Can’t Lam Akol do something better than engineering another split?

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Monday, 08 June 2009 20:26
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Akol Aguek
(Vermont,USA)--I wanted to give my prior piece enough time to receive wider readership but Mr. Lam Akol Ajawin’s current blunder has pushed me over the cliff to go down the route of having this opinion.

Okay, where should we start? Well, we have to revisit this individual’s track record before we even talk about his newly founded Party: Sudan People’s Liberation Movement - Democratic Change (SPLM –D C). 

The man has always been a stumbling block to South Sudanese cause and had since done some irreversible damages. In addition to his susceptibility to breaking with every leadership team he has ever been part of, the shocking thing is any assignment given to him always resulted in a fiasco.

We know that he used the SPLM Office of External Relations in the 1980s to undermine the leadership of the SPLM Chairman Dr. Garang, while promoting his personal agenda of becoming a future leader of the Movement.

We know his famous zonal commander assignment in Blue Nile where he demoralized his forces leading to the highest desertion rate ever by the SPLA soldiers in the Movement until he was almost captured by the enemy.

We know that Lam Akol instigated the split in 1991 and the destruction of Bor people that ensued (in which many including this author will never ever recover from) will implicate him as well as his accomplices when accountabilities are followed through in the near future.

We know that this individual (after failing to destroy people’s struggle) handed himself over to the enemy through what he called Fashoda Peace Accord only to realize that it didn’t mean anything to his masters in Khartoum.

We know the opportunism of this guy when he walked back to the Movement after the signing of Machakos Protocol in 2002 because he knew people’s victory was inevitable and had to bandwagon the accomplishments of those who stayed put in the Movement.

We know that this individual used the hard earned Foreign Affairs Ministry under CPA to undermine the SPLM and instead used it as public relations propaganda machine to defend Bashir genocidal acts against his own people, the Southerners and Darfuris. He was only dismissed after so much damage was done especially by his accomplice John Ukec Lueth, then Sudan Ambassador to the US, who denied genocide in Darfur and referred to Darfur Movements as terrorist groups. It is worth noting that Lam was still appointed as a member of SPLM Interim Political Bureau, the highest decision making organ for the party. He was still a Member of Parliament caucusing with other SPLM MPs in the National Assembly in Khartoum. So the man still had a dignity and political avenue to make his dissenting voice heard in the party but it wasn’t enough for him.

Given those failures, and blunders, one would think that Dr. Akol must have learned from his mistakes and was not going to go down the same road this time around. But it was not to be as we now see the guy doing the same thing that he has consistently shown nothing for but failure.

It is the same split that he had engineered with SPLM to form SPLM Nasir Faction that caused people’s struggle another decade to win. It failed. It is the same split that he did with his accomplice Riek Machar even within their faction to form SPLM/A united. It also failed. It is the same opportunism like “the peace accord” he signed with Bashir but broke with him when he saw the CPA at the corner and therefore rushed back to unite with his people and he was welcomed back. He is now doing the same thing by breaking with the SPLM once again and is walking back to Bashir.

The man broke the news this week by holding a press conference to announce his newly founded party, giving the reasons for leaving the SPLM as: “[SPLM] confrontation rather than partnership with NCP”; [SPLM’s] imbalance[ce] on ICC’s indictment of [Bashir); attack on Gaza;  and the deployment of UN troops in Darfur” (Sudan Tribune; June 5, 2009). These accusations should be attributed to Janjaweed, NCP, Hamas at Gaza, or Hezbolla in Lebanon but not to a guy who is vying for leading South Sudan. Unfortunately, these statements were made by an individual who is claiming to take over the leadership of the South Sudan through his party SPLM – DC.

While it is undeniable that the leadership of SPLM is making mistakes as always raised by many including this author, walking over to the enemy in the name of liberation is not the answer. What Dr. Akol has done is not acceptable. There is no way to explain it other than pure betrayal. He does not care about the violation of CPA by Bashir. He does not care about the suffering of Darfuris but his points of contention are SPLM implied supports for deployment of UN troops in Darfur, and the indictment of Bashir by Hague based ICC to account for his genocidal acts.

Can we now ask Mr. Split if he will ever be tired of it and do something better than consistently betraying his own people? The record shows he will never be a dependable South Sudanese! We know a guy with such political stands will never be elected by South Sudanese.  No way! The sad thing is the likes of Lam Akol should have chosen redemption over betrayal but they aren’t. That will cost them their leadership aspirations forever.

Akol Aguek Ngong is an MBA student and Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Vermont. He regularly contributes to New Sudan Vision.