Is Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin a Victim of Own Self or a Self-Seeker Trapped in the Middle?
May 07, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing (Sylvia Plath)”.
Successful people believe that achieving goals is not a matter of having “self-restraint”. It’s a matter of motivating yourself, and keeping your focus on your goals. However, this article will partially (but not in-depth) highlight some of Dr. Lam Akol’s achievements and failures in politics, as well as his awaiting downfall in politics.
About three decades ago, Dr. Lam Akol joined SPLM/A as a PhD holder and one of the young politicians betting for change. One decade later Dr. Akol joined Dr. Riek Machar to team up and fight for Self-determination of South Sudan. As years went by, Dr. Lam Akol progressively showed some unusual attitude which was considered by the SPLM/A Nasir faction to be unhealthy approach. Nevertheless, Dr. Lam Ajawin’s boss saw enough of him and eventually dismissed him from Nasir faction.
After his dismissal from SPLM/A Nasir faction in 1994, Dr. Lam formed his own SPLM/A-United movement, and afterward signed what so called “the Fashoda Peace Agreement” with the government of Sudan, but parallel to Khartoum Peace Agreement signed by his former boss Dr. Riek Machar. Immediately after Pashoda Peace Agreement, Dr. Akol was appointed as a Minister of Transportation by the government of Sudan. Nevertheless, some years later Dr. Lam Akol abdicated the ruling party and became a member of opposition party known as “Justice Party”. Yet, one year later Dr. Lam Akol reunited with SPLA mainstream led by Dr. Garang. After the CPA implemented, the unity government was formed by the two warring parties, and Dr. Lam Akol was made a minister of foreign affairs. But because of his flip flopping politic, Dr. Lam Akol once again accused of working parallel to the SPLM party and ultimately dismissed from the party.
As usual business for him, Dr. Lam Akol formed his own party and named it “Sudan people liberation Movement for Democratic Change” or SPLM-DC. Soon after the party was formed, Dr. Lam Akol’s relationship with the ruling party was deteriorated and he fled to Sudan for his own dear life as the loose security agents in South Sudan does not spare a life of someone whom the president seen as a threat. While in the exile, Dr. Lam Akol had established a strong relationship with the Shilluk people including those in the SPLA army. Although in the exile, Dr. Lam was able to convince a lot of South Sudanese mostly Shilluk and Nuer to vote for him in 2010 election.
After election was allegedly rigged, a lot of South Sudanese armed forces and many militias rebelled against the government because of the say rigging. Among those rebelled were Johnson Olony and Ayouk who later became Dr. Akol’s militia and operated under him.
When the relationship between Dr. Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir has worsened in 2013, Dr. Lam who wanted to seize that opportunity after dismissal of Dr. Riek Machar had started negotiating with Salva Kiir group behind close door. After hearing the news that the President of South Sudan fired his vice and the whole cabinet, a balance of regret and responsibility motivated Dr. Akol to complete his deal with Salva Kiir and then return to South Sudan thinking that he would be a second powerful man in the country.
As a boss and person with incredible tricks of persuasion, Dr. Lam Akol was able to convince his Shilluk militia to join South Sudan army or SPLA. Dr. Akol had promised his militia that they will be integrated and promoted to highest rank in SPLA. At that juncture General Ayouk and General Johnson Olony immediately agreed and joined the SPLA. After his militia joined the SPLA, Dr. Lam Akol was lured to return to Juba. Then, the “Self-managed couple” was executed and over 20, 000 Nuer men and women were massacred innocently in less than a week. After weeks of drama in Juba, Dr. Lam Akol without sympathy wrote in his party website that “Dr. Riek would answer a lot of questions if he denies that he made a coup on December 15, 2013”.
When the peace negotiation between Dr. Riek group and Salva Kiir government had begun in Addis Ababa, Dr. Lam Akol was symbolically appointed by Kiir government to be part of the peace negotiation. However, Salva Kiir did not meant to appoint Dr. Lam Akol to be second man in his negotiation team, but he was just trying to please Dr. Akol so that his Shilluk militia would continue fight the war against the rebels. However, that plan did work well in Salva Kiir’s favour as we saw Johnson Olony took the war in his own hand which almost causes him his dear life. As the war continues, Salva Kiir dismissed Lam Akol from the team and later on put him under home arrest. What Dr. Lam did not know however, is that the Dinka king cannot be please by smooth talk and murder of Nuer civilians in Malakal by Shilluk. Jennifer Donnelly once says “most of the mess that is called history comes about because kings and presidents cannot be satisfied with a nice chicken and a good loaf of bread.”
With the relationship between Shilluk and Dinka gradually deteriorated every day and Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin is still under home arrest, one would like to ask the following questions:
- What was Dr. Lam Akol think when he was appointed to be part of negotiation team under Salva Kiir?
- What is Dr. Lam Akol’s political status in South Sudan as we speak?
- Did Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin regret his decision to return to South Sudan after years of self-imposed exile?
- Does Dr. Lam Akol still think he could one day be a leader of South Sudan?
Mahatma Gandhi once said “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed”, and this is exactly what happened to Lam Akol Ajawin.
After reviewing all these highlights about Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, this writer would like to conclude that instance of selfish behaviour has destroyed Dr. Lam Akol’s career as a politician. Consequently, Dr. Lam Akol is a victim of own self and a self-seeker trapped in the middle. First you have seen Dr. Lam has switched parties more than 4 times. Therefore, he was lured to return to Juba because he thought Dr. Riek Machar had a hand in his dismissal from the SPLM party. He believed with Dr. Riek Machar out of the system, Salva Kiir would award him to be vice president of South Sudan. Second, Dr. Lam Akol thought that the problem of Dinka is Nuer and once the Nuer tribe is wipe out, Shilluk tribe will be the second powerful tribe in South Sudan, and so he the king of Shilluk would always be made vice president by the Dinka president. Nonetheless, Dr. Lam is currently in the confinement in Juba, and his dear life still at risk
The author is a South Sudanese living in diaspora, and he can be reached @ firstname.lastname@example.org