Dr. Sam L . Laki- US
Aggrey Jaden (1924-1985), an administrator and a politician was born to the Pojulu clan of Nyomuding at Loka, Lainya County, South Sudan in 1924. His father Ladu Wani was a soldier in the British army. Jaden married Sara Reja and the couple produced seven children two of whom are now deceased.
Jaden attended Village School Loka (1936-1938), Yei Elementary School (1938-1940) and Loka Intermediate School (1940-1944). He excelled at school always performing at the top of his class. In 1939 he won an award in a bible reading competition at Yei. This led to the promotion of his chief, late Elia Kundu, among all the 17 chiefs in Yei district.
There were no secondary schools in the whole of South Sudan during those days so he was sent to Nabumali secondary school in Uganda (1944-1947). He joined the Gordon Memorial College (University of Khartoum) in 1947 majoring in economics and public administration. Jaden was the first South Sudanese to graduate from the University of Khartoum in 1952.
Jaden was appointed an Inspector of local government and posted to Al Fasher, Darfur, Sudan in 1953 where he worked until 1956. He worked briefly at Torit in 1954 and Juba in 1955. In December 1955, the British colonial government ordered all the inspectors of local government to travel to Khartoum to witness the raising of the Sudanese flag to mark the Independence Day on January 1, 1956, but Jaden declined to attend.
He also refused to come to work on Independence Day saying that he was sick because he dreaded having to raise the Sudanese flag since it had nothing to offer to South Sudan, the colonial government could not bear this so a doctor was sent to examine him in his house. The doctor declared him to be fit. He was then demoted from the position of a local government inspector to that of a managing director and transferred to Renk, Upper Nile, South Sudan in 1956.
When he realized that his personal security was at stake, he took unpaid leave and traveled home to Loka where he proceeded into exile in Uganda. He became a founding member of Sudan African National Union (SANU) a “political wing” and South Sudan Liberation movement (SSLM) a “military wing”.
Jaden was active in politics at the Gordon Memorial College; he was involved in political activities such as writing wall papers (broadside), newsletters and petitions. When Jamal Abdel Nasser came to power through a military coup in Egypt, a Sudanese delegation took memos to present to him.
The UMMA party led by Abdel Rahman El Mahdi demanded for independence for Sudan while the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Ali Said El Mirghani demanded for union with Egypt. Nasser agreed to grant Sudan independence. Jaden opposed the positions of both North Sudanese parties, citing lack of adequate representation for South Sudan.
Jaden articulated the South Sudanese point of view which favored a federal system of government for Sudan. Before the independence of Sudan was declared in Parliament in 1954, Jaden had presented a memo to the colonial government calling for a delay in granting Sudan independence until such a time when a proper consideration was accorded to South Sudan, the administration rejected his appeal.
He predicted a rebellion in South Sudan which did occur at Torit in 1955 when the Equatoria corps refused to be transferred to North Sudan, and the Anya-Nya freedom fighters was formed in 1956.
Jaden was elected secretary general of the Sudan African Closed Districts National Union (SACDNU) that was founded at Kinshasa, Congo in February 1962. The name of SACDNU was changed to Sudan African National Union (SANU) in 1963 with its headquarters at Kampala in Uganda. Jaden was elected SANU president at its first convention in Kampala in 1964 and the South Sudan Liberation movement served as the military wing. Jaden also served briefly as the director of East African Railways.
When the military regime of Abrahim Abboud (1958-1964) which pursued the twin policies of Arabization and Islamization of South Sudan was overthrown in 1964, the caretaker government of Sir El Khatim Khalifa organized the round table conference in March 16-23, 1965 at Khartoum, Sudan. Jaden, the president of SANU led the delegation to the round table conference.
The SANU position was that there had to be self determination for South Sudan. A breakaway faction of SANU led by Mr. William Deng demanded for a federation for Sudan and the Southern Front demanded for a referendum in South Sudan to determine what the people of South Sudan wanted. But the North Sudanese parties preferred local autonomy for South Sudan. The resolutions passed at the round table conference were hiring of South Sudanese for the civil service, the appointment of South Sudanese headmasters, the freedom of religion, freedom to open private schools and an establishment of a University in South Sudan.
A 12-man committee was appointed and charged with the task of coming up with recommendations for a follow-up round table conference in three months time but no such conference took place.
General Joseph Lagu, chairman of the South Sudan Liberation Army and General Jaafar Nimeri, president of Sudan signed the 1972 Addis Ababa agreement that granted local autonomy to South Sudan. Jaden who never participated in the negotiations declined to accept the position of minister of local government in the Southern region government and chose to remain in exile in Kenya.
Jaden was forced to return to Sudan in 1977 when Lagu and Nimeri conspired to have his legal status to remain in Kenya revoked because Jaden had criticized the southern region government for nepotism and rampant corruption.
Jaden languished in Khartoum for several months before traveling to Juba where he was never welcomed by the regional government headed by Abel Alier.He returned an angry man and despite a lot of persuading, he refused to dirty his untarnished political career by participating in the government.
He died in 1985 and was laid to rest in his home village Loka.
The Biography of Mr. Aggrey Jaden was composed by Dr. Sam L. Laki, Professor of Resource Economics, Water Resources Management, Central State University, Wilberforce OH 45384