By Dr Lam Akol
July 24, 2010 (SSNA) — Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba, the Minster of Higher Education and Scientific Research, seems to enjoy attacking my person with or without reason. I have all along taken the line to ignore him for he has never been consistent in what he writes about. Even his colleagues in the SPLM do not take him seriously. What a shame for a person of his calibre. Nonetheless, his article “Can the GOSS ban SPLM-DC in south Sudan?” published in SouthSudanNation.com on the 10th instant cannot be allowed to go unanswered.
Dr Peter Adwok and some misguided Collo fellows in the SPLM took it upon themselves since 2003 to see that Dr Lam Akol should be out of the party. They used all kinds of lies in order to persuade the leadership of SPLM to get the party fight their war against Dr Lam Akol. These lies included a claim as early as in 2006 that Dr Lam Akol had militia in Wad Akon, the capital of Manyo County. This is what Dr Adwok terms in his article as Lam’s slave army deployed in the ‘Gum Arabic” project in the county. When that claim could not be sustained because the Commissioner of Manyo who was appointed in May 2007 was nominated by them and their staunch supporter, the location of the militia moved to Kau Nyaro in the Nuba Mountains!! To their bad luck again, the Commissioner there was an SPLM member, Musa Kajo, who denied knowledge of such a militia in his Locality (the equivalent of a County in the South). Yet, the SPLM leadership was gullible enough, or had other ulterior motives, to buy these lies and they employed the whole party to take up the fight of the group against Dr Lam Akol. All this was happening, as we can see, before the idea of the SPLM-DC was even conceived.
Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba knows very well how he supervised over the rigging of the SPLM party elections of Panyikang County in Tonga in March 2008, and Kuol Manyang and his committee, set up by the National Convention to look into the County appeals, refused to look into the appeal of Panyikang County despite the strong recommendation from the supervisor, Akwoc Ajang (not a Collo, as the name may suggest, but a Dinka from Gogrial), and latter on Ambrose Ring Thiik who chaired the Upper Nile SPLM Conference. This was in contrast to the Committee’s enthusiasm to look into the appeal of Taban Deng Gai in the Unity State. In April 2008, I was prevented from touring Collo land by the Commissioner of Fashoda County, although by then I was a member of the Political Bureau of the SPLM and member of the National Assembly representing the area. I raised a complaint to the Chairman of the SPLM but nothing was done and I later discovered he had sanctioned the act. Were all these chance developments?
For those who do not know, the schemes in Collo land started as soon as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005. First, all the Collo elements in the SPLA were transferred out of Collo land and replaced by soldiers who were in Hamoshkoreib and others. Second, they spread all over Collo land even in areas that did not have army garrisons before and during the war. Everybody knows that an army is always deployed according to extant and expected threats. What were the threats against the SPLA in Collo land? Any Collo in the Kingdom knows how these soldiers have been behaving towards our people. One of their brief was to find and route out the militia in Collo land. In a few months, they found out that no militia existed in the entire Collo Kingdom.
In their desperation to persuade the SPLM to take up their very personal and petty fight against Dr Lam Akol, they lied to the SPLM leadership that they will deliver Collo land to the SPLM come the elections. Dr Peter Adwok personally claimed that the Reth was his nephew and that His Majesty will command the Collo to vote for the SPLM. The non-Collos in the SPLM were advised by some neutral persons to be careful and not take such a claim because the Collo system does not work like that. No Reth has a public political position because such a position would divide the Collo people as they cannot be expected to follow one political view point. The Reth is respected, not feared, because he is the symbol of social and cultural unity of the Collo nation. Unfortunately, such genuine advice was ignored. Many things happened after that most of which do not concern us here. However, when the SPLM lost in Collo land, it is the same Dr Peter Adwok who, instead of apologizing for having misled the party, is now saying that SPLM-DC “ won, by all means including deceit, rigging, infiltration of the NEC, etc.” All these falsehood are meant to justify to his bosses in the SPLM his earlier deception. Where on earth do opposition parties rig elections? But that is the logic of Dr Peter Adwok. He now wants the SPLM and SPLA to take up his fight, not against Dr Lam this time, but against the whole tribe. Some of his cronies stated publicly that tanks will roll in Collo land if they lost the elections. Yes, they did lose the elections and, in keeping with their word, the tanks are now rolling in Collo land. It is vendetta, pure and simple. What has that to do with SPLM-DC?
When the SPLM-DC was formed in June 2009, the reaction of the SPLM leadership to it was to ban it from the South. Suddenly, the militia claim was heaped on it to justify that ban. So when Dr Peter Adwok states that “The SPLM-DC is undergoing de-legitimization and may soon be outlawed in Southern Sudan”, that has indeed been the plan from the very beginning and reasons have to be invented to justify the action. But, Dr Peter Adwok and Co. would want to use the law of the jungle, and not the rule of law, to “outlaw” SPLM-DC. Let us take his allegation that SPLM-DC killed the Paramount Chief of Panyikang. SPLM-DC is a corporate body and not a physical person to kill somebody. A person must first be identified to have committed the heinous crime. Then, that person, even if he were to be a member of SPLM-DC, will have to admit in court that he did so on the orders of the party. If it is established that the party did indeed order him, the leadership of the party shall be held to account. This is the ABC of law we all know. Dr Adwok and Co. in their rush to reverse the results of the elections came up with a ludicrous allegation that it was the members of SPLM-DC in the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly and Upper Nile State Legislative Assembly who planned and executed the cold-blooded murder!! Good Lord! Can people stoop this low? If it were the elected members of SPLM-DC who plan and execute such things, what about the members in the National Assembly? Is it because the illegality in Juba cannot reach them?
Dr Peter Adwok must substantiate his claim against SPLM-DC of “conducting illegal political actions [maintaining tribal militia in the Chollo Kingdom, having parallel and invisible government structure…]”. Otherwise, we will have to believe those who say he cannot be taken seriously.
Dr Adwok stated that “In the Chollo kingdom, it is important to recall how these weapons were brought in and by whom.” This is a good point. But do not try to be clever to parrot the usual allegations that it is Khartoum to blame. Take a deep breath and be yourself. The Chollo will sit down one day to answer your rhetorical question. I do not think some of the people fighting the Collo today will get out of it clean. This brings me to Dr Adwok’s big and dangerous lie that “Some of these SPLM-DC officers, call them commanders, had wanted to start reconciliation talks through the auspices of the Reth. Why was this halted by Dr Lam who instead ordered them to attack the SPLA garrisoned in Padhang (sic) and Lul?” SPLM-DC has no armed formations and therefore has no officers. Dr Lam never talked to anybody nor ordered an attack of any sort. The onus of proof lies with Dr Peter Adwok who must mention who told him this story. Is it theses officers or the Reth or who? It is a serious allegation and must be supported by facts.
Dr Nyaba continues: “The Chollo people don’t engage in cattle rustling or other violent illegal practices and therefore don’t need firearms.” This is a simplistic statement. Dr Adwok must be aware that cattle rustling predate firearms. Furthermore, firearms are not sought only for cattle rustling; people look for them mainly for self-defence. I think you still remember why and how Obwony wa Sadiq got his firearms in early 1980s. Was it not for the same reason as is the case now? People will always arm themselves as long as the Government does not provide them with both public and personal security. Can Dr Adwok give us an example as to where disarmament was successful in Southern Sudan since 2005?
Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba is not ashamed to lie when he asserts: “The people who carried Dr Lam Akol shoulder high are the ones he betrayed in 2005 when he refused to have them integrated into the SPLA on account of them being illiterate but instead selected his relatives and sent them to the SPLA GH/Qs for integration.” This is cheap propaganda. The truth is the following. The SPLM-United forces of which I was Commander-in-Chief since 1994 were fully integrated into the SPLA in 2003 following the merger between SPLM-United and SPLM/A. There were five hundred and fifty five (555) officers, most of them, to use Dr Adwok’s words “illiterate”. From that moment, I ceased to have anything to do with the army. Cdr James Hoth Mai who was commanding Upper Nile Region became their commander, and he fell under the SPLA Chief of Staff by then, Cdr Salva Kiir Mayardit. How come now that in 2005 I “refused to have them integrated into the SPLA on account of being illiterate”? This is balderdash! That they were left in the cold is part of the schemes hatched against Collo land referred to earlier. When they “roamed [y]our homes in Juba scavenging for assistance” what did you do for them?
Inadvertently, Dr Peter Adwok admits that it is the SPLA officers and soldiers who carry arms in Collo land but as usual the invisible arm of Dr Lam Akol must be behind any development not to his taste. He had the following to say: “many of them came back to the Chollo Kingdom boiling with anger against the SPLM-led government and quickly Dr Lam Akol transformed [them] into his private militia”. Did these officers leave the SPLA? What evidence does Dr Adwok have that Dr Lam Akol turned them into militia and for what purpose?
What Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba calls disarmament in Collo land, had a different motive. In which area in South Sudan where disarmament was done were the populace subjected to torture, harassment and rape as was done in Collo land. Even young boys and girls did not escape this mistreatment. Polyvinyl containers were dissolved by fire and made to drip on the backs of these innocent children to force them into showing where the guns of their fathers were!! Women and young girls were raped before the eyes of their relatives. Can Dr Peter Adwok deny these horrendous acts? Can such terrible acts be justified as counterinsurgency? There was no insurgency in the first place except in the imagination of Dr Peter Adwok. If this is not “scorched earth policy”, what is it?
Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba and Co. are just shedding crocodile tears for the death of Kt Oyath Odhok. Why didn’t they care when Nyireth Akic Dak Padiet was killed by armed men? Where were they when Paramount Chief Thon Wai was also killed under similar conditions? In the first place, Kt Oyath is a Chief of the Reth and it should have been the Reth to tackle his case. It would have been easier for the Reth, through his system, to track down the culprits. What brings in the SPLA in a murder case? Dr Adwok’s group thought this was a golden opportunity to get at SPLM-DC and Dr Lam Akol, their archenemy! It was a terrible miscalculation and a typical example of the abuse of power. They became the informers misleading the authorities on who the real culprits were. These authorities are now realizing that they were being used to settle personal scores. We mourn Kt. Oyath as a victim of jungle law, but additionally, because his brother is a leading member of SPLM-DC. We do not need to be shouting on rooftops to show our feelings.
All the crab about failure to win the elections and how it was turned into a cause to fight for, or that the SPLM-DC is working against the CPA cannot hold water and is not worth responding to. Dr Peter Adwok, you owe it to the Collo people, as a Minister of the ruling party in Southern Sudan, to tell them what you are doing to settle the border problem, which I think is the root cause of the current problems in Collo land. The CPA stipulates that State and County borders be of 1/1/1956. This was reaffirmed in many conference held by GOSS afterwards including one in Malakal in January 2008. Why is it so difficult to implement that? Are we lacking surveyors? Or is it the political will that is lacking? Or what? Hiding our heads in the sand or looking for scapegoats will not wish our problems away. They must be tackled head on.