You used to be able to buy James Wani Igga’s book at the Juba airport newspaper kiosk. Perhaps you still can. Southern Sudan: Battles Fought and the Secrecy of Diplomacy is the kind of 400 page war memoir that includes anecdotes of the Third Punic War (p57, 149 – 146 BC, Wani tells us) as well as more contemporary descriptions of Wani’s adventures during the second civil war:
“We conducted some limited shelling this morning (24 January, 1991) inside Lainya. It was quite effective. There was a lot of smoke and unidentifiable flames in the barracks. Unlike yesterday, they responded heavily. We were interrupted by aerial bombardment that lasted two and a half hours throwing 18 bombs. Our losses are yet to be ascertained (if any). We are conducting a further shelling this afternoon.” (p. 187)
“My second in command as usual started fomenting trouble. In the morning he arrested the zonal military intelligence commander and in the meeting opposed me that I was dictatorial and only called the meeting to impose my ideas. I denied his charge arguing that I was not imposing my views and that mine was only a proposal to attack, which could be rejected or accepted by OCG [Operation Command Group].
‘You always bring cooked plans, and expect people to execute blindly,’ continued my second in command. The rest of the OCG members opposed him and told him that there was no democracy in the army.” (p. 107)
There are further insights on Wani’s views on democracy, from 1988:
“On the subject of democracy, I warned that in the SPLM certainly we needed democracy. But I cautioned for extra circumspection in its understanding and practice. In that regard, I opined that we were under obligation to clearly perceive the concept plus all its types we talk about while we were still in the bush…In addition, I contended that given the level of political consciousness in South Sudan’s multiethnic society, democracy was bound to be misused as it had happened during the days of the regional autonomy…
Unfortunately, one of the colleagues misunderstood my line of reasoning and took me for an anti-democrat. In fact, I was [sic] favoured participatory democracy outright provided it did not distract us from actual fight and struggle for freedom.” (p. 127)
Unsurprisingly, Riek Machar surfaces a few times in the book. He is mentioned six times in the index, although this is not a comprehensive listing. Early mentions of Riek are neutral. But by page 229, after Riek’s split from and return to the SPLM, Wani’s tone has changed:
“For verification of my adherence and determination to reunification, I had in 2003 to relinquish my position number three in the Movement’s hierarchy to Dr. Durghuon [Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon] and that truly was a rare virtue. Of course, without unity all of us would have wasted that precious time of 20 years in the struggle for nothing but benefit of the enemy.”
In Wani’s eyes, the natural order of the hierarchy may now have been restored. And Wani may feel particularly compelled to demonstrate, as vice-president, just how different he is from Riek.