Revitalizing the Incentive Debate: A Note to Uncle Arop Madut Arop

Posted: May 17, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan, Mayen Ayarbior

By David Mayen Dengdit, Denver, USA

Arop Madut Arop's book

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 (PW) — I would like to begin with thanking Hon (Uncle) Arop Madut Arop for his professional advice to all upcoming writers – in his May 15 article on Panluelwel, titled “The President’s Incentive Remark Debate Versus the Use of English Language in South Sudan.”

As a seasoned journalist and writer, uncle Aropdit is well known and respected. As man I consider a maternal Uncle, I have closely known him for as long as I can remember in my almost five decades of existence. As a cultured Dinka man myself, I have always respected him.

Laying the ground for his contentions, Uncle Arop Madut said that: because of their mother tongue’s influence in their English language comprehension capacity, “many people in South Sudan appear to have misinterpreted the president incentive remark to suit their own design.”

I strongly disagree with the few friends who called me and argued that uncle Arop Madut was attempting to endear himself to the unpatriotic authorities in Juba, and thereby sell cheaply the writers (including his nephew) he mentioned as “disrespectful and uncultured.” For me, I think his advice should be taken as that which is done in good faith.

Having quoted Deng Deng Akui, a certain woman whom he did not name, Sunday de John, Maliith Alier, and Mayen Dengdit (myself), uncle Arop gave us and all upcoming writers “food for thought” through the following comments.

He advised that: “it is always important to think first about the impact of what one writes on the people who are their targets and to the public in general…Writers should be reminded that, our country has gone through bitter memories and untold suffering to the extent that our historical fabric that has kept us together for centuries, has been eroded. Instead, phobia, paranoia and frustration have influenced us, to the extent that, we no longer respect our elders………In accordance to our African tradition, the youth are coached not to use abusive language in their dealing with their elders or chiefs.”

When I read that advice I personally (and surely respectfully) thought the observation that some (presumably young) writers “no longer respect our elders……coached not to use abusive language, etc.” may have been hanging and inadvertently misplaced in the bigger debate on the incentives remarks.

 Personally, I haven’t detected any disrespectful language in the writings of my colleagues who strongly disagreed with their president on his incentives remarks. Theirs may be a legitimate anger and a right bestowed upon all of us by virtue of citizenship to strongly disagree with policy makers, but not disrespect as such.

Uncle Aropdit advised us to consider the following questions. “What do I want to achieve; do I want to correct something, do I want to convey useful messages to the general public?…Because in writing there is no excuse at all [i.e. there is no slip of the tong].”

On our side (I strongly believe it to be the same for my colleagues) we want to contribute to achieving peace in our country in which we personally experienced ALL those “bitter memories and untold suffering” which our great people have gone through and are still needlessly enduring today.  We wanted to correct our president (whose past contribution we acknowledged) and give him the bigger picture of a greater good which may result from his resignation.

Contentious quotes such as the incentives remarks are useful and pertinent messages because they expose the depth of care in the hearts of some of the country’s current generation of leaders. They uncover the true reasons why schools, hospitals, roads, electricity and railways have not been provided to the people of South Sudan; and why peace to the people has not been a priority in this destructive power struggle.

Generally, it is widely acknowledged that the “what is my incentive?” remark has provoked bitter emotions in the hearts of the greater majority of South Sudanese, except those that are benefiting from President Kiir’s presidency and those that are waving their hands to be noted. These later few exceptions should be the last people to listen to if we are genuine patriots who care for fellow citizens and family members who are currently living in PoC and refugee camps.

Finally, as we remember the glorious anniversary of May 16, and the great achievement of independence it brought, we must think about the plight of those whom we “liberated.” We must not allow a handful of selfish senior citizens and elders callously destroy the values for which millions of our compatriots and family members, across multiple generations, willfully laid down their lives.

The author, David Mayen Dengdit, has a Bachelor Degree in Economics and Political Science from Kampala International University (Uganda), Masters in International Security from JKSIS-University of Denver (USA), and Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of London. He is the author of “House of War (Civil War and State Failure in Africa) 2013”. You can reach him via his email address:

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.


  1. T.Ngundeng says:

    You have the right to respond (respectful) to your uncle who critics you and other writers for no good reason but to get a job from president. He should focused about Abyei which was sold to Bashiir by the same president who is licking his shoes. He should answer why should we respect Kiir Mayardit?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s