In Response To Dr. Lam Akol: Inching Toward Plurality of Ideas!

By Majak D’Agoot, Juba, South Sudan,

Former Detainee, Dr. Majaak Agoot carried by civilians after his release in Juba, South Sudan, in April 2014 following four month detention over coup allegations(Photo: file)

Former Detainee, Dr. Majaak Agoot carried by civilians after his release in Juba, South Sudan, in April 2014 following four month detention over coup allegations(Photo: file)

March 18, 2016 (Nyamilepedia)  —  The proposition that a multi-pronged clash of visions between the opposition forces and the government; and within the political forces on both ends of the argument, is not only a litmus test for democratic development but also an index of ideological maturity and political stability – is not a far-fetched conclusion. The ongoing televised debates in the run-up to party nominations in the U.S have sometimes come close to a tirade among comrades-in-destiny. These look like sideshows but that is how democracy works.  Politics is not a crank that peddles outcomes from the other planet to be enjoyed here on earth. It is, in fact, the bedrock of an organized human activity which under constant social engineering and mutation.

This rejoinder is a friendly rebuttal to Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin’s recent article published by Al-Mouqif Daily and Nyamilepedia reacting to an interview I gave to the same daily on a host of issues affecting our country including the SPLM reunification. Dr. Akol’s focused his criticism on a premise that linked the survival of the South Sudanese nation with the reunification of the SPLM. Well, a thesis was stated and no further justifications were arrayed. This was a lacuna which Dr. Akol has cleverly decided to fill up with criticisms. Therefore, it suffices that I outline the justifications.

Establishment of national platforms that aggregate national aspirations or a national grievance in case of resistance cannot be overemphasized. The lack of it during the initial stages of the Anyanya war of resistance weakened the insurgency not to propel the cause of the people of South Sudan to its logical outcomes. It was until when Joseph Lagu unified the resistance in 1970 that he was able to negotiate peace and won the regional self-rule for the southern provinces.

When the SPLM/A was rocked with splits and factionalism during the second civil war, South Sudan tottered on the edge of collapse and it almost lost the war. These splits produced outfits which were and are still quintessentially tribal and clannish such as Anyanya Two, SSIM, SPLM-United, SSUM, SPLM-Bahr el Ghazal, SSDM-Cobra, SPLM/SPLM-IO, etc. Differences were subsequently patched up and unified fronts were created that successfully delivered victories including the CPA and independence.

Obviously, these facts are indisputable on Dr. Lam’s part; but I also am contented with the fact that a cow can turn grass into milk but a separate process is required to turn milk into butter. This is where the failure of the SPLM as ruling party is manifest. During the SPLM rule, dictatorship, bad governance, insecurity, corruption, conspicuous consumption and misguided economic policies trumped what should have been its focus. Democracy, public security and the rule of law, provision of services, good governance, and transparency were relegated to the attainment of independence. The power junkies and hire-guns who were utterly incapable of turning the milk into butter or were serving an enemy higher purpose took it over. No doubt, the seizure of power is one thing but its effective use is another.

Dr. Akol has cited numerous examples of liberation or anti-colonial parties that have fallen through the dip. Well, I agree but for the sake of argument at what stage of development? In case of Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Mozambique, and even Zimbabwe – unified national platforms have kept some degree of unity of a mosaic of tribal and geographic entities were extremely fragile and virtually self-destructing. In Eritrea, the party of liberation has simply rebranded itself. Where this process has been interrupted or has not initially coalesced at nascence; due to coups, rebellions, or violent fallouts – such as in Uganda, Congo DR, Chad, Central African Republic, and majority of states in West Africa – the outcome has been perpetual war. A potential of disintegration along ethnic and regional faultlines has been equally noticed. Where these umbrella coalitions have survived for a reasonable time doing the right thing, they have provided glue for national unity. Wherever sectarianism has outranked the national agenda through the vehicles of sectarian and ethnic politics, critical national energies are mobilized and misdirected toward a totally wrong ends.

That the SPLM-DC and its new brand – the Democratic Change Party is national in its slogans and proclamations cannot be overstated.  Notwithstanding, the party has not been able to fan out and win seats outside its ethnic stronghold in the Collo Kingdom during the 2010 elections. This evidence reinforces my claim that if the SPLM splits permanently into splinter parties, it will most likely produce ethnic parties as that was the case with SPLM-DC. The hyphenated SPLMs:  SPLM- IO (Nuer), SPLM-IG (Jieng/Bahr el Ghazal), or the SPLM-? (Equatoria) will not carry different genes. In addition, these ethnic and regional outfits have militia groups affiliated to them and the ‘visible hand’ of Khartoum ready to ditch out Ak-47s is still muddling. Therefore filing an official divorce of the SPLM factions when the country is distressed will eventually lead to fragmentation.

The argument that the country has held together far away from SPLM divisions during this civil war, is misguided. The SPLM fissions have permeated deep into the fragile sinews of our society destroying its social fabric into shreds.  I do not entertain any illusion that the SPLM-FDs, despite the ethnic and regional diversity of its leadership, would soon penetrate the scudding clouds of ethnocentrism and regionalism. Far from it! What dominates the political scene currently is the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) and equivalent synonyms and antonyms.  The dynamics of societal mutation cannot be put on ice until the transition is over. While the SPLM is breaking up, society will also be breaking up depending on how this transition occurs.

I appreciate Dr. Lam’s struggle especially after the Addis stakeholders’ workshop July 2014. It was after this event that he broke ranks with the regime’s delegation and broke fresh grounds leading to a clampdown on him. Being two wings of nonviolent opposition, we both fought with microphone and ink. That the FDs were louder and acting less is inappropriate. We were persecuted by the regime and our lives were at risk just because we had spoken about reforms and democracy. We were exiled but we did not give up the fight. We did not free-ride on anybody’s struggle. The opposition inside – especially after Addis Stakeholders’ Workshop – did their bit as we also did our bit to ensure that peace returns to the country. That we have not been at the forefront of the struggle for liberties is fatally wrong.

In conclusion, the Democratic Change Party can thrive on the follies of the SPLM and its current fallout – which is legitimate.  For better for worst, the SPLM has dominated the political landscape for far too long it has simply overstayed its welcome, I guess. The advent to power of General Salva Kiir has not helped matters. But in order to pulverize the core, an alternative argument is needed. The tragedy in these sideshows is that it would let the closed regime of Salva Kiir breathe a respite. Yet, the beauty is that instead of expending energy and resources on gag orders to maintain itself in power, the regime should now see that there is also a once-in-while round for friendlies between the opposition teams.

Dr. Majak is a South Sudanese politician who has served in Salva Kiir government as deputy minister for defense, detained several times for coup allegation and lived in exile in Kenya after the 2013 self-coup allegations in Juba.  He is currently a member of former political detainees known as SPLM-FD or G-8.


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12 comments

  • Not sure of what is he saying!!!!! but one thing is clear that SPLM – IG is dominated by JCE

    • jenub

      It sound like comment that coming from Egyptian degree holder . sorry . It is a waste of time to read it because it is hard to understand its message even in context. Please ,Check your sentence for correction before posting it next time. Have a good day, man.

    • You are not sure,but Lam Akol and his trick simply because he wanted to be marriage or appointed in the next coming cabinet. It is a matter of me me and position and nothing to do with people.

  • Jenub

    To mr. Goweng

    It sound like comment that coming from Egyptian degree holder . sorry . It is a waste of time to read it because it is hard to understand its message even in context. Please ,Check your sentence for correction before posting it next time. Have a good day, man.

  • Jenub

    Dr. Majak D’ Agoot

    It is really proven that you don’t have a mind. Are you really proud of that popularity which lifted you up on shoulder ? Think twice about my question . In my opinion , it would be ok if it was done in the eighteen century but not now.

    I thanked those who took that action for love toward you but also they put you on their shoulder because they are still in the darkness. For you as an educated person ,you should have tell them not to lift you on their shoulder .However, your dumb mind has accepted that idea. To me it is totally wrong to be proud of that action at all. Nothing more than being release and see you community wait tireless for you and welcoming you with and open arms . Let me put it this way.

    For example, let assume that you are a marriage guy and I believe you are and have children of your own. If your children see you coming, do you want them to lift you up too so that you can be happy. People came to see during your release for their affection toward but you made this love into negative by it as a point of popularity on internet. What about those who were release with you together and did not lift up on shoulders. are they not loved too. Awaked stuff.

    Being love by the community, does mean lifting up is a sign of popularity and if you think that is the case you still living in an illusion world and one day you will feel it and start asking yourself about why you accepted that adoring in the twenty first century. No civilised human would admire this attitude except the foolish human being.

    Another thing is for you to go back to your article and try to see yourself again in it mirror and check some of your sentences . some sentences seem to not make sense at all. Even your proverbs about the cow and how it make milk expose you to look stupid . Do you know that most of your audience are cattle keepers and they know a lot milk from the cow and butter from the milk too. ha-ha ha-ha ha-ha. WOW, BIG GUY EH

    Stupid !!. Spoiled child will not grow and does not know any thing about life. Appointing you as deputy minster does not mean you are capable and that is seen now through your opinion pieces in this article

  • Bol Gatjang

    Being predominantly politicians is supportive enough for both Dr.Lam and Dr.Majaak among South Sudanese. I expect you guys to do something tangible for all of us to displays your greatness of education. If you don’t make a coordinated effort with Dr.Riek to expunge Kiir in this indescribable mess.

  • Yes, it is true that even people like Dr. Majak Agod know very well that splm is no longer a national party, simply because all its objectives, and activities are dominated by jce. How can you call splm which is dominated by elders of one tribe as national party? Padiet Gahgah

  • Thak Galou Riak

    in south Sudan, None of political parties are owned by the people of south Sudan, they are private properties designed to loot property of people of south Sudan.
    Take a minute and examined this, when General, Kiir and General Koul Manag Juuk joined the SPLM back in the day, they only have their uniforms, pistol and ak47 machine guns, to day both men have herd of cows hundreds of hundreds, where did they get it from? my guess is people of south Sudan.

  • Dr. Majak desperately attempted to encounter Dr. Lam’s well-fact based article, but completely ended up producing baseless–unsubstantiated–highly hypothetical counter arguments.
    The desperate Jenge, Dr. majak, miserably failed to states a vivid reason as to why the demise of SPLA will and shall means the demised of the South Sudan nation!
    Instead, he tactically mentioned previous rebellion movements, which according to him, didn’t achieved anything of historical importance-. In other word, only SPLA–jenges, in Majak’s mind had solely achieved something celebratory. What really did the SPLA–under the traitorous Jenges leaderships alone, brought to the South Sudanese masses–none Jenges, besides, the constant massacring of civilians, introduction of terrorism acts, destruction of people’s livelihoods, raping, and cremations of helpless civilians?
    The demise of the SPLA-Jenges would and shall be a blessing to the South Sudan Nation–patriots–tribbes. It’s absolutely absurd and misguided reasoning why the demise of the SPLA-Jenges–an organization that undeniably symbolizes terror would means an eminent death of South Sudan Nation.

  • Wa Nyatong

    Let me first agree that despite Dr. Majak’s in-convincing justifications, he still remains one of our intellectuals that we belief will have a brighter future in our country politics for years to come. However Dr. Majak justifications given here are still falling short and have not filled the lacuna he meant to fill. Simply because what is required now from South Sudanese is to patch up their differences and unite their ranks through their existing political dispensations against SPLM- IG (or SPLM-Jieng or Bahr-El Ghazal as Dr. Majak termed it) such that to rescue South Sudan from collapse and provide a new hope for our population and the future generations. So Dr. Majak should not preach for succumbing to this destructive establishment such that to give them more legitimacy and justification to continue experimenting on South Sudanese. Also I don’t understand how the Democratic Change Party; a party with national slogans and proclamations as stated by Dr. Majak, can be an Ethnic Party simply because it succeeded to win seats in its stronghold (by the way parties all over the world have their strongholds even in the USA and UK)?.., So whose fault is that; is it the party’s or the voters fault in the other areas of the country???. Lastly Dr. Majak is appreciating Dr. Akol struggle particularly after July 2014, so why not before that time?, why is he not appreciating that, is it because of his approval of the SPLM policies and deeds before 2014, or his dis-approval of all what Dr. Lam was doing before 2014?…

  • That guy in New York with five children was a drunkard since he was young in Wau Day school. Jurchol and Chollo.