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Media reflects fears over Sudan violence

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KHARTOUM, Aug 3, 2005 (Sudan Tribune) — With the Sudanese capital of Khartoum in ferment after the death of Vice-President John Garang, media in Africa reflect the uncertainty of the situation and consider what it means for the continent at large.

In Sudan itself, state TV broadcasts have stressed the need for the continuation of the peace process inititiated by Mr Garang, the former leader of the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), and President Omar Al-Bashir.

Further afield, there are similar pleas for the Sudanese not to let the chance for peace slip, with the belief expressed that what happens in Sudan will have an impact thoughout Africa.

Citizens are paying their last respects to Dr Garang, the man the nation lost, as the atmosphere of deep sadness continues to hang over the country. Pagan Amum, an SPLM leader, has issued a statement, saying they will continue on the same path taken by Garang... The best course of action is for the movement to continue the path it has chosen, the path of the peace process.

Sudanese TV

With the death of Dr John Garang, the international media will be converging in Sudan for a very rare reason - to highlight something positive they have long ignored: The rebirth of a nation... Though marred by such problems as Darfur, Sudan deserves support to follow the path it has chosen. It is a home-grown solution-finding showcase. Sudan’s handling of the death of one of this showcase’s key architects will not only be a test for the country, but a test for the spirit of optimism in Africa.

Kenya’s Nation

Garang death should not derail peace - We would like to urge the Sudanese people not to let grief over a peace maker be used as an excuse to re-ignite war, in Africa’s biggest country... We are, however, encouraged by the SPLM leadership that has moved swiftly to fill the leadership void created by the death of Col Garang... we would like to caution the several parties in Sudan against capitalizing on the grieving Sudanese to whip up emotions for their own ends.

Zimbabwe’s Chronicle

John Garang is no more. Like him or hate him... he symbolized the hopes of millions of Sudanese people - both in the South and North - who cherished and fought for justice, equality, unity and true democracy in the Sudan. With his fall, a significant part of our African Dream has been shattered... Garang has fought a good fight. He has kept the faith.

Kenya’s Standard

Sudan holds its breath - The untimely death of John Garang is tragic for Sudan and for Africa... it still remains uncertain whether the SPLM/A leadership, lacking Garang’s charisma and stature, can keep the peace process on track... Unless the SPLM/A’s new leadership keeps a tight rein, the movement could be thrown asunder by militants, thus disrupting the government of national unity and the whole peace deal..."

South Africa’s Star

Keep Garang’s legacy alive - Without doubt, Garang’s death creates a gap in the [Sudan People’s Liberation] Movement’s leadership and leaves his successor... Salva Kiir Mayardit with the daunting task of keeping the party united and of rigidly persevering with his policies. But will he? A big threat to Garang’s dream of a united Sudan is Kiir Mayardit’s insistence on the south’s right to secede after the six-year transition.

South Africa’s Business Day

Although he is dead, physically, his spirit and vision should live on. More so because Dr Garang was the single most visible symbol representing the Black race’s resistance to racist bigotry and religious sectarianism in the Sudan, whose vision aspired for the ’New Sudan’, where all Sudanese were equal regardless of race, religion or class.

Uganda’s Daily Monitor

It will be said of him that he did better than Biblical Moses. At least he stepped in the Promised Land, albeit for only three weeks. As the scriptures might say, he tasted of the wine, but never drank of it. But let it be said of Garang; very few men ever made a finer political brew than he did.

Commentary in Uganda’s Daily Monitor

Faced with difficulties Sudan is experiencing after the death of John Garang, there is no other alternative for the Sudanese people other than to join hands and go forward with the peace process to achieve peace and stability and development for Sudan. Sudan is facing great challenges facing... What Garang’s wife said on the need to continue with the peace process is the best response to those seeking to incite the situation again. Sudan cannot stand fresh conflicts or tragedies.

Material provided by the BBC Monitoring Service.

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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