By Deng Vanang,
Jan 26, 2016 (Nyamilepedia) —- It has been quite a while South Sudanese public has been treated to some thrilling show of political comedy. The comedy is about an interesting tale of one alliance of opposition political parties, two chairmen in one city of Juba.
The two men in contest over Chairmanship of this political association are Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin and Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro. The first chairs former SPLM-DC, now Democratic Change Party, DCP, while the second is head of South Sudan Democratic Forum party.
The ferocious contest between the duo over the jewel in the crown surfaced long after Lam returned from political exile in Egypt since November 2013 to the country.
Much ado from behind the ceaseless war between the two is as to who should be given the recognition over the leadership of joint opposition political parties’ alliance. Complicating each other claim further is the ambivalence of the alliance party to come out clear and restrain from dead head by stating point blank who in between is the rightful claimant.
Again, lurking behind the said ambivalence, is the external forces poking noses into what is otherwise an exclusively the gentlemen’s own internal affairs. This interference raises some concern to reach a credible consensus since a lot of such meddling is now becoming unbearable to the spectators that matter.
Once each one of them is officially crowned as the undisputed chair, then the public can pick him up from there as the legitimate leader and spokesperson of the said community of political parties. Though as it seems, still everything depends on which parties on that forum one speaks to that either recognize Lam or Martin as their chairman without authoritative answer.
Adding to the public confusion even more, each group doesn’t want to be seen as accepting the reality of the division in the said Alliance. Simply because each opposing group is painfully laboring to avoid giving credit to another whose existence it denies with a lot of outpouring of grievance, sweat and tears.
For group of either Lam or Martin when it speaks out, only projects an image of united front under it while hints at the scant existence of another, as it equally dismisses it as either imposter or spoiler under some not far away paymaster.
The alleged groups of paymaster from whom each leader of the two is drawing his recognition and legitimacy are the opposing main factions of SPLM. So to speak, each leader of the two is drawing his recognition and legitimacy from one of the equally opposing main factions of the SPLM.
Since the two have voluntarily offered to be used as battleground where SPLM factions fight their proxy wars away from their usual confines in which Kiir – Machar’s running gun battles rage.
In contesting the leadership of opposition alliance, Dr. Lam is having a legal notch higher than Martin. For he is not only the official opposition leader recognized by the law of South Sudan, given that his party came second in 2010 general elections in a straight fight with the ruling SPLM before it split into three as is the case now. But, too, draws yet another feather of recognition in his cap from SPLM-IO which is opposed to SPLM-IG that supports Martin.
In parliament, he has special place reserved for him by law as he speaks out the representative voice of the opposition and wider public. As much as he does the same outside South Sudan and especially, at the peace talks in Addis Ababa from which he was stopped to go in company of his friendly parties before their (peace talks) recent conclusion.
But Dr. Martin is no anybody’s minced meat either. He has his way in backstreets fora where SPLM-IG calls the shots while slams mental doors on Dr. Lam’s face. To tip the balance further in favor of the allied Martin, SPLM-IG moved on to lock up Lam within the confines of his home and precincts of Juba city.
While Martin, proud and cocky, is given the unlimited space to roam Juba and beyond, with all the decorum, etiquette and elegance. And as he won in Juba, so was Lam over the hearts of stakeholders at the site of peace talks in Addis. It is 50/50 equilibrium, keen observer with delight may conclude.
Genesis of SPLM favoring him goes along way back to 2005 through to 2010 interim period elections till now. In those elections, his party, ‘’the forum’’ lost in 2010 elections full and square without winning a single seat in an Interim Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly.
It can as well be worth recalling to say he and his party opted to support SPLM’s presidential candidate, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, with the hope of SPLM returning favor by supporting him as SPLM- Democratic Forum’s joint gubernatorial candidate in Central Equatoria State. That strategy terribly nosedived.
From such resounding fall, he learned his lessons hard, steadily rose up and dusted himself off clean by entering into a political marriage with the SPLM he couldn’t beat. Although he paradoxically named such political union as coalition without written and mutually agreed joint political programs to carry out as legally required by such definition.
And not failing to mention, having dug his feet firmly in two opposing worlds of the ruling elites and the opposition marks yet another extra-ordinary contradiction for Dr. Martin in good liberal democracy practice.
From then onward, he and his four colleagues were rewarded with free meal of five parliamentary seats among other favored political parties by Kiir. That is for humbly accepting defeat without putting up some bravado against the SPLM. And in what appears to be double victory, he has ever since 2010 been hoping from one ministry onto another in cabinet reshuffles.
Like a man he is, the stoic Lam on the other hand, courageously stood his ground in choosing dignity and honor to fight string of extremely damaging battles. In order to minimize his losses, he made himself public watchdog who barks 24/7 as he points out SPLM government’s unbearable burdens mercilessly offloaded on the already down trodden people of South Sudan.
In this commendable adventure, media and law courts have been his battlegrounds on which he takes on Goliath tooth and nail with quite a number of notable victories. Some of which are legal and political, whereas others moral in nature.
To save the public the agony of political confusion while deescalating at the same time SPLM factions’ proxy wars of attrition from spreading to alien territories, it is only safe to say it is high time for President Festus Mogae of JMEC to intervene and rule who between Lam and Martin is rightful leader of the South Sudan’s National Alliance of Opposition Political Parties.
That is besides what the public is waiting for in batted breathes about when the acrimonious contest shall unfold over the distribution of the 17 parliamentary slots reserved for Lam and Martin’s political factions in the power struggle-ridden Alliance.
Deng Vanang is author and journalist to be reached at:firstname.lastname@example.org
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