By: JUOL NHOMNGEK GEC, JUBA SOUTH SUDAN.
Telar Ring Deng was an adroit as well an agile South Sudanese politician. His death left us acrimonious though against nobody in particular. He was reported orally that he was suffering from Covid-19 which he died as a result on December 27, 2020. Indeed, the news of his death devastated us as it took us aback.
The death of Ambassador Telar Ring Deng was a blow to all of us since the way it happened was aberrant. Thus, it becomes hard for us to acquaint ourselves to the news.
Since he passed on on December 27, 2020, we have been trying to term with the news of his death but it is hard to adapt to its aftermath.. The circumstances surrounding his death and the explanation given about the cause of his death do not add up to the complete story that can convince any ordinary citizens.
There is a lot to be desired concerning of how he died and how his body was treated after his death. In my personal opinion Ambassador Telar Ring Deng did not die as a result of COVID-19 as the President quickly wrote about it in his Condolence message.
In his Condolence message, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit wrote on December 28, 2020 that ” I am deeply saddened to hear that Ambassador Telar Ring Deng has succumbed to COVID-19 related illness last evening”
The President rushes to mention COVID-19 in the first Paragraph in his Condolence message yet it was not necessary at that moment. Moreover, the results of COVID-19 were announced orally through phone call. . Up to now there are no documentary evidence to support the claim of the President that the death of Ambassador Telar Ring due to the COVID-19.
The above inconsistent story of COVID-19 as a cause of the death of Ambassador Telar besides the way the body was treated even after he died makes me to have some reservations concerning the COVID-19 as the cause of his death,. The reasons: for my reservations are:
First of all, though I don’t have clear evidence of who has made a fault play in the death of Ambassador Telar Ring Deng , I am not convinced that he died of COVID-19. For instance, when the deceased became sick and the symptoms were like that of COVID-19,, the COVID-19 Task Force was called to come and take the sample for testing for Corona Virus.
When the members of COVID-19 Task Force came, they took sample and assured the deceased and the caretaker that they would bring the results within an hour that was in the morning of December 24, 2020. Surprisingly and without clear explanation, the COVID-19 Task Force only informed the Daughter of the Late Ambassador Telar Ring Deng at around 4 or 5 PM on that day that the Ambassador Telar tested positive of COVID-19. This was done orally through phone call .
Hence, I believe that the death of Ambassador Telar Ring Deng was not due to the Corona Virus as we are being made to believe it.
Second to the above point, those who were with the Late Ambassador Telar Ring Deng even the time he was diagnosed with the so-called COVID-19 as the cause of his death were later tested but found negative. This further increases my doubt that the Late was suffering and died as a result of COVID-19.
Third, the time the Late Ambassador Telar Ring Deng died was not clear though our members who went there to see him on that day were later informed that he died at 5 PM on December 27, 2020.
According to the news I heard from some people inside the Hospital and other sources, the deceased in fact died in the morning hours on that day but the family was not informed until 5 PM for the reason not known. Why the people were not informed early in the morning as soon as he passed on still beats my understanding.
To back up the foregoing point, one of our members at 1 PM got one of the Doctors working on the body which showed that that Doctor was injecting the body with thanatopraxis which is used in preserving the dead bodies from decaying. That comrade of mine asked the doctor what the type of the medicine, and why was he injecting the deceased twice with such big needles with two syringes full of medicine but the doctor gave him false information that it was medicine to stabilize sugar levels in the deceased body. That explanation was not convincing though as we know the medicine used in stabilizing sugar levels is different from what he saw on that day.
Fourth, the President of the Republic of South Sudan was requested to declare three days of mourning for the Late Ambassador, which he appeared to have accepted initially but he later changed his mind and rejected the request without giving any reason.
In actual sense, Late Ambassador Telar Ring Deng deserved the national Honor as the President and others who sent their condolences clearly acknowledged in their messages to the nation and the family of the Late.
As the President clearly stated in Paragraph three of his condolence message to the nation and the family that Ambassador Telar Ring Deng “was a leader and he will be remembered by the people of South Sudan as a liberator and a politician who contributed to the shaping of the Political discourse in our Country. As we mourn him, let us all stand in solidarity with his family, his colleagues, and greater Yirol Community “.
The words of the President in the above quote show that the Late Ambassador Telar Ring Deng deserved all National respect irrespective of his Political affiliation. However, the President denied him the National Honor and even Church prayers in Juba that since he died of COVID-19, the gathering was not allowed which was not a good reason.
I don’t know to what did the President mean by standing in solidarity with the family of Late Ambassador Telar Ring Deng if denied him the honor he deserved as well as denying him the mercy of God even when he is dead. This was a pure politics played over the dead body of the National Hero.
Denying Late Ambassador Telar Ring Deng prayers on ground of Corona Virus was not the strong reason to refuse his body prayers in Church in Juba since one week before the passing on of the Late the non-religious gathering was allowed. The show by Musician Diamond Platnumz was conducted without any restrictions. Why refusing the prayers in the Church by the people who could even observe social distancing?
As I have mentioned above, the show was quiet a bit immoral and against COVID-19 regulations but still it went. The President’ himself attended the show that was even turned into sexual cannibal on his watch. South Sudanese girls were being touched in an offensive moral manner yet the President condoned the show simply because it was profit making business intended to benefit the organizer who invited the President herself.
The above example makes me believe that the denial of the prayers to the Late Ambassador Telar was more to do with the politics than the Corona Virus. This is why I believe that Late Ambassador Telar did not die of Corona Virus.
Fifth, though the centre for COVID-19 is said to be run by the private organization but it is in reality being controlled by the Government as it is controlled by one of the Vice Presidents who is also a close ally to the President and since the President seems to be in clear conflict with the Late Ambassador given the way his remains have been treated under the orders of the President, I don’t whether someone like Late Ambassador Telar Ring Deng could get the care he deserved. Hence, he might have not died because of Corona Virus.
In relation to the above point, the Centre is being managed by the Government doctors who can easily be compromised due to poor payments for doctors unless there is high moral integrity. This is even made worse that the patient is left to their Mercy as his caretakers are not allowed. This can give a room for anyone to accelerate the death of the patient.
In summary and in my personal opinion, the Late Ambassador Telar Ring Deng did not die of COVID-19 as it has been reported though we are not sure exactly as to who might be responsible for his death. In addition, , as long as the documentary evidence was not produced at that time to support the position of the President and others that the Late Ambassador died of Corona Virus or COVID-19, I believe the deceased did not die of Corona Virus.
He might have died because of his Political views given the fact that there is high skepticism of Dinka people being in the SPLM-IO. This is because the presence of Dinka people in the SPLM-IO is likely to destroy the theory of the SPLM-IO being associated with ethnicity. In addition, it will complicate the matters for the SPLM-IG if many Dinkas can join the SPLM-IO.
Therefore, the best thing to do is to persuade the Dinka elders and other members to abandon the SPLM-IO and of they don’t they could even be eliminated. For instance, Comrade Captain Mabior Garang was poisoned after he refused to abandon the SPLM-IO. In the same way the way Late General Makur Mayom died under unclear circumstances, which is the same way Ambassador Telar Ring Deng died. Many more Dinka people in the SPLM-IO should expect to meet their fate that way.
As the parties are not willing to go into physical confrontation to isolate and weaken the SPLM-IO is, the remaining war. The cold war in which all Dinka members in the SPLM-IO are being persuaded to leave the SPLM-IO or coerced to leave it by all means so that it is isolated and remain as the so-called “Nuer Movement” as it has been the tool to defeat the SPLM-IO in the last 8 years.
However, as things stand now the best way of achieving peace is not through the use of force or through cold war but to implement the current Revitalized Agreement in letter and spirit. What is clear is that the SPLM-IO is our party and we will never leave it no matter what. We are ready to defend it through all peaceful means.
In future, we will make sure that Ambassador Telar Ring will be reburied with the Honor as he deserves. We shall struggle to make sure that we have power to implement that agenda.
(NB: The writer is a member of the SPLM-IO and the views expressed above are his personal opinion which are not attributed to the SPLM-IO as a party.)