kiir and President Museveni lay wreaths on the grave of the late John Garanga.