A Call To All The People Of South Sudan
By James Ogilo Agor Agokwech*
On February 23,2007, a group calling itself Shilluk International Congress(SIC)issued a public statement on the website. The statement purported to be defending Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, Sudan Minister of Foreign Affairs over alleged accusations leveled against him by some members of the SPLA/M Leadership Council.
The alleged accusations look simple and quite clear for the accused person to defend himself. A Ministerial Committee had been formed to investigate into the charge that Dr. Lam is having a Shilluk militia in Upper Nile State. Militias do no operate in a vacuum. They move among people. It should not therefore be difficult for the committee to find out the truth.
As to the second charge of the honorable Minister to be toeing the line of the President in the execution of his Ministry's foreign policies, I do not also see anything difficult for the Minister to refute or reconcile his position with his party. The decision of the SPLA/M Leadership Council to support the deployment of the UN Peace-Keeping force to Darfur, makes it imperative for the SPLM political party to withdraw their man from the Foreign Ministry and find him another place elsewhere within their power. Should the honorable Minister refuse to resign on the grounds that "he does not want to die poor like Aggrey Jaden", the usual excuse by southern ministers when thy find themselves on the horns of dilemma, then he could be dismissed from the SPLM Party.
It is quite apparent that this latter situation seems to have enraged the Lam supporters to resort to intimidations, threats of destabilizing the Upper Nile State, making some leadership council's members scapegoats, claiming Dr. Lam as the champion of the 1991 so-called coup d'tat, and the intellectual father of self-determination and try to involve the Shilluk Reth in "things that do not belong to Nyikango but belong to GOSS."
Truthfully, Dr. Lam Akol was a warlord in Upper Nile State, but I do not think that the Shilluk people are that stupid to blindly resort to violence for the cause of their tribesman who might have willfully been in defiance of his political organization's position in public affairs.
What is extremely regrettable in the intervention of Dr. Lam's disciples is the lack of compassion, the offensive, malicious, mischievious and vulgar language they have employed. It is not customary among the Shilluk people to rejoice and dance on the graves of even enemy fallen combatants. A bereaved widow of a fallen great hero like the late Dr. John Garang, deserves great respect and sympathy. Describing some SPLA/M leaders as the late Dr. Garang's loyalists or orphans or Nyandeng's boys is a malicious and mischievious laughter over the misfortunes of the entire bereaved family of the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior. This is the behavior of sorcerers, evil wishers and so on.
It is a waste of time for one to comment over the acclaimed popularity of Dr. Lam Akol in Upper Nile State, since it was tested in 1997, when he lagged far behind a Shilluk tractor driver in the race for the position of Governor of Upper Nile State. It was again tested in 2005, when his own candidate, who was also official SPLM candidate, for the position of the speaker of the Upper Nile Legislative Assembly, was defeated by a rebel candidate of the same party. It can be recalled that the rebel candidate had earlier on defected from SPLM United to SPLM main stream. The claim by Lam supporters that he is the historical and intellectual father of self-determination for the South Sudan, is unfortunately not a good lie. Such a claim can be classified as 'intellectual property' theft. The claim also amounts to denying Dr. Lam's own father, Akol Ajawin and his own brother Dr. Justin Papity Akol, of having participated at all in the Southern politics during their life time. This is shameful.
The truth is, with the fall of the military regime of General Ibrahim Pash Aboud in October 1964, the Southern Front Party was born. In January 1965, in preparation for the Round Table Conference between the South and the North, the Southern Front Party convened its first conference in Malakal. The conference officially adopted self-determination for South Sudan as the party's manifesto. This was the Southern Front Party position in the Round Table Conference Khartoum 1965. The leader of the Southern Front delegation to the Round Table Conference is alive and well in London, Mr Gordon Motat. It is to be recalled that the late Dr. Justin Papity Akol was a member of the Southern Front Conference Malakal 1965. It is also to be recalled that the late uncle Akol Ajawin was a member of the Southern Front first and last National Convention Khartoum 1969, where the party re-iterated its position of self-determination for South Sudan. It is worth mentioning that the writer of this paper had the honour of being the Secretary-General for both the Malakal Southern Front Conference 1965 and Khartoum Southern Front National Convention 1969 respectively. So the authenticity for the claim of self-determination by the Southern Front Party members, dead or alive is beyond question.
Equating the so-called Khartoum Agreement 1997 and the so-called Fashoda Agreement 1997 on the one side and the Nairobi Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on another is unfortunately a wishful thinking. The former so-called agreements were not negotiated. There were no witnesses and there were no resolutions and minutes. They were, "take it or leave it" offers. The surrendering side had to put their tails between their legs and sign under the auspices of the officials of the Government of the Republic of Sudan, General Omar Beshir and Reth Kwongo Dak, respectively. The whole thing was a cover-up for surrender. One Shilluk man mockingly spoke to me at the time "Nyimia, dech 'SAC' ca di yomo!" in English, "Brother, it seems the 'SAC' combatant forces have surrendered!" I replied, " nena now." In English, "It seems so".
In truth, it was a surrender. The political wings of those movements joined the Sudan National Congress Party of Omar Beshir. Fortunately for them, it became abundantly clear in early 2002 that a permanent peace arrangement between the government of Sudan and the SPLA/M main stream was inevitable. The SPLA/M factions which had surrendered in 1997, therefore returned and re-joined their mother SPLA/M which had fought the war to the finish. The mother SPLA/M received them not as traitors, but as prodigal sons, who should get their full share of the cake in 'thy kingdom come' and they in fact got more than they had expected.
However, by my latter comments, I do not intend to open old wounds. I just want to sincerely clarify certain undeserved claims to the Southern people, particularly the sons of Nyikango, some of whom apparently have lost their way in Southern politics.
My special appeal to the southern people now is to let bygones be bygones, let us have one agenda. Communal Organizations like SIC, E.P.C, EIC, and Nuer. Community etc, are relevant in matters of our respective social and economic development programs. Involving them at present may definitely retard or negate our endeavour to keep together. There should not be any talks of "Kokora" anymore. The South has "burnt its bridges". It must vote 101% for complete independence in the referendum.
Our brothers and sisters who are members of the northern political parties, have their inalienable rights to their share in the blood-money or "diya" for all the southern people killed or massacred or enslaved or raped or molested by the "Mundokuro" since 1820. What their motherland and people need of them is a hundred and eighty degree turn during the polling in the referendum. They do not need to be reminded that their motherland is overflowing with milk and honey. They do not need to be reminded also that every southern citizen is as of today a potential owner of a mercedes benz car.
The late Dr. John Garang was on record of talking about taking towns to the people. We should urge and help the GOSS to speedily resettle the southern masses in nucleus villages, well supplied with clean drinking water, health, education and security services, in readiness for registration, and voting in the referendum. I strongly urge the GOSS to adapt the 1972 Repatriation Relief Rehabilitation Resettlement Commission program of work. The present programs of repatriation relief rehabilitation resettlement are unsuitable for our condition, especially that the personnel engaged in this enterprise consists mainly of inexperienced new college graduates. Finally it is my well considered opinion that we should make separation attractive to ourselves and do away with unity.
* James Ogilo Agor Agokwech Rochester, MN USA
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