By: James Okuk*spla_flag.jpg

The 10th May, 2008 will mark an important point in the long awaited democratization within political parties in the Sudan before they opt to rule the Country.

Here a movement which has been struggling for two decades (plus) against injustice in sharing political powers, economic wealth, and security arrangements, and also against the hegemony of Arab (Jellaba) and Islamic culture, will show the whole country, Africa and the World that it is capable of realizing democratic process without reservations or regrets.

We shall miss our dear charismatic leader Dr. John Garang, our active Elder Dr. Justin Yac, our dear brother Dominic Dim, and other SPLM/A members in this convention. May God rest their souls in peace!


After having conducted its Primaries successfully at the grass-roots levels, the SPLM young party has been set to take its delegates to Juba - its stronghold - in order to revise its vision, manifesto, constitution, and programmes in the context and demands of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). CPA brought a new reality to the Sudan after the National Congress Party (NCP) accepted a win-win deal that recognized the right for Self-determination for the People of Southern Sudan with a special independent status for semi-autonomous rule and Security Arrangement under the control of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). Also in Juba the delegates will elect the party top leadership who will be entrusted and mandated to implement the agreed decisions and expectations (of the majority members) for the remaining three years of the interim period before South Sudan divorce from the North amicable.


 I did my reading and studies for the mock test for this convention and came up with the following mock results. You are free to agree or disagree with me because politics is an art of the possible if not impossible. Also this is not a mathematical calculation. So please keep your nerves cool if I happen to provoke you with what I think.


The Chairman of the Party is Salva Kiir:

After considering and analysing the politicking that has been going on prior to the 2nd Convention, and also after considering some relevant factors, I came to foresee that H.E. Salva Kiir is going to be nominated unopposed by the delegates to continue as the Boss of the SPLM. These are my main justifications for this answer:


1) Kiir has a forgiving heart and a forgetting mind. He has done this in Rumbek meetings in 2004. He is humble and a man of dialogue who listens more and talks less. Kiir doesn't retain the boat when he has crossed the river with it because he likes others to use the same boat to cross to that side too. He managed to convince Other Armed Forces (OAFs) to join the SPLA or be de-militarized. He signed Juba declaration with H.E. Paulino Matip who became his Deputy for SPLA Affairs. Only that the total integration of these forces remains a problem because they were not sincere enough to come to SPLA with few higher ranks and more lower files. Kiir was courageous to tell the OAFs that the integration will not be possibly finalized unless they arrange themselves as a modern army where the number of soldiers is more than the number of officers and commanders and not vice versa.


2) Kiir managed to control the situation when the CPA was almost becoming strangled in 2007 as a result of the pull out of the SPLM cadres from the Ministerial and Advisory positions in the Government of National Unity (GoNU). Kiir stood to his call for non-return to war situation even when H.E. President Al-Beshir threatened him with the re-activation of the Popular Defence Force - Holy Warriors or Mujahideen - to defend the borders of Northern Sudan from encroachment by Southerners as a reaction to the tunes of war drums that were beaten by some gentlemen of Abyei Area. During this created crisis, Kiir rejected the American proposal to re-adjust the CPA in the expense of Southern Sudan. With that rejection he proved that he is the Joshua for the Southerners (Junubin); the one who will lead them to total freedom from the oppressive North without any waver.


3) When H.E. Mallik Agaar came up with his proposal of Confederation for the sake of unity of the Sudan - which was welcomed by the NCP and supported by the Darfurian Movements - Kiir rejected it and proved that he is a true son of the South who is not interested at all in unity of the unattractive and unbalanced One Sudan. Also when H.E. Pagan Amum said the CPA can be revised if this can please the Darfurian Movements to sign a peace deal with Khartoum, Kiir also rejected this because he knows that the Darfurian are for Islamic Sudan even if they are not Arab.


4) When some elements within the SPLM allied with Southern Political parties and Darfurian Movements in order to strangle the CPA by postponing the Fifth Census, again our dear Kiir proved that he is a watchdog for the implementation of the CPA so that it continues to be alive (although staggering) to reach its logical end of ushering in an independent and Secular African State of South Sudan with good neighbourhood with the Islamic and Arab State of North Sudan.


For all these main reasons and others, Kiir deserves to be given another chance for SPLM Chairmanship; a chance that will take the South to its proper destiny. Of course, like any human being Kiir has his dark side but people expect his bright side to overweigh his darkness when they give him the second chance to lead the SPLM in the future challenges, opportunities, weaknesses and threats.


The Deputies of the Party's Chairman:

Also having considered the political moves of the current deputies of H.E Salva Kiir, I am seeing that Dr. Riak Machar will continue to do well as the second man to Kiir because he has managed to work smoothly with him so far. Also it will be good for Dr. Riak to complete his mission of mediating peace between Uganda Government and Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) so that Eastern and Western Equatoria States becomes relieved from insecurities caused by these bandits who have no realistic vision for Uganda except terrorism by ‘tong-tonging'. Dr. Riak is also a committed cadre who does not suck from tax payer and oil share money of Southern Sudan in order to travel abroad for useless trips. He is also a good reconciler of communities and Protestant Churches, which are important factors for inculcation of the Culture of Peace and forgiveness in Southern Sudan. Dr. Riak is also a calm gentleman who swallows bitter pills at hard times. He can help the South by keeping the Nuers united and teaching them patience and non-anarchy for the good of South Sudan.


Of course our famous composer of Dr. Garang's anthem of "baba ja, splm hakuma bitana, hakuma bitana Splm" - i.e. "papa has come, splm is our government, our government is splm" - will remain as the third man to Kiir. Hon. Wani Igga is known for his non-confrontation approach and he has managed to survive in all situations because of this tactics. He knows to hide his head in the sand like an Ostrich when things are very hot to touch. Though many Equatorials do not like him, he has South Sudan in his heart and he loves all Southerners (Junubin). He goes along with Dinkas even when many Equatorians hate them. Igga has managed to work smoothly with Kiir even when he has been put under pressure by his kinsmen. The people of malakal like him because of his funny stories and broken Arabic. Also the women of the SPLM respect Igga and he can manage to keep these women to remain as good supporters of the party in the coming 2009 elections for the government. Igga has managed to supervise the SPLM Primaries neutrally to the extent of accepting the lost to the current Deputy Secretary General for South Sudan Sector (Dr. Ann Itto), and also for the governor of Unity State (H.E. Taban Deng) in the democratic competition.


The Secretary General of the Party:

Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin will be the awaited Secretary General of the SPLM. He is very good at the executive work and political mobilization both at the top and at the grass-roots as he is well-experienced for this. Akol encourages youth involvement in good politics and forward thinking rather than backward pity. He does not ignore the wisdom of illiterate elders in the villages and he can address Dinkas, Nuers, Collos, and others in their own mother tongues eloquently. The Shakespearian English speakers in international arenas cannot even intimidate him.  Even the Arabs Kings in the Middle East and the Gulf are amazed at his Arabic language command. The Germans cannot gossip freely near him. Dr. Lam is humble and interacts with any person regardless of his social status, race, tribe, or religion. He is not a luxury-obsessed leader; you can see this in his house furniture and in the simple food in his table. He is well qualified in managing either opposition or proponent party activities. He is also a hard worker and a good strategist who doesn't get frustrated or resort to lies or drunkenness when things get worse and unbearable. Akol doesn't compromise with contradictions and deviations from the agreed principles because these are never good for sustainable progress of any kind. He knows that inconsistency takes a person or a party a step forward and another or more steps backward.


Dr. Lam likes clarity of thoughts and rejects elusive ideologies that are deceptive to ordinary people who are the heart of democracy for the SPLM and the government, also the core for the success of Self-determination in the 2011 plebiscite. Kiir admires Dr. Lam and even when he removed him from the portfolio of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it was for the sake of the unity of the party. Kiir has been taking the advice of Dr. Lam seriously because he trusts his well-calculated analyses of political issues and problems. Also Dr. Lam respects Kiir and has never insulted him in public even when some communist elements within the party tried to push Kiir to the wall to take unpopular decisions to dismiss him from the SPLM. Kiir preferred to listen to Akol's side of the story and he got convinced of his sincerity for the good of the SPLM party by focusing on South Sudan and leaving alone the North to the NCP and their Islamic agenda as agreed in the CPA.  Dr. Lam understands very well that the future of SPLM lies in South Sudan and never in North Sudan where communist have been trying to pass their agenda and spoil the hopes of Junubin in the name of the SPLM. Kiir has understood this practical strength of the party very well and has been working according to it for his own safety, safety of the SPLM, and safety of South Sudan.


The Deputy Secretary General of the party:

Hon. Abdel Aziz Adam Hilo will probably be fit to become the Deputy Secretary General because he is also a hard worker and a good organizer like Dr. Lam. During the time of struggle, the Nuba mountains has been known as the most organized liberated area of the SPLM/A because of his hard work. Hilo is also a sincere man and a non-drunkard; he has the good of the people in his heart. Hilo and Akol can go along well in organizing the SPLM robustly with clear strategies before 2009 elections and 2011 referendum. Both of them are not money hungry and will not play or run away with the fund of the party. They will use the money of the SPLM for real purpose of strengthening it to face and challenge other political giants in the Sudan. They are not going to allow weak and sycophants members to hold key positions of the Secretariat (where they only care about good pay and comfortable cars and privileges without good work for the party). Dr. Lam and Hilo will make the people of Transitional Areas to understand the need for Separation of South Sudan from the North for the sake of good and collaborative neighbourhood where our borders will be opened to them without restrictions. Dr. Lam loves late Yusif Kuwa and he will not forget Nuba even if South Sudan becomes independent in 2011. Dr. Lam will not also forget the people of Blue Nile because he lived among them when he commanded a SPLA battalion in that area in late 1980s. Hillo and Akol will ensure that Southerners continue to help the people of Transitional Areas so that they become stronger to maintain their rights in the North. And who knows, may be the South will unite again with the North in future with a Confederal system of governance on a new basis of equal, free and un-marginalized citizenship of the Sudan.


I think I am taking more space and my readers may get bored if I continue. I am omitting the negative sides of these mentioned leaders because the aim of this article is not criticism. It is not right to criticize our leaders every time because they are also human beings like you and me who can never be devils or angels. They are not infallible in their teaching like the Catholic Popes. Our leaders have credits besides which need to be acknowledged at times. So let me stop here, but this does not mean ignoring other people who might get other positions which are as important as the higher ones for the smooth running and coordination of the SPLM business as a child of the CPA. Long Live SPLM and Long Live all its cadres as they pursue their good or bad luck in the commendable SPLM democratic transformation process; a move which made donors happy in Oslo this month to pledge about Five (5) Billion US Dollars for recovery and development of the war-affected areas of the Sudan, and for building the culture of peace in the context of CPA implementation and its continuation to the logical desired end.


*James Okuk is a PhD student in Political Philosophy in the University of Nairobi. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • Guest - الباشا

    ان تحليلك لما سيجرى فى المؤتمر العام للحركة الشعبية سليم جدا.. ربما لانك حللتها من الجانب السياسى ومن منطلق فهم منطقى.. ولكن .. هل هذا هو الحال فى داخل اروقة الحركة؟؟ لا اعتقد ذلك.. فاحسابات فى تقديرى خارج عن هذا الفهم .. فالحسابات هنا خاضعة لموازنات اخرى هى الموازانات (القبلية) فما اعرفه ان منصب الرئيس خارج اللعبة اى ان (سلفا) باق فى الرئاسة فالطبيعى ان يكون (رياك) نائتا له بنفس الحسابات وكذلك الامانة العامة ان لم يقدموا على الغاءها واللجوء الى نظام النواب. وقد تختلف شخصية الامين العام عما حللته اذا ابقوا على الامانة العامة ويكون السيد(باقان) فى مكانه، وفى نهاية الامر قد تجد ان قيام المؤتمر فى حد ذاته هو تحصيل حاصل وان ما نتمناه ان ينتهى هذا المؤتمر بسلام وتكون خطوة سابقة وجريئة من اجل التحول الحقيقى الى حزب سياسى ديمقراطى..

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  • Thank you for analysis and credit you gave to our leaders in their capacity to lead us. My observation from this article or the writer intend is that, if there is replacement , only the position of secretary General is the one to be replaced and if that has to happen the writer didn't tell us where the Secretary gonna be . By leaving that open without proposing his new position one can conclude that the writer doesn't care whether the Secretary General a man who fought all the age of movement from the very beginning will hold his position or loss it that is not a spirit of one party from the same State.

    Dr.Lam has outstanding background such as education, experiences, and management etc. To me position of Secretary General is not what fit the man capabilities. I think the man deserve to be either South Sudan President aide, Deputy, Head of commission, executive position in South Sudan government or national etc.

    And allow me to make these two points:

    First : By offering this analysis you 're trying to minimize the man and encouraging the decision maker to log the entire Collo into one position. And if that the case why we did fought against the north in first place?

    Secondly : I think you believe in theory that Collo must be represented by one person in government al institutions whether at national level or regional which is not fair and doesn't demonstrate equal representation of people of Sudan in their government. We should be seeking more representation rather then replacing our selves with our selves. What sense it makes I don't get it.

    I don't agree with one man representation because that course problem and division among our people not because they are bad people, but because we have many people with high profile & skills and they're competing for one position,while other without any educational background get ir easily. That should be our argument.

    We deserve more and we should request and demand more not replacing our selves in mionr position, unless if that has to happen at level of the head of state , because if I gave you what you have already then I gave yo nothing actually. It's time to think out side the box.

    Note: look just at abei, one clan of Dinka tribe and see its representation in government at national level and regional .They hold FM at national level Cabient affairs a regional, meanwhile people are still arguing their case and compare that to Collo tribe representation and judge for your self are we in right direction or wrong direction? and how do we make it right ?

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  • Guest - M.Akol

    James Okuk is clearly anti-unity of Collo and he is the ghost of current divisions in the Collo community. Dr. Lam has become like messianic for the people like James who has been consistently glorifying Lam's name. This utopian wash from Lam Akol’s loyalists and believed that Collo must be represent by single politician Dr. Lam Akol will not happen even if the angel come from heaven on behalf of Dr. Lam. I don’t know how James Okuk is reading people’s mind or does he just read his own mind and come up with such naive analysis miscalculations that Dr.Lam will be awaiting secretary general of the SPLM party. James Okuk has become the Collo political ghost who is just making his own utopian wash for his messianic Dr. Lam Akol to be the awaiting next secretary general for the SPLM party. Those who believe that Collo will not do any thing or go anywhere without them, should know that Collo is more then just one family or clan. Dr.Lam seems to think that he is the only politician who should be make a political decision for the Collo fate and every political decision for Collo must come from him. Lam also seems think that they are only legitimate two leaders in the Collo society: His majestic Reith Collo and Dr. Lam Akol as only political leader to represent Collo at all level of the governoment. Dr. Lam should that Collo knows only Reith Collo who has the only authority over Collo people all but not a politician.

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  • Guest - Belshou

    From very close source Pagan Amum is stepping down not contesting for any position , he want to give way to other SPLM cadre , and wish well for the new leadership ,and he will be giving them his full support to built a stronger Party .

    For the analysis of Mr. Okuk, things on the ground here in Juba are calculated differently ,so he may be correct in the position of the president ,but the rest is right now base on lobbing and playing the election cards smartly .

    All in all let us be united regardless of who will be the new leaders as long they will be guiding us to the promised land.

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  • Guest - Carlo J Chol

    What is anti Collo here? Okuk is trying to tell us what he expects out of the SPLM Convention. He tries to share his readings with us. Where is the offense in his article? Anger and Anger will never help us. Hate and too much of it will only bring harm to us. Let us some time be calm and read carefully and then comment respectively. You know politics is a dirty game and you may end up alone. Lam, Adwok and Pagan may become friends some day, think hard about your fate. Let us work hard for common goals.

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  • Guest - Dr. Onwar Adiang

    Hey dear Collo sons, intelectual dialogue is the one based on how more you are exposed to different thhoughts and ideas. It has more to do with your analytical abilities based on how knowledgabile you are... What James Okuk tries to share here is his own way of seeing the things as they are captured through his intelctual analysis, which is not in any case supposed to be true nor is anyone expected to agree with, since anybody has his on way of looking and interpreting things... I do not know why some of our brothers would always want to keep us within this concept of conflict and betryal (i.e anything that comes from you is wrong and has to be fought back!!!!).
    Any how I am very pleased with the contribution of brother Bellshou. That is the way things are suppose to be. And that is why the website was innitially designed and created, so if you have any ideas/information that may contribute to the ones posted, this is where you can come in and in that sense you would be coontributing your analysis to the situation. Anyhow let us go back to the topic posted by brother James, it looks like things are not yet settled there in Juba. the Chairman may win unopposed on ground he reachs an understanding with his Deputy, otherwise the post may be contested, which many people seem to be workng hard to avoid... There are some proposals for only one Deputy to the Chairman plus the Secretary General. In this case some balances are expected out here, like if the Chaiman comes from BGZL, then the Deputy would definatelly come from either Equatoria or Upper Nile (It is widelly spread out here that Honourable Wani Igga is willing to contest to the Deputy Chairmanship). So in this case the losser (UN or Equatoria) would definately be standing for Secrteary General (Not neccessarilly HE. Dr. Riak or Honourable Wani, that may be someone else). Many names are being circulated here that would possibly go for SG, among them Honourable Dr. Lam Akol and H.E Pagan Amum are not showing as indicated by brother Bellshou (But in polittics Zero Hours deliver wonders), instead H.E Taban Gai, Lado Gore, Deng Nial and Dr. Amon Wan are always being reported. Anyway what is needed from all at this very critical time is to maintain the unity and integrity of the party by not trying to isolate anybody and leaaving the course of democracy to take its path for the sake of our people and our beloved party the SPLM... Long Live the strugle for last and a just solution to the suffering of our people...

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  • Guest - James Okuk

    As I said in the introduction that my analysis is not a mathematical calculation and that politics is an art of the possible if not impossible, I think some people got me right here. Thanks to Belshou, Carlo and Onwar for their contributive comment. Politics has many answers because it is a public game that need not to be taken personally. Both H.E. Pagan Amum and Hon. Dr. Lam Akol are important to us whatsoever the differences they have had. So let us wait and see. The most important expectation is the unity of the party regardless of who will be at the top leadership. SPLM is a party that deserves building and not ruining as I wrote in one of my previous articles. Long live SPLM and Long live all its cadres whether they emerge winners or losers after the convention.

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  • Guest - Emmanuel Moses Aban

    اولاً: حرية الرائ والتعبير

    ماكتبه الاخ جيمس اوكوك هو تحليله الشخصي ورائه وهو حر فيه وله حرية الكامل في إبداء الرائ وتعبير وله الحق وكل الحق في تحديد من يراه مناسباُ وكفاًء لتقلد اي منصب لانه عضو في الحركة الشعبية وليس لاي شخص الحق في حرمان الاخرين من إبداء ارائهم
    لا ادري من هي ميطجوك أكول حتي تقول إذا تم ترشيح دكتور لام اكول لمنصب أمين العام فإن ذلك ضد وحدة شلو فهل حصول دكتور لام اكول أجاوين علي المنصب امين العام يعتبر ضد وحدة شلو؟ فهل تم تفويض ميطجوك اكول من قبل قبيلة شلو حتي تتحدث بإسمها؟
    ومن هي ميطجوك اكول حتي يحدد لشلو إتجاهات ومسارات قبيلة شلو السياسية ؟ام هي تعتقد بإن شعب شلو لا تعرف مصلحتها وليس لديها الاهلية حتي تعرف وتدرك مصلحتها؟
    لذا ارجو من الاخت ان يكف الحديث بإسم القبيلة شلو وإن تتحدث فقط بإسمها اما ان تقول ان إنتخاب زيد في مصلحة القبيلة او إنتخاب عبيد ضد مصلحة القبيلة فهذا الكلام مرفوض ولا يستقيم لان قبيلة شلو ليس حزب واحد و لا عقل واحد فهناك الحركةالشعبية والمؤتمر الوطني والمؤتمر الشعبي والشيوعي وغيرها من الاحزاب وعقول عديدة يفكرون بطرق مختلفة فهذا الحديث محاولة لتسيس القبيلة وبحث عن الفتنة بعينه وإرهاب قبيلة لإعتناق فكر واحد فلك الحق في ان تكره دكتور لام اكول ولا يمكنني ان امنعك من ذلك ولكن في نفس الوقت ليس لديك الحق في منع الاخرين من حب دكتور لام اكول لذا اتمنى نفكر قبل ان نكتب

    ثانياً : المؤتمر العام للحركة الشعبية
    سوف يعقد المؤتمر العام للحركة الشعبية ليحدد المؤتمرين سياسات العامة للحزب في مرحلة القادمة وايضاً لينتخب المؤتمرين رئيس الحزب ونائبه وامين العام لحزب ولهذا فإن حديث عن ترشيح او إنتخاب اي شخص لمناصب المذكورة شئ طبيعي وإلا ماكان هناك فائدة لعقد المؤتمر العام لذ فإن بقاء او خروج اي شخص من منصبه مرهون بالمؤتمرين لذا يجب ان نقبل بالديمقراطية داخل الحزب ونتائجها واثارها إذا اردنا الحديث عن التحول الديمقراطي والمصالحة الوطنية

    ثالثاً : لماذا د: لام اكول ؟

    انا اتفق مع الاصوات التي تنادي بإن يتم إنتخاب دكتور لام اكول في منصب امين العام لان في رائي د. لام اكول شخص جدير وكفء بالمنصب وسوف يقوم بإصلاحات عديدة داخل الحزب وينظم الحزب خاصاً مكاتب الحزب التي عانت طوال ثلاث سنوات الماضية من عدم فعالية وتخبط في تسير الحزب وقطاع شمال خير دليل علي ذلك ام قطاع جنوب فالوضع اسوا لهذا يحتاج الحزب في مرحلة القادمة لرجل يقوم بتحويل الحزب الي حزب سياسي بالمعني الدقيق يحكمه لوائح داخلية معروفة وقوانين واضحة وشخص مفكر يجعل من الحزب مدرسة فكرية وهذا الرجل في رائي هو دكتور لام اكول ولكن قد يري الاخرين إن منصب الامين العام جدير به زيد او عبيد فلهم حرية إختيار ورائ ولكن تبقي الكلمة الاخيرة للمؤتمرين فهذا مانريده ديمقراطية الحزبية

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  • Guest - simon ding

    لدي اقتراحات اريد ان اقدمها انا من جنوب السودان بشاءن تطورات الحركة الشعبية اتصلو بي

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