Revitalising the Incentive Debate: A Cordial Note to Nephew David Mayen Dengdit

Posted: May 19, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Arop Madut-Arop, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

Revitalisation of President’s Incentive Remark Debate: A Note to Nephew David Mayen Dengdit

By Hon Arop Madut Arop, Oxford, UK

Arop Madut Arop

Hon Arop Madut Arop is the current MP for Abyei in Juba and author of three classic books, namely: Sudan Painful Road to Peace, a full story of the founding and development of SPLM/SPLA (2006); The Genesis of political consciousness in South Sudan (2012), and The Ngok Dinka of Abyei in Historical Perspective (2018).

Saturday, 19 May 2018 (PW) — Before I respond to the comments made by my dear nephew Hon David Mayen Dengdit, on my article, I would like to thank him first for his well thought comments on my article. Secondly, I am sorry to state that the sub-article intended as food for thought was supposed to be a separate well intentioned article from an experienced elder who has had experiences for decades to younger generations, if only they were eager to learn more. The sub article should have therefore been treated as a separate article and hopefully, would have not been taken out of context.

As an educationist, my intention has all along been that I should share my experiences with the youths by way of educating them. But as education is believed to be a slow process, I am also aware that it will take time before our youths can appreciate the knowledge given to them by their experienced elders. At this juncture, I am reminded of my previous studies of pedagogy the science of teaching which is explained here below.

Experienced has shown that when a trained teacher enters the classroom, he immediately sees, in front of him, five categories of students he has to prepare for life. Category one is composed of trouble-shooters who would obstruct whatever a teacher would want to teach; giving a lesson (ten per cent). Category number two is composed of obstinate lot who will cost the teacher much time and energies to bring them on line with his colleagues in the classroom and to convince them to cooperate (ten per cent). The third category of students consists of opportunists who would cooperate if they are praised and given full marks in the exams.

But if at one point in time they get lower marks, they abandon the teacher and along with him the subject he teaches (10 per cent). The fourth category is composed of idealist students, who are ever too happy to be in the classroom, ready to learn; understand faster and cooperate to the full (ten per cent). The four categories mention above according to the science of teaching, constitute forty per cent of the students in the classroom. The remaining 60 per cent in the classroom are pigs-like lot, who do not care whether there are lessons, no lesson, have good teachers or no teachers at all and who are ever happy when told that they are being sent homes on long vacation.

As it is in the classroom, these categories are also found in everyday life in the community as well as in politics. This explains why I always like to educate the youths even long after I left the teaching profession. The question which begs clear answer is that; do these categories really exist in politics? The answer is yes. In our current context the first and the second categories quoted above: the obstinate and trouble-shooters of politicians may be found among our stakeholders who are trying to reach some compromise in Addis Ababa and may bring peace back to their country by the Will of Alah. Experience has shown that the first two categories of politicians like in the classroom will not think of the voters but the power they wield or muster regardless to how they will come by it.

In our present context, if there exist the two categories of politicians in our mid, they will not cooperate and accept compromises even if the revitalisation meeting was being held in Heaven under the auspices of Archangel Gabriel as the chief Mediator and with the Lucifer hanging around expecting to gain from the spoils. It is in this regard that, I wrote in my previous piece as food for thought to our youths who are expected to be the leaders of the tomorrow peace time prosperous South Sudan. The youths have been and will continue to be used by politician as fodders to feed their egoism. In this context during the on-going conflict they have been and still are the victims as they are also vulnerable for trauma bred by the conflict.

It was in this regard that I keep on reminding our people when I have the opportunity to write a piece that our country has gone through untold sufferings and upheavals to extent that many of us particularly those who were born and raised during these turbulent times, have been traumatised to extent that they give themselves no time to digest any well intentioned statement or word of wisdom given to them. Further, while I was writing my last piece titled the President’s Incentive remark Debate and the use the English Language, I was very aware of Kiir phobia and frustration which has led many people to believe that, it is only one person called Salva Kiir who is to blame for the mess in our country. They therefore would want us to respond either in support of the president or against him calling him as unpatriotic. Very un fair is it n’t?

Coming to the comment of Hon David Mayen Dengdit, I would like to quote what he has said: ‘’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.’’ My answer to my nephew is that, if these words were misplaced what would you say about what one of your writers stated. ‘’President Incentive Remark and Useful Idiots of South Sudan? Is this not abusive language which is never acceptable by the ethics in the writing world?

As regard to Hon David Mayen Deng another statement and I quote ‘’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?…”

My honest answer to Hon David Mayen Dengdit about what a writer would like to achieve in our current situation of no peace, is that all of us elders and youths alike must use all their energies to bring pressure to bear on the warring parties to stop the war in favour of peace instead of wasting time of calling Kiir to resign which he will not do for practical reasons beyond this narrative.

Further, one can add that, to ask a leader to resign is easy said than done. Yes there are some leaders who may voluntarily resign. But majority of the leaders in the third world to the best of my knowledge will not resign if put under pressure by frustrated individuals. For those who have been made to believe that President Salva Kiir has not lived up to his commitment as an elected leader, my humble response is that the best, the cheapest and safest way which will not involve the suffering and death of thousands of the innocent citizens like what have been happen during the last five years of destructive bloody war, should accept instead the IGAD led High Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) designed time line which runs from 2018 to 2023 when elections are done democratically and the elected president assumes office by 2023.

There are genuine fears that not all those fighting against the government believe in democracy as some of them may not have electoral constituencies destroyed or are there with no voters available. This category of leaders sorry to say would only want at least to have a sweet taste of power during the transitional period. This is the group that we must guard ourselves against spoiling chances to reach amicable solution to our chronic conflict. Advisably we must adopt democratic processes and smooth peaceful transfer of power as was the case when the Zimbabwean removed from office their Father of the Nation President Robert Mugabe after 37 years of struggle against the odds.

Commenting on Hon David Mayen Dengdit assertion that we would want to contribute to achieving peace in our country as he has clear stated and I quote; ‘’we personally experienced ALL those “bitter memories and untold suffering” which our great people have gone through and are still needlessly enduring end the quote. My reaction to Hon David Mayen is that, this should indeed be the way forward and the best way to do it is not the use of abusive language in social media mad world where people do not care about the impact and the practicality of what they write.

In regard to the question he raised as to what the writer would want to achieve when writing apparently about the current war in our country, I would like to alert our youths that the fourth coming third revitalisation Forum meeting in Addis Ababa may not succeed sooner. Hence the need to urge all the youths to unite and persuade the warring parties to bring peace back to our country, because it is easy to start a war but very difficult to bring it to an end. I would further like to appeal to the youths all over South Sudan as pillars or leaders of the future peaceful South Sudan that they should joint hands together and bring pressure to bear on some of our hard line leaders, described by Hon David Mayen, the senior selfish leaders.

In conclusion I would like to state that, the year 2018, I think, will go down in history of South Sudan as a year of hope and despair. Hope because the efforts that are being exerted by international and regional community may bring pressure to bear on the warring parties to accept peace sooner than later. Despair because some of the leaders who have harden their position against the incumbent president may not readily reconcile and would not accept peace.

As efforts are currently being exerted all eyes are fixed on Addis Ababa where the warring parties are struggling to reach a compromise that may hopefully bring peace back to our war ravaged country. Despair because the long conflict which led to the formation of this nation and the current destructive war has traumatised the entire population affected by the war to extent that what used to amuse people has become an offence and what used to be an offence has now become amusement.

Having responded to the comments made by Hon David Mayen Dengdit on my article about the controversial remark made by our president during the funeral of late Chief of Defence, I would like to share one of my previous experiences when I was the Press Secretary to President Joseph Lagu when he became the president of the High Executive Council in 1978 (Southern Sudan regional government) as food for thought.


Following his election as the regional president of Southern Sudan in 1978, I had the honour to have been appointed the press secretary. Late Ambassador Wol Dhal Wol was also appointed the Secretary General of the regional government. For the next two years we became General Lagu committed and trusted team.

But in 1980, through blackmail from national security that his government was an Anya Nya administration that may work to resume the war brought to a halt in 1972 after the signing of the defunct Addis Ababa Accord, General Joseph Lagu made a fateful reshuffle in which he dismissed those who brought him to power during the 1977/1978 elections. In his place he brought pro north supporters as ministers into his new cabinet. That was the last straw that broke the back of Lagu’s camel and which would make him loose power forever.

Following the reshuffle, his former supporters in the Regional Assembly turned against him and threatened to impeach him on accusation that his wife had diverted a sum of money (2.5 million Dollars) donated by the Emir of Kuwait when he visited Southern Sudan previously. During the debate in the regional assembly Ambassador Ambrose Wol told me that as trusted civil servants we should not be involved in the impeachment attempt by disclosing to the members of the regional assembly what we knew about the issue at stake.

When Lagu responded and dismissed the Assembly and selected his own team to manage the assembly and apparently because he mistakenly thought that the two of us did not join him during the impeachment attempt, President Joseph Lagu dismissed the two of us without disclosing about our crime.

As I was very close to President Joseph Lagu and knew something about the 2.5 million US Dollar saga, Ambassador Ambrose Wol correctly assumed that I may have been speculating as young inexperienced person then, that I might retaliate and reveal the issue that led to President Lagu impeachment attempt. Pre-empting my action late Ambassador Woldit told me not to do so and gave me a Dinka proverb that states that ‘’when you are leaving the old house for a new accommodation for any reason, do not defecate in it, because condition may force you back to it and you will have the burden to clean it up’’.

When I asked him what the Dinka wise saying indicated? Woldit stated; ‘’we were appointed as civil servants under oath not to release secret of the president even long after we are removed. Because he adds, it was through trust that we were appointed by the president. And if we disclosed some of his secrets in retaliation against what he has done against us, that will be the end of us as civil servants, adding that nobody will trust us in the future as we will be considered as unreliable and untrustworthy people. That was it. The message was clear and convincing. Since then I promised never to be involved in the disclosure of secret dealings of the persons I serve or closely related to.

Hon Arop Madut Arop, currently an MP for Abyei at SSLA and an international media consultant, holds a Diploma in Socialist journalism – International institute of journalism (East Berlin); Advanced Diploma in Liberal Journalism International Institute of Media Studies (West Berlin) and Masters of Arts Degree in International Journalism (City University of London). He is the author of three classic books: Sudan Painful Road to Peace, a full story of the founding and development of SPLM/SPLA (2006); The Genesis of political consciousness in South Sudan (2012), and The Ngok Dinka of Abyei in Historical Perspective (2018). He is also author of a number of unpublished books. He can be reached at

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