Archive for October 11, 2011

Sudan, South Sudan take step toward resolving border and oil disputes

Posted: October 11, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Sudan and South Sudan’s leaders met this weekend to begin addressing disputes that have spurred violence in the tense border region.

By Alex Thurston, Guest blogger / October 11, 2011

This weekend South Sudanese President Salva Kiir met with his counterpart, President Omar al Bashir of Sudan, in Khartoum. Although the problems between the two Sudans are far from over, this visit hopefully marks a step toward a resolution of major issues. This resolution may be flawed, but hopefully it will be one that both sides can live with.

The two largest issues dividing the two sides are how to share revenues from oil and how to demarcate the border. The border issue is especially complex: a number of areas are disputed, most famously the territory of Abyei, whose referendum on whether to join the North or the South has been indefinitely postponed (currently it lies within the North). Although coming up with a formula for oil sharing and resolving Abyei’s status might be enough to conclude the major disputes between the two sides, the question of the border areas is also significant because of the violence going on in several northern states that lie on the new border. Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan States are home to thousands of people who fought for or sympathize with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the governing party in the South. Even though such areas are not part of the new South Sudan, South Sudanese leaders are keen to see violence end there. So long as it continues there will be serious tensions between South Sudan and Sudan.

Sudan Tribune provides details of the framework agreed upon in Khartoum:

Sudan and South Sudan have setup five task-forces to trash out issues of economy and border security among others…

The five committees include bilateral relations, economy, higher education, humanitarian affairs and border security.

Sudan’s minister of finance and national economy, Ali Mahmud, said that the two sides had agreed on five points in the fields of economic cooperation and banking exchange as well as on establishing a joint administration to manage oil facilities and promoting cross-border trade.

The next step will be a meeting in Juba on Oct. 18, which is quite soon.

There are reasons for pessimism – talks could fall through, issues could remain intractable, implementation could falter, and violence in the border regions could worsen, bringing tensions to new highs – but the personal involvement of Bashir and Kiir, combined with the genesis of this new framework, suggests that the two sides are serious about reaching a solution. As I said above, I do not think all the disputes will be ironed out, and some level of violence in the border areas may continue to keep relations problematic, but if resolution on revenues-sharing and Abyei comes, the two countries will be able to move forward.

Regarding Abyei, I think Sudan will likely hold onto it. Their de facto control of the area gives them a huge advantage, though they may have to give Juba some big concessions to keep it.

Alex Thurston is a PhD student studying Islam in Africa at Northwestern University and blogs at Sahel Blog.

South-Sudan wants to join EAC

Posted: October 11, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Geof Magga

South Sudan has made overtures to join the East African Community, as it moves to strengthen its economy, three months after attaining its independence.

James Igga Wani/Photo/Reuters

James Igga Wani/Photo/Reuters

A South Sudanese delegation paid a courtesy call on the Ugandan Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Monday, expressing their desire to join the EAC.

The leader of Sudanese delegation, who is also the speaker of the Southern Sudan parliament, James Igga Wani said joining the community will enhance utilisation of the new state’s independence, as the country shared common interests with the other member states.

"Southern Sudan shares a lot with other east African member states.

"It is for that reason that we want to join the East African Community," he said.

Meanwhile Kadaga assured South Sudan that Uganda would support its bid to join the EAC, but advised them to apply officially.

"As speakers from member countries we have already tackled the issue and are willing to support the admission of South Sudan into the cooperation," she said.

If admitted, South Sudan will be the sixth member state in the EAC after Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

Rwanda and Burundi are the newest members of the EAC.

The economic bloc started in the 1960’s, with Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania being the founding members.

South Sudan worries it could become breeding ground for terrorism

Posted: October 11, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

South Sudan accuses Sudan of supporting the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army in order to sow instability.

By Nenad Marinkovic, Guest blogger / October 11, 2011

A South Sudan official has accused the North of providing support and training camps for the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, to enable cross-border attacks into South Sudan. At a press conference recently in Juba, the South Sudan minister of interior Alison Manani Magaya said that Sudan is looking for all possible ways of destabilizing South Sudan.

The minister’s comments are the latest in a string of accusations from high-ranking South Sudanese officials that Khartoum is actively involved in supporting rebel groups in South Sudan. Magaya said the LRA is carrying out cross-border attacks in Western Bahr el Ghazal state and their presence is disturbing the local population.

"They have a training camp at the border between Western Bahr el Ghazal and Darfur, where they are being trained and supplied,” Magaya said.

The minister linked the LRA incursions to a broader concern about South Sudan’s susceptibility to terrorism. “Terrorism might come here because of bad infrastructure,” Magaya said.

The minister said his assessment comes from information gathering and sharing with foreign intelligence services, noting that “27 entry points along the border with Sudan will be reinforced” in response to the immediate threat posed by the LRA. He also referenced South Sudan’s much-discussed ranking as one of the top five terrorism prone countries, according to analysis by global risk agency Maplecroft. Weak infrastructure allows for illegal entries, Magaya said, adding that he believes “many bad people” have made their way into South Sudan.

The top UN official in South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, the secretary general’s special representative, said the LRA is moving to Darfur and parts of Western Bahr el Ghazal. On the issue of South Sudan’s terrorism ranking, she explained that its ranking is mainly based on a single agency’s (Maplecroft) designation of the LRA as a “terrorist organization.” Johnson explained further that the definition used by Maplecroft is not shared by the United Nations. The United States designated the LRA as a terrorist organization in 2001.

The minister of interior categorized the security situation in the country as relatively calm and stable but said that remaining rebel groups still pose serious threats to security. He called on the rebels to accept reintegration but added, “amnesty offered by the president is not an open-ended process.” The time will come when the government will have to deal with these groups, Magaya said.

He announced South Sudanese government plans to establish a special anti-terrorism unit within its police force with the help of “international friends” and will be ramping up efforts to fight crime, instability, and cross-border attacks by LRA.

Nenad Marinkovic blogs for the Enough Project at Enough Said.

Nearly 1800 South Sudanese Return From North
Voice of America
October 11, 2011 Nearly 1800 South Sudanese Return From North Lisa Schlein | Geneva The International Organization for Migration says a convoy of barges has transported 1800 South Sudanese from Kosti, a town near Sudan’s capital Khartoum, to the South
Sudan, South in deal over Abyei
Daily Nation
By PETER MWAI NATION Reporter pmwai The fate of the oil-rich region of Abyei will be determined in a meeting between the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan. This is one of the agreements of a two day meeting between President Omar

Nile River Barges Carry South Sudanese Home
Voice of America
October 11, 2011 Nile River Barges Carry South Sudanese Home Joe DeCapua More South Sudanese who had been stranded in Sudan have returned home in a Nile river barge convoy. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is overseeing the ongoing
Correction: South Sudan-Diverted Funds Story
ABC News
28 story about diverted government funds in South Sudan, The Associated Press erroneously reported that the UN representative to South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson, told a news conference that hundreds of millions of dollars meant for the government had

South Sudan Job Vacancies: October 11, 2011

Posted: October 11, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

Please directly contact the employer if you have any further questions.

To anyone of interest, please circulate the following job vacancies:

HR & Finance Assistant.pdf
Logistics officer – procurement..pdf

Title Location Job TypeAscending
Lead Strategy Alignment and PMP Development Specialist, SUPPORT, Juba, Sudan South Sudan Consultant
Program Management Advisors, Juba, South Sudan South Sudan Consultant
M & E Short Term Technical Assistant, Juba, Sudan South Sudan Consultant
Integrated Health Service Delivery Program Design Consultant Juba, Sudan South Sudan Consultant
Health Monitoring & Evaluation Advisor (7 mos), Juba, South Sudan South Sudan Expat
Performance Management Plan Development Consultant, SUPPORT, Juba, Sudan South Sudan Expat
Outreach and Communications Officer, Juba, Sudan South Sudan Expat
Food Security Specialist, Juba, the Republic of South Sudan South Sudan Local Staff
Travel and Events Assistant, Juba, Sudan South Sudan Local Staff

If you can not find the the job you are looking for, it has been filled or closed and is no longer available. In such cases we recommend filling out a “General Application” so that you are added to our database. Once you have taken this step, you will be able to come back at any point to update your profile and/or apply to more jobs at MSI.

Click on the position title to see the full description or to apply.
New and Featured Jobs
Employment and Civic Engagement Specialists, Youth Leadership, Egypt Egypt
Program Management Advisors, SUPPORT, Juba, South Sudan South Sudan
Director of Finance and Administration, USAID Feed the Future, Monitoring & Evaluation Project, Washington D.C. Washington, D.C.
Senior Associate – Health, Management Systems International, Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C.
Senior M&E Capacity Building Advisor, USAID Feed the FutureMonitoring & Evaluation Project, Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C.
Writer/Editor, USAID Feed the Future Monitoring & Evaluation Project, Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C.
 Expatriate Staff Positions
Director of Health Systems Management, Primary Health Care Project Iraq, Baghdad Iraq
Process Development Advisor, Tarabot, Baghdad Iraq
Chief of Party, At-Risk Youth, Morocco Morocco
Deputy Chief of Party/M&E Specialist, Morocco Morocco
Health Monitoring & Evaluation Advisor (7 mos), Juba, South Sudan South Sudan
Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response External Evaluator, Juba, Sudan South Sudan
Outreach and Communications Officer, Juba, Sudan South Sudan
Local Staff Positions
Management Information Systems/Networking Coordinator, Civil Society Support Project, Cairo, Egypt Egypt
Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana
BCC/Behavior Change Community Advisor, Primary Health Care Project Iraq, Baghdad Iraq
Deputy Chief of Party, Legislative Strengthening Project, Baghdad, Iraq Iraq
Environmental Health Specialist, Primary Health Care Project Iraq, Baghdad Iraq
Health Care Regional Coordinator, Primary Health Care Project Iraq, Various Provinces Iraq
Health Commodities Management Specialist, Primary Health Care Project Iraq, Baghdad Iraq
Health Operations Advisor, Primary Health Care Project, Baghdad Iraq
Human Resources Management Advisor, Primary Health Care Project,  Baghdad Iraq
Iraq Development Management System Advisor, Tarabot, Basrah Iraq
Iraq Development Management System Advisor, Tarabot, Kirkuk Iraq
Project Management Advisor, Tarabot, Basrah Iraq
Project Management Advisor, Tarabot, Kirkuk Iraq
Project Specialist – Ministry Embedded, Tarabot, Baghdad Iraq
Senior Project Specialist for Fiscal Management, Iraq Administrative Reform Project, Babil Iraq
Senior Project Specialist for Fiscal Management, Iraq Administrative Reform Project, Kirkuk Iraq
Senior Project Specialist for Ministry Support, Tarabot, Baghdad Iraq
Senior Project Specialist for the Ministry of Finance, Tarabot, Baghdad Iraq
Senior Project Specialist for Organizational Development, Tarabot, Babil Iraq
Senior Project Specialist for the Service Centers, Administrative Reform Project, Basrah Iraq
Senior Project Specialist for the Service Centers, Administrative Reform Project, Kirkuk Iraq
Monitoring and Evaluation Director, Mali
Reporting Coordinator, Monitoring and Evaluation/Mexico Rule of Law III, Mexico Mexico
Local Government/Community Development Specialist, At-Risk Youth Project, Morocco Morocco
Administrative Assistant, Independent Monitoring and Evaluation Contract, Islamabad Pakistan
Director of Communications, Islamabad, Pakistan Pakistan
Evaluation Specialist, Independent Monitoring and Evaluation Contract, Islamabad Pakistan
Relationship Manager, Peshawar, Pakistan Pakistan
Senior Evaluation Specialist, IMEC, Islamabad Pakistan
Statistical Analyst, Pakistan Pakistan
Statistical Associate, Independent Monitoring and Evaluation Contract, Islamabad Pakistan
Survey Economist, Independent Monitoring and Evaluation Contract, Islamabad Pakistan
Survey Manager, Pakistan Pakistan
Government Accountability Specialist,  Judicial Reform and Government Accountability Project, Serbia Serbia
Food Security Specialist, Juba, the Republic of South Sudan South Sudan
Travel and Events Assistant, SUPPORT, Juba, South Sudan South Sudan
Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Local Partners Capacity Building Project, Zambia Zambia
Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Local Partners Capacity Building Project, Zambia Zambia
Short-term Consultancies
CSO Advocacy Specialist, N’Djamena, Chad Chad
Legislative Gap Analysis Consultancy – Privacy Laws and E-Governance, Good Governance Program, Georgia Georgia
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Specialist, Haiti Haiti
Training Effectiveness Evaluator, Monitoring and Evaluation/Mexico Rule of Law III, Mexico Mexico
Integrated Health Service Delivery Program Design Consultant Juba, South Sudan South Sudan
Lead Strategy Alignment and PMP Development Specialist, SUPPORT, Juba, Sudan South Sudan
M & E Short Term Technical Assistant, Juba, South Sudan South Sudan
Performance Management  Plan Development Consultant, SUPPORT, Juba, Sudan South Sudan
 DC Headquarters
Chief of Party, USAID Feed the Future Initiative, Monitoring & Evaluation Project, Washington, DC  Washington, D.C.
Internship – Fall 2011 – Accounting  Washington, D.C.
Internship – Fall 2011 – Business Development, Washington, D.C Washington, D.C.
Internship – Fall 2011  Business Support Services Internship, Washington, DC Washington, D.C.
Internship – Fall 2011 – Communications Washington, D.C.
Internship – Fall 2011 – Contracts Management Washington, D.C.
Internship – Fall 2011 – Financial Management Washington, D.C.
Internship – Fall 2011 – Human Resources Management Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Internship – Fall 2011 – Project Management Washington, D.C.
Internship – Fall 2011 – Marketing Washington, D.C.
Senior Evaluation Specialist, USAID Feed the Future Initiative Monitoring & Evaluation Project Washington, DC Washington, D.C.
Senior Performance Monitoring Specialist, USAID Feed the Future Initiative Monitoring & Evaluation Project Washington, DC Washington, D.C.

[We] agreed that as new nation, we need to cooperate, we need to work together, we need to have consensus on how we approach the challenges that are facing our country. Nobody, however small, is not important in this exercise. It is our duty as sons and daughters of this nation to build it so that our people could get what they want—SPLM-DC’s leader, Dr. Lam Akol.

PaanLuel Wel, Washington DC, USA.

It has been about a week from the time when Dr. Lam Akol returned to South Sudan since the independence of South Sudan from the North in July, 2011. According to reports, Dr. Lam Akol, the leader of the main official opposition party in South Sudan—the SPLM-DC—has been residing in Nairobi, Kenya due to political issues and security concerns stemming from constant harassment his party supporters have been subjected to by the SPLM, the South Sudan ruling party.

The SPLM has been fond of labeling various accusations against Dr. Lam and his party ranging from co-habiting with militia groups to being an extended arm of the NCP of Al-Bashir, masquerading in South Sudan as an independent opposition party. Of course, the SPLM-DC, from day one, has persistently refuted all the accusations, calling on the SPLM to produce concrete evidence(s) either in the court of law or to the public which could tie them to the alleged charges, none of which the SPLM has been prepared to do.

Since his arrival in Juba, Dr. Lam has been meeting various stakeholders: his long time political friends, church leaders, civic society, MPs, and community elders. Not long ago, he has secured his second meeting, in a row, with President Kiir. Take this last Sunday, for instance, he was in the church meeting the faithful in the morning, was paid a visit by the Deputy Speaker of the Council of States in the afternoon, and soon afterward, was visited by Jerkuei Marek with some MPs from Greater Bahr El Ghazal States.

Retracing Dr. Lam’s footprint in the DNA of South Sudanese Struggle

Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, a Shilluk by ethnicity, was born on July 15, 1950 in Athidhwoi, Upper Nile State of the Republic of South Sudan. An exceptionally bright student, Dr. Lam has a Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Engineering from the University of Khartoum (1975), Masters in Petroleum Engineering from Edinburgh University, UK (1977), and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London, UK (1980).

In 1999, Dr. Lam also received an Honorary Doctorate in Political Science from Juba University. He is fluent in five languages—English, Arabic, Chollo, Dinka and Nuer, in addition to elementary German. Dr. Lam is married to Hon. Madam Rebecca, a deputy minister of Education in the Government of South Sudan, with whom they have three children. Between 1980 and 1986, prior to joining the SPLM/A, Dr. Lam was a Lecturer at the department of Chemical Engineering, Khartoum University.

Though he had been encouraging and recruiting many leading Southerners to join the SPLM/A, Dr. Lam Akol himself officially joined the Movement in April 1986. And by July the same year of 1986, he was appointed Alternate Member of the SPLM Political-Military High Command. Diplomatically, he was appointed by Dr. Garang as the Director of the Office of Coordination and External Relations of the SPLM, based in Addis Ababa. As a chief negotiator of the SPLM/A (1988-1990) in peace talks with the Khartoum government, Dr. Lam became the face and voice of the Movement to the outside world. On the frontline, Dr. Lam was a deployed twice: one as a zonal commander of Northern Upper Nile (1987-1988) and secondly as a zonal commander of Southern Blue Nile (1990-1991), a position he held till he engineered the 1991 Nasir coup against Dr. John Garang, his boss.

In his book, The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan, Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba attributed Dr. Lam sudden rise in the ranks of the SPLM/A to favoritism practiced by Dr. John Garang. Dr. Nyaba wrote that both Dr. Lam and Dr. Riek Machar were favored by Dr. Garang, to the chagrin of Kuanyin Bol and William Nyuon. Cdr. Kuanyin and Cdr. William, being the educational underdogs of the Movement, felt threatened by what they saw as Dr. Garang’s selective promotion of the educated elites in total disregards to the military merits of other members of the Movement.

Such was the height of political schism between the educated and the semi-illiterate commanders of the SPLM/A that Kerubino Kuanyin was reported to have remarked: “You people are not made to fight, and when we the combatants are dead, you will come to take over the revolution.” The rejection of Cdr Kuanyin Bol’s preferred list, some people have argued, formed the core foundation of his political disagreement with Dr. Garang which later culminated in his open rebellion and subsequent incarceration.

Whether or not Dr. Lam Akol’s meteoric rise within the ranks and files of the SPLM/A was due to preferentialism by Dr. Garang, the two doctors had, by 1990, fell out of favor. By then, there was already a sizable section of the SPLM/A cadres who were deeply dissatisfied with how the Movement was being run. The first recorded voice among this group was that of (Prof.) Captain Barri Wanji in form of pamphlets written and distributed to various SPLM/A-friendly embassies in Addis Ababa. With the arrest of Kwanyin Bol, Arok Thon, Joseph Uduho, Martin Majier etc the voice of agitations grew louder and wider, and their numbers swelled.

It was these internal contradictions and political turmoil within the SPLM/A that Dr. Lam Akol, Dr. Riek Machar and Gordon Koang Chol tapped into to plot the August 28, 1991 Nasir coup against Dr. John Garang’s leadership. The Nasir Declaration, as the coup came to be known, was a brainchild of Dr. Lam Akol as the original idea and the meticulous plan of the coup were his makings. The coup makers declared that they have deposed Dr. John Garang because of his oppressive and dictatorial leadership and they called for the renewal and democratization within the Movement. The coup failed to dislodge Dr. Garang from SPLM leadership and instead, unfortunately, degenerated into a tribal war pitting Dinka versus Nuer. The Movement was divided into SPLM-Torit under Dr. Garang and SPLM-Nasir under Dr. Machar.

But no sooner had the trio launched SPLM-Nasir than the same internal contradictions that bedeviled SPLM/A caught up with them. In the corridors of Nairobi and Military bases in South Sudan, rumors started leaking out that Dr. Lam Akol, John Luk and John Kulang were planning a coup against Dr. Machar, the leader of the SPLM-United. Dr. Lam too was accused of fostering collaboration with the Khartoum government while Dr. Lam charged Dr. Machar of failed leadership characterized by dictatorship, perpetual indecisiveness and tactlessness.

The climax of these political intrigues was the dismissal of Dr. Lam by Dr. Machar on February 14, 1994 accusing him of being the “architect of collaboration” with the enemy among other charges. Legend has it that, after summarily discharging Dr. Lam, Dr. Riek is reported to have boastfully said that he could sack Dr. Lam without any political consequences because Chollo is a just but a small tribe.

While it could have been possible that Dr. Lam, being an ambitious politician, might have been unhappy with Dr. Riek Leadership of alleged indecisiveness and ethnic nationalism, it is inconceivable to comprehend how Dr. Lam could have successfully carried out the coup against him given the fact that most of the armed forces of the SPLM-Nasir were ethnically Nuer. Besides, all these talks about the alleged coup were done in the heart of Nairobi, Kenya: how could you possibly stage a military takeover in a foreign land? As for his alleged collaboration with the enemy, Dr. Lam famously opined: “who could be more royal in the king’s court than the king himself!” in reference to how Dr. Machar (the king) was more involved than him (a mere servant in the king’s court) in the alleged collaboration with the Arabs.

After his disgraceful firing from SPLM-United that he had founded, Dr. Lam joined forces with Arok Thon Arok, Peter Sule, James Gatduel and Cdr James Othow Along to launch a rejuvenated SPLM-United (after Dr. Riek renamed his faction as SSIM/A) on September 17, 1994 with Dr. Lam as the Chairman, Arok Thon as 1st vice chairman and Peter Sule as 2nd vice chairman. However, it was not long before Dr. Lam found out that the original evils he had been accusing Dr. Garang and Dr. Machar of would catch up with him once he assumed the throne. No sooner was the party formed than it disintegrated. Arok Thon, the vice chairman, resigned in April 1995, and by November 10, 1995, Cdr James Othow defected to the Khartoum government.

With no option left for him to maneuver, and cognizance of the fact that Dr. Machar, his 1991 coup mate, having already surrendered to the Arabs through Khartoum Agreement of April 17, 1997, Dr. Lam signed a political treaty—Fashoda Peace Agreement—with the Arabs in 1997. Soon afterward, he was appointed by the NCP as a Minister of Transport (1998-2002). However, Dr. Lam dramatically resigned from the NCP in 2002 and joined Justice Party, a then newly formed opposition party in the north.

In October 2003, Dr. Lam re-defected to the SPLM/A that he had left in 1991. With the advent of the CPA and the formation of GoSS, Dr. Garang appointed Dr. Lam as the Administrative Supervisor of Western Bahr El Ghazal State in 2005 (July-August). When SPLM/A joined the Government of National Unity (GoNU) in Khartoum in 2005, Dr. Lam was given the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on SPLM ticket. He held that position till 2007 when he was dismissed by VP Salva Kiir after SPLM/A began boycotting the GoNU because of, among other things, Dr. Lam. The SPLM/A accused Dr. Lam of betraying their policies and for supporting the NCP position in the government, especially after the ICC indictment of President Bashir. In spite of the accusations and his subsequent dismissal from the GoNU, Dr. Lam credited himself of being the only Southern Minister to have posted and employed as many Southerners in GoNU as was stipulated by the CPA.

Dr. Lam broke away from the SPLM for the second time and formed his own party—the SPLM-DC, on June 6, 2009. He mounted a spirited campaign and contested the 2009 South Sudan presidential election against Salva Kiir Mayardit of SPLM. When the official results were released, however, Dr. Lam cried foul after he was defeated accusing SPLM/A of vote rigging and political intimidation. The SPLM responded by banning SPLM-DC from South Sudan and commenced harassing its members, accusing them of sponsoring militia activities and collaborating with the North. Fearing for his dear life, Dr. Lam took up residence in Khartoum from where he launched a sustained counter-propaganda war against the SPLM/A under Salva Kiir.

Either because of political intimidation or physical harassment or political prostitution, the SPLM-DC started experiencing mass defections of it top members. Accusing Dr. Lam of dictatorship and corruption, Engineer Charles Kisanga, the SPLM-DC’s deputy chairman and former secretary general, led a mass, much-publicized defection to the SPLM on July 18, 2010. According to his account, he was accompanied by more than 80 senior members of the party who were bitterly dissatisfied with Dr. Lam’s leadership.

As if that was not enough, the SPLM-DC’s secretariat was again rocked by fresh wave of mass resignations in September 2011, when Sandra Bona Malwal, Yien Thiang Luony and Deng Bior left the party for SPLM. They were received with much fanfare and highly exaggerated TV publicity stunt predestined to humiliate the SPLM-DC as well as to score political points. The political taunting and the bickering animosity between the two sister parties took a life of its own and journey on till September 29, 2011.

Meeting with President Salva Kiir in Nairobi, Kenya

But that sustained rhetorical animosity between the two antagonizing parties thawed up late last month, September 29, 2011, when South Sudan president, Salva kiir, invited and had a successful meeting with Dr. Lam in Nairobi Kenya. Though his security was not guaranteed as he might have preferred, the meeting, nevertheless, opened a rare door of opportunity that saw Dr. Lam’s eventual return to Juba last Sunday, October 2nd, 2011.

Most observers were surprised by the September 29 meeting between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Lam for none of them saw it coming. Despite rampant cases of corruption and general mismanagement of the government of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, as an individual, is known for his humility, cool-headedness and persistence.

His sudden political outreach to Dr. Lam, his erstwhile sworn political nemesis, might have been informed by the need to bring about political unity and peace in the country which has been lately hit by waves of unprecedented tribal clashes and militia activities. Whether or not Dr. Lam’s present in Juba would mitigate the worsening situation remain to be seen in the next few days, months and years.

Dr. Lam’s Political Prospects in the New Country

Now that Dr. Lam is in Juba, South Sudan, what is next for him? What are his political prospects in the new nation—his chances of re-packaging and re-branding himself to achieve the highest office of the land? In short, will Dr. Lam ever become the president of the Republic of South Sudan?

First and foremost, Dr. Lam is a bright, highly educated, cunning and shrewd politician. This is the very reason why Dr. Garang made him the SPLM’s Director of the Office of Coordination and External Relations—equivalent to Foreign affairs ministry, just within months after he joined the Movement in 1986. Dr. Machar was the first to join the Movement—in 1984, yet he didn’t get the position. Any political opponent of Dr. Lam—President Kiir included—would ignore this fact at his/her own peril.

The second, and the most important, source of Dr. Lam’s political strength lie in the fact that there are great numbers of people who are chronically anti-SPLM/A and anti-Dinka, for one reason or the other. For these groups of South Sudanese, Dr. Lam leadership and political ambition present a definitive crystallization of their hatred for the two entities. To them, it won’t matter what Dr. Lam is or is not, provided that he gives them a political platform to vent their anger against and opposition to their perceived enemy—the Dinka controlled SPLM/A which has become Arab II to them. Dr. Lam will count on the support of these groups, come rain come sunshine.

However, Dr. Lam confronts more formidable challenges than favors in his ancient quest for presidency. His critics, of which he is blessed with many in South Sudan, are quick to point out that his educational prowess and political shrewdness were tested but never realized when Dr. Lam was the head of his own party—the SPLM-United. He was accused of the same dictatorship, corruptions and nepotism that he was fond of condemning Dr. Garang and Dr. Machar. Moreover, in spite of his sharp mind, critics argue that Dr. Lam was a poor military strategist when he was posted to the frontlines. He was almost captured by the Arabs when he was a zonal commander. Contrast that with Dr. Machar who, it is said, almost captured the current president of Sudan, Omar Bashir.

The other debilitating political baggage Dr. Lam carries is his controversial past. It is not a secret that most South Sudanese, were an opinion poll to be conducted today, mainly view Dr. Lam as a sell-out, a betrayer and a collaborator. This view stemmed from the fact that Dr. Lam was the architect of the 1991 coup against the SPLM’s leadership which many blame for the political and military setbacks that SPLM/A suffered at the hands of the NIF/NCP of President Bashir. Most South Sudanese still recalled that the Khartoum Government soldiers that re-captured Bor, Kapeota and Torit, among other SPLM-control garrisons, left from Malakal, under the nose of the SPLM-Nasir who did nothing to intercept them.

Whether or not this is an accurate opinion of the facts as they are in themselves does not matter as much as the perception people have already formed about him. Politics is usually more about pre-conceived perceptions, not facts; and there lie the downfall of Dr. Lam. It will take lot of effort and time to undo the damage, if ever it will be feasible.

The most challenging obstacle Dr. Lam will face, however, is the manifested tribalization of politics in South Sudan. Presently as South Sudanese wait for the next presidential election, Dr. Lam will have to contend with President Salva Kiir who is from the Dinka tribe, the most populous ethnic community in South Sudan. Being from a smaller tribe, Dr. Lam chances of ever defeating President Kiir are minimal. And if Dr. Machar would still run as President Kiir’s running mate, then Dr. Lam chances are further reduce to nil, just like in the last presidential election in which President Kiir won with a landslide.

Even in case Dr. Machar were to part ways with President Kiir, there is no day that he (Dr. Machar) would support Dr. Lam’s presidency because he is himself waiting to take over the leadership after President Kiir. In other words, Dr. Lam cannot win a free and fair presidential election in a highly tribalized country as South Sudan whether or not President Kiir and VP Dr. Machar run together as a team or separately as opponents. It is just that, no way around it unless we banish tribalism amidst us, which is highly improbable in this generation.

Besides, much of the support that SPLM-DC enjoys today, as I pointed out earlier, is mainly from those who are either anti-Dinka, Anti-SPLM/A or both. Most of these people would likely wind up decamping to Dr. Machar side if the contest is between Dr. Lam and Dr. Machar, assuming that Presdient Kiir retired peacefully and handed over SPLM leadership to his vice president, who is also his vice chairman in the SPLM’s hierarchy.


Dr. Lam’s political return to South Sudan and into South Sudan political participation is long overdue. SPLM-DC is the official opposition party in the country. Although South Sudan has array of other political parties, it is only SPLM-DC which has members in the South Sudan legislative assembly. The rest, as of now, are just but briefcase parties.

A leader of such influential party can’t be sidelined in South Sudanese politics without undermining the rule of law and the healthy growth of democracy. Both the law—the interim constitution, and the principle of democracy demand the present of an effective and vibrant opposition party in the country. Presently, SPLM-DC is the only viable party to execute that national duty.

Dr. Lam, his failings aside, is the head of this opposition party and his present in the country is mandatory if South Sudan is to be taken as a truly democratic country. Therefore, Patriotic South Sudanese must all shun willful political witch-hunting like the recent call to investigate him over his alleged links to militia group which are merely based on flimsy ground.

Give the man a chance—space and time—to prove himself right or wrong. Who knows, he might prove you wrong or right. Only time will tell!!

You can reach PaanLuel Wël at (email address), PaanLuel Wel (Facebook page), PaanLuelWel2011 (Twitter account) or through this blog.