Contributor's Deng Vanang South Sudan

Dr. Lam Akol: A Fiery Politician or Unrecognized Prophet?

By Deng Vanang,

Lam Akol responding to accusation from members of opposition parties(Photo: Oyet Patric)
Lam Akol responding to accusation from members of opposition parties(Photo: Oyet Patric)

 September 1st, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — He is viewed cynically by his critics as fiery politician upsetting what is an otherwise conservative society‘s normal functioning of its body politics. Others, with ecstatic adoration, see him as the prophet his homeland stubbornly refuses to recognize at its own peril as it shies away from facing off with bitter truth of its troubled triple periodical: past, presence and future.

Despite the critics’ wild views of him, several observers still differ with them and choose to gang up with his admirers that Dr. Lam Akol in fact has been prophesizing in all his political utterances and not hallucinating as they would want to believe and castigate him for his oracles.

From 1991 Nasir creeping revolution to 2007 Kenana saga, from his departure from SPLM in 2009 to Olony’s rebellion in the same year, from 2010 elections to 2011 referendum, from December, 15th 2013 violence to its subsequent negotiations from January, 2014 through to their end in August, 2015, Dr. Lam Akol as always has been in political limelight for the better part of the above mentioned flash points in South Sudan’s history.

Of all such notable periods, he was a free man in and out of South Sudan except from September, 2014 till this very day when he has been prevented from leaving Juba as a cage he is thrusted into he has all long in vain been trying to outfly for peace talks in Addis and any where else.

He is the victim of his genius being the main reason government couldn’t let him go where he would help chart the future of a country in mortal self-inflicted ruins.

When rising to his feet on a point of order in any debate, his adversaries across the room shift, recoil and sink into their seats in an emotional paralysis knowing they are done under Honorary Doctor of political sciences’ mastery of arguments.

One notable site his charisma came to be witnessed by many as consummate debater was during pre-interim period of CPA when all SPLM’s leaders converged in Rumbek to critically analyze pros and cons of the then recently signed peace pact between North and South through set up clusters.

That charisma proved to be the only confluence where both his admirers and critics meet and agree in mutual unison as the reality that can not be brazenly written off. Several evidences are crystal clearer and living testimonies to his rare gem of his genius.

First in a list is his discovery of a missing link in the known triangle of an Algebra that was later confirmed by invited Western experts to University of Khartoum in 1970s where he was still a student of Chemical Engineering.

He was at it again as first Foreign Minister from the South in the old Sudan when he broke the stalemate in the heated argument between Sudanese government and Western powers on purposed UN Mission in Darfur. As President Al-Bashir was suspicious of the planned deployment of peace keeping force while the West wanted it there to stop the alleged genocide that had made screaming headlines in international media.

At long last Lam’s genius came to the fore by striking a middle ground that drew together the adversaries, softening Al-Bashir’s suspicion and on the other up holding the Western demand to coble up the required force. That is when he lured them out of their deep trenches they dag into to embrace the hybrid force made up of troops from African member states and the outside world.

He also prevailed as one of trio of Nair declaration in reviving the self-determination long thrown into forgotten dust bin of Sudanese historical dynamics when they challenged United Secular Sudan ideology as chosen principal objective of what was dominantly Southern movement, SPLM/A under Dr. John Garang.

While in SPLM before he struck out to found SPLM-DC than remained enslaved to the tyranny of ethnic majority, Dr. Lam although not openly, foresaw genocide in south Sudan as Kiir was increasingly growing sharply goring horns and devouring teeth.

He then suggested to his academic peer and then political ally, Dr. Riek Machar to form an alternative political party so as to wrest control before it was too late of highly politically abused and economically kleptocratic power from Kiir in the then up coming 2010 mid-term elections.

But Machar was already black mailed and disarmed into on unfounded political ramifications Kiir’s democratic removal from power would bring forth, particularly the likely failure to attain the independence referendum as the reason so fundamental used to have Kiir’s continuous stay on the throne.

He was technically declared a brain child behind General Johnson Olony’s rebellion in Cololand he vehemently denied but through his omnipresent and important wits he could still crease palms of President Kiir in their hate – love relationship.

When he formed SPLM-DC many thought the party vehemently opposed by ruling SPLM in the South would just be stillborn in the North where it was given birth let alone to live and even crawl to the South where Herod, President Kiir, was eagerly waiting to kill it with all the glee.

The party not only survived but also participated in 2010 elections weathering Kiir – induced SPLM’s political storm and sweeping the board in Cololand in the face of hawkish security apparatus. There SPLM’s billionaire candidates fell by the way side while their high profile godfather, Pa’gan Amum watched and trembled in terror as SPLM-DC’s paupers gleefully cruised to the finishing lines being Legislative Assemblies.

In the run up to referendum he likened the independent South to the great leap into an abysmal chaos that awaited the South for which both the SPLM and government were quick to castigate him as sellout to Arabs in the North. But internecine violence had to vindicate him three years later in 2013.

In late 2012 he sweet talked Kiir into allowing him back to Juba from his exile despite the albatross that was Olony’s rebellion tenaciously hanging on his neck he had to break, but returned when some people were not happy with him being in Juba.

He came back immediately when Machar was relieved of his eight year-old Vice Presidency as he was seen just the perfect choice to fill in Machar’s fair of giant shoes by Kiir’s inner circle.

He was trying to turn his erstwhile ally’s mega loss into his bountiful gain, misfortune into his fortune. The winning journey to the position of second powerful man in the land away from heart beat of topmost position had to be stopped by Kiir and his lieutenants when their misgivings pulled them back from the brink of announcing his big bang kind of an appointment.

The circumstantial culprits thrown into the works against his appointment were two – fold. His hailing from Colo ethnic minority in term of votes he could bring to an electoral pool as the country was gearing towards its first post-independence elections as well as being viewed as proverbial cunning camel of the Arabia that would slot his cool nose into the tent to warm but eventually squeezed in his whole and dislodged from the tent the very owner pulled him down from the much expected rise.

He then bided his time cordially creasing palms with Kiir till December, 2013 bloody violence that incidentally offered a new lease of life to a relationship on the wane when some of his enemies that stood in his way in the SPLM were driven out of town into torturous bushes while others wheeled into their indignity of dingy dungeons.

To stop violence, peace talks were hurriedly convened and Dr. Lam‘s skills were desperately sought after to help the government authenticate its stage managed coup in diplomatic circles against Machar. He was then recruited into government’s larger than life delegation together with other already allied political parties.

That was until IGAD decided to pull the political parties out of government’s tight grips in order to be on their own as independent stakeholders. But government still clang to their coat tail in trying to continuously use them so as to push its line of thinking.

While Lam already felt the guilt of a man set up to fight the principles for which he initially left the SPLM Machar has already turned into his popular cause towards the need to establish a truly democratic federal state in both words and deeds in South Sudan.

Infected with this guilt, he tried to juggle the opposing camps in his fair of reconciliatory hands as he roughed shoulders with the government during the day while in the dark and dead of the night he allegedly tiptoed into bed with its armed and dangerous rebel opposition.

His likely combination with Machar being seen by Juba’s establishment as very toxic chemical formula more than enough to sedate it into paralysis if not ultimate death, was used as the tool to prevent him from leaving Juba for peace talks in Addis and anywhere else with his passport confiscated.

If Kiir thought it could be the best way to extend and strengthen his government’s life span he was wrong. Lam changed what Kiir believed was his opportunity into a bountifully paying advantage for him.

While in an open jail that is Juba, he transformed himself into regular cockcrow at dawn with both courage and eloquence by walking up every Juba’s sleepy resident in the studios of mushrooming radio stations in analyzing all for the wrong reasons every step President has taken in the way he governs the technically failed state.

His classic scorn on the President was the shilling warning he offered him against the folly of mulling over the – would be – possibly crafted peace agreement by the West he would have to sign come rain, come shine.

Sand wished between hard place that is Machar in Addis and a rock being Lam in Juba, Kiir had to eventually swallow his pride and bravado when he signed into law so grudgingly the Compromise Peace Agreement last week behind the scenes of mixed feelings of celebratory blaring revolutionary musical band and earth-shaking walk out of his closest lieutenants in protest.

Deng Vanang, Journalist and author to be reached: dvanang@gmail.com

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