8 March 2014

South Sudan: Family of Late John Garang Condemn Conduct of "Demonic" Rituals On Grave

Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
An SPLA (Sudanese people liberation army) soldier arranges a portrait of John Garang De Mabior on his tomb in Juba,

Juba — Various rituals including slaughtering of bulls, placement of bull horns and other animal remains have been conducted on the grave yard of the late South Sudan's leader, John Garang de Mabior, to prevent his "ghost" from haunting president Salva Kiir, a practice condemned by the family members of the late.

The late's memorial site in Juba has seen a significant raise in recent days after groups believe to be close to the president Salva Kiir attempt to tell the ghost of late Garang to leave the president alone.

The president of South Sudan is said to have recurring dreams in which the late Garang, his predecessor who died in a mysterious helicopter crash in 2005, strangles the life out of him.

Such conduct of rituals on the grave has been the topic for discussions in various blogs as family members of the late criticize the practice.

Garang's eldest son, Mabior Garang de Mabior, who recently takes part in the peace talks in Addis Ababa on the side of the rebels condemned the rituals, describing them as "demonic and primitive."

"... These demonic primitive rulers have gone as far as placing cow horns on the grave of the late Dr. John because they believe it will stop Salva from having bad dreams... he was suffering from a recurring dream in which John Garang strangles him... ," wrote the son of the late leader on his Facebook page.

It is not clear how long the president has had this problem, or whether members of his cabinet are also being haunted by the ghost of Garang, but this growing group of dedicated supporters and well-wishers have taken it upon themselves to do what it takes to ensure that nothing comes in the way of the president.

"I have been seeing people dressed in a style of sorcerers conducting rituals at the grave, but I couldn't understand what it means. I thought they were honouring the late," a Juba resident eyewitness told Sudan Tribune on Friday.

Many South Sudanese communities have the tradition of scaring off ghosts through rituals in order to prevent them from haunting the living, particularly when it is perceived that the dead may have certain blames on the living.

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