Articles and Analysies
Opening the Pandora Box of SPLM Leaders By James Okuk
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Jun 18, 2009 - 11:10:04 AM

Opening the Pandora Box of SPLM Leaders  

By James Okuk  

In Greek mythology, Pandora is the first woman, who was sent by the gods with a jar full of evils in order to avenge Prometheus's theft of fire. She opened the jar out of curiosity, thus releasing the evils into the world. From then this became a common expression for detailing the devils that could be hidden in propaganda and cosmetics politics, among others. My main aim of opening the Pandora Box of SPLM leaders is not to spray in more bad smells but to let go the accumulated smell and create a chance for fresh fragrance into the Box and rename it a Non-Pandora Box. The other aim is to object to any tendency of squeezing people empty and filling them with Dr. Riek’s or any other SPLM leader’s propaganda aimed at burying the truth and distorting the history.  

I write my criticism articles with distilled anger as well as I write my praise article with filtered happiness, but ensuring that whatever I write is channeled through hard facts analyzed under the lenses of critical thinking. I write on the stuff I understand well as important events unfold around us. Some people have reacted to my writings and said that I am a fierce scholar with a sharp tongue and blunt on the truth and logic, sometimes funny but always serious. Well, that is what they say but this is not the topic of this article.  

In his reply to my article, “Genius of Success to Lead South Sudan to Prosperity”, Brother Gatkuoth Deng (a USA Nuer Citizen and staunch supporter of Dr. Riek Machar) buried Dr. Lam Akol by saying “He was a Hero” rather than writing ‘He has Been a Hero’ because ‘was’ mean gone from existence. My reply to Gatkuoth’s article seemed to have pricked his nerves, and so he flip-flopped more uncritical statements to justify his previous criticized rhetoric. He forgot that critical thinking has no fix friend except the one who reveres it. Also the writer forgot that he abused the meanings and interpretations of animal symbolism by committing fallacy of wrong analogy.  

By calling Dr. Lam a fox, Mr. Gatkuoth did not understand that he was sending out unjustifiable insults on the savvy politician. In semiotics and semantics from many cultures, the fox symbolizes a treacherous deceiver. But from my little knowledge about the leadership personality of Dr. Lam, I do not think he qualifies to be portrayed as a fox because the man respects truth very much and hates lies and deceptions; he is not a Machiavellian fan.  

The SPLM-DC leader criticized the SPLM position on the ICC case against the sitting President of the Sudan whose constitutional mandate springs from the CPA, because this contradicts the duty and obligation to the spirit of partnership that gave birth to GoSS whose leadership is challenged by Dr. Lam and his supporters. Worst still the SPLM position is ambivalent because Salva Kiir will say he is in support of Al-Bashir when in Khartoum but will change his stance when he is in Juba by saying the GoNU should cooperate with the ICC and deal with it legally. But why deal with a wrong legal club where Sudan is not a registered member if there is no politics of double standards and colonial hangovers from the UN permanent members who are anti-NCP?  

No one protested in public when H.E. Salva decided to remove Dr. Lam unjustifiably from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Sudan, blaming him of not acting as a Minister of Foreign Affairs of the SPLM’s Vision when it is a well known practice worldwide that Ministers belongs to governments and not to political parties, though they may be recommended by political parties who form the government. I and other supporters of Dr. Lam protested in the media because there are many methods for protests. It is known that with Military Intelligences (MIs) outside the barracks in Southern Sudan, anyone who risk protesting risks penetration of bullets into his body from trigger-happy SPLA.  

It is only in the recent opening of the sessions of the parliament in Juba that ‘Dr.’ Kiir ordered his MIs to go back to the barracks and allow the civilians to practice their bills of rights and liberties in the South. It remains to be desired if this orders will be respected but with the wise leadership of Lt. Gen. James Hoth Mai we still leaves the room for the benefit of doubts.  

Since it is fair to debate public issues and personalities from different points of view, let us go out for it by opening the Pandora Box of Epistemology of our so-called leaders in the South. What astonished me in the later article of brother Gatkuoth is the way he portrayed Dr. Riek as apolitical survival and hero on the ground of Nuer tribalism. But I wonder if the man has automatic and unconditional support of all the Nuer People!  

If Dr. Riek was for peaceful strategies after Nasir Declaration of the SPLM/A Split of 1991, why did he allow the massacre of innocent civilians in the South, the Bor Dinka, using the proxy of the primitive Nuer White Army? Also remember that the SPLM-DC and its leadership will be concerned about any mass killing in any corner of this world (be it Darfur or Gaza Strip in Palestine) because it is morally wrong to kill innocent people, especially children.  

It was known in the 2nd SPLM Convention that H.E. Taban Deng, H.E. John Luke and others (like Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, the Ethiopian Nuer who heads GoSS Mission and SPLM Chapter in Washington DC) were against Dr. Riek. Are they not Nuer members who should have been trenching Dr. Riek against Mr. Salva Kiir’s offensive attack on the ground of Dinka tribalism? Given this truth of some Nuer group from Unity State, Jonglei State and Upper Nile State who stood with Mr. Mayardit against Dr. Machardit, where is the armour of Nuer tribalism on your man here, which could have proved him the fittest in the jungle law of tribal balances for government control in the South as well as in the SPLM leadership hierarchy?  

Brother Gatkuoth of the USA, know it well that you will not be allowed to distort history because sincere southerners will always be there to stop the move so that the real South Sudan history does not get lost in tribalistic propaganda. They will ensure that the truth is sifted from falsity and lies so that the past factual records are put back into their right tracks. They will dig deeper under the surface and unveil the hidden reality because they have a conviction that when the sincere intellectuals challenge themselves, the truth does not get lost within the sophistry propaganda. In the mass bombardments of subjective truths, the objective truth will never be allowed to be mystified by selfish and opportunistic propagandists who thrive on lies.  

The allegory of the trainee and trainer driver does not help to justify how Dr. Riek can be exempted from burdens of criticisms and blames for contribution to Kiir failures of SPLM leadership and GoSS governance in the South. If the GoSS Council of Ministers decided to waste public monies by accommodating idle people in expensive hotels in Juba, Dr. Riek should have stayed away from this by not accommodating his idle guesses as well in the expense of GoSS coffers. By doing it, he was competition and contributing to failures. Indeed, my point becomes correct; he has been an accomplice of GoSS corruptists.  

Comparing Dr. Riek situation of dilemma with that of South Africa ANC party squabbles does not help to refute my verdict against him either. Yes, if Mbeki resigned and Zuma took over the Chairmanship of the party in South Africa, then either Kiir or Riek should have resigned to prove to the people that one of them does not agree with the policies of the other. But as neither of them resigned, then my conclusion becomes true; both of them are identical part of the four-year mess-up and violations on public rights for development in Southern Sudan.  

Just to apply arithmetic of subtraction a bit here on how Dr. Riek is a culprit to Kiir’s failures in the South let me state this: from the 7 billon US dollars disbursed by GoNU to GoSS Treasury from 2005 - 2009, just subtract the amount of dollars wasted by Dr. Riek on 1) the ungrateful LRA bandits; 2) the Uganda-LRA mediators, rivals and participants; 3) the idle people he accommodated in expensive hotels; 4) the alleged ghost contractors when he was the Minister of Housing, Land and Public Utilities; 5) trips and expenditures to follow the law suit in the Hague over Abyei’s ABC differences of SPLM and NCP; and 6) the dozens of unnecessary lazy parasitic bodyguards who protect Dr. Riek on a daily basis. Not to forget, subtract also the expensive and extended accommodation of some splinter Darfuris rebel groups in Juba and the chartered flights for their transportation. The amount wasted by Riek here could get to approximately 1.5 billion dollars. If not wasted, this amount could have built highways and bridges that could connect the ten states of Southern Sudan to each other for the common benefit of the citizens.  

Why should Dr. Riek entertain a volume of unproductive bodyguards, equipped with very expensive heavy weapons and vehicles if he believes he is a man of the people? Even if Dr. Riek dreams that the people of South Sudan would not wish him to resign from the party (SPLM) and from the government (GoSS), what is the concrete prove for this claim? Did the man ever contested or experienced what is called liberal democracy for getting the mandate of the people for holding a public office?  

At least Dr. Lam knows very well what is called democracy by practice because he contested in elections in many instances and he understands very well what it takes to gain peoples’ votes and confidence. In his democratic experience, Dr. Lam lost and won the votes in different occasions with the support of many ethnic groups. Dr. Lam does not sit in his office/house playing cards and chess on computer and take for granted that all the Southerners are his supporters. He sweats for his political gains and privileges. That is why he is very far ahead with miles (when it comes to democratic practice) compared to many SPLM leaders who only talks sweetly of democratic transformation but do not know what it takes to put this into real practice. So I still reiterate, when the going gets tough, it is the tough who gets going.  

If Dr. Riek is dreaming fantastically that he can work hand in hand with honourable J ames Wani Igga to push ‘Dr. Kiir’ off the nomination cliff in the coming elections, then he is making a repeated mistake. It has been known within the SPLM that if you want to kill a project just give it to the author of Dr. Garang Anthem of ‘Baba Ja’ (meaning ‘Our Father has Come’) because this equatorian is very good in running to where the sand is, so that he could hid his head under like an ostrich when things become too hot to touch. Now Mr. Wani Igga has been given the project of elections strategies and campaign for the SPLM and you can tell ahead where this project is heading to; doom!  

Dr. Riek is not a strategic thinker and planner, and that is why so many bad things happen on his face. The man is so good in sweeping the dust under the red carpet, using lion’s smiles but uncaring about the root causes of problems, conflicts and disappointments. An Arabic proverb says: if you see teeth of the lion exposed out, do not get fooled that the lion is smiling.  

Still despite brother Gatkuoth futile defence for Dr. Riek, the tough choice remains ahead for his leader: to Join the SPLM-DC with its categorical call for change under the wise and concerned leadership of Dr. Lam or any other political party that still possess the credibility of people’s confidence, or to stick with the SPLM under the dooms of Kiir’s incompetent leadership of the SPLM vehicle that has no reverse gears against corruption, tribalism and insecurity.  

When Archbishop Desmond Tutu realized that South Africa’s Democracy was born in chains he said: “Reconciliation means that those who have been on the underside of history must see that there is a qualitative difference between repression and freedom. And for them, freedom translates into having a supply of clean water, having electricity on tap, being able to live in a decent home and have a good job; to be able to send your children to good school and have accessible healthcare. I mean, what is the point of having made this transition if the quality of life of these people is not enhanced and improved?” In the same tone, the SPLM-DC and its leadership ask this question: What is the meaning of SPLM leadership of the South if masses of people still linger in poverty?  

By its leadership crisis, shameless corruption, and defiance behaviour of siding and dinning with the Jellaba anti-CPA opposition parties, the SPLM have given the NCP a chance to sabotage the full implementation of the CPA. Now with the emergence of the SPLM-DC as a strong partner with NCP in CPA implementation, the NCP cadres will be reminded that it is very important to implement the CPA fully and jointly.  

If the SPLM decided to abandon the partnership and join the opposition, the SPLM-DC will fill the gap. But if the SPLM comes back to its senses and decided to cooperate with the NCP and stop throwing dust into the air where the demiurges of NCP are well known for being good seers and movers in the dust, then the SPLM-DC will be very happy to have a tripartite joint venture of implementing the CPA fully to its destiny.  

James Okuk, PhD, Student, University of Nairobi, [email protected]  

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