Dear David Mayen Dengdit: A Final Note to Put the Incentive Remark to Rest

Posted: June 14, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Arop Madut-Arop, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Hon Arop Madut Arop, Juba, South Sudan

President Kiir and Ambassador Nikki Halley

Thursday, June 14, 2018 (PW) — Dear David Mayen, I write in reply to your kind letter dated May 21st 2018, the day on which I arrived in Juba. I would have responded immediately, unfortunately I could not do so due to lack of Internet access in our Capital. It was only a week ago that I managed to have access to internet service in one of the Hotels. It was then that I came across your last kind comments on the incentive debate. But before we conclude our public debate as you have suggested it, I would like, if you could allow me, to make few comments.

Frankly, I quite agree with you that throughout your childhood to adolescent life, you were a very humble and indeed the most respectful child in the family. For instance, whenever your late father had mutual chats with visitors, I can recall seeing you beside him listening attentively and would only smile with no comment. This led me to ask your dad what he made of such a humble and soft spoken child who would only smile on the topic being discussed by elders. Your late dad told me that ‘’this boy, David, will one day be full of surprises.

The first surprise was that after more than twenty years of absence, when one morning, I saw you sitting next to The Right Hon Speaker James Wani Igga, during the assembly debate, in the place of the Assembly official legal counsel. When we later met in the Lobby of the Assembly you told me that you had completed your legal studies and was being considered for employment at the legal department in the assembly.

The second surprise was how you later managed to win Dr James Wani Igga confidence to have appointed you in his office as the press officer. The third surprise was when Dr Igga announced publicly during the celebrations marking his award of a PhD degree, when he said in Juba Arabic, and I quote ‘’without the assistance of my young friend and assistant David Mayen, I would have not obtained my Nyungur  PhD bi tayi da’’.

The fourth surprise was your abrupt resignation from the office of an individual who has taken you into his full confidence as a role model. As it is said that nobody is born knowledgeable, I had thought that you were at the epicentre of all national events where you would have obtained huge experiences that could have prepared you effectively for future national politics.

The fifth surprise was your article about James Gatdet currently in custody pending pardon or approval for execution (God forbid) from H E the President of the Republic. This last surprise was expressed in a letter titled ‘’Let This Tree Grow’’. Taking the last surprise, I had mistakenly assumed that you had resigned from your office in order to campaign publicly for the release of your great friend.

As regards to my response to your rhetorical questions in which you demanded sincere answers from me and I quote hereunder ‘I would like to publicly ask Uncle Aropdit these rhetorical questions reproduced here below:

What would be the appropriate cultural response to an elder who stole a goat or cassava during times of starvation?  What of an elder who orchestrated mass killings and raping of women and children in neighbouring villages as the price for maintaining his chieftaincy?

What of an elder who went crazy and callously set all houses in the village ablaze while other elders, women and children were inside sleeping, trusting him with the responsibility to protect them all? What of a father whose starving children found him eating at a restaurant?

Do we call such elders patriotic, just because of their past involvement in village warfare? Is that past individual involvement in warfare a blank license to do all those evil deeds against his village?’’ My honest response to your well designed and apparently well intended, rhetoric questions I consider them as hypothetic in nature and require hypothetic answers. Hence I find it difficult to answer them.

Coming to our unfortunate discussion on the President’s Incentive debate and the use of the English language, I do comprehend adequately, why you reacted in the way you did as the quotation from you was selected purposely to demonstrate that you were the only person among the writers quoted, who I thought, had better understood the president incentive remark. For easy reference I do hereby reproduce it verbatim. It reads. ‘’The fourth writer, Mr David Mayen Dengdit, who may have better understood President Kiir remark to mean encouragement, motive or stimulate him to relinquish power, has this to say about the president’s incentive remark … The Text.

“The question that pops into our minds would be: can a lucrative exit package be an acceptable incentive? What of an internationally and continentally brokered guarantee of temporary exile (only during the interim period), head of state level covered expenses, and no prosecution agreement?’’ …. ‘’My motive behind writing this notes is not cynical by any means. I am my own master of my conscience.  My motive is to draw the attention of President Kiir Mayardit, who I would want to be proud of as a citizen of South Sudan, to the fact that: aside from the presidency there are many other incentives that have made other African presidents quit’’ ends quote.

However, as you have decided to march through politics of a conflict-prone-country, whose people are still living in a primordial era, it would be helpful, if not advisable, for you to watch at every step you take in all your efforts in your desired mission to contribute for the reshaping of South Sudan; a big task. At this juncture I would like to say few words of reminder about how your late beloved father, Hon Donato Deng Mayen who was a long-time political activist, since his school days. He later became a lead member of the Southern Front Party.

Throughout his political career your late beloved father Hon Donato Dengdit was never involved in unsophisticated politics against Khartoum repressive regimes. As one of the editors of the Southern Front Mouth Piece, The Vigilant Newspaper, Hon Dengdit writings were often constructive and educative, regardless. Some of Dengdit critical writings, I can recall, against the repressive Khartoum regimes, were well balanced and researched series of articles, under the title of THE POLITICS BETWEEN THE BEGUILED AND THE BEGUILERS.

 Finally, as you have stated that we put our debate by default to rest, I do honestly and sincerely agree with your proposition because, it will take us nowhere. Nonetheless, as a close relative and a friend and indeed an aspiring young leader in your own right, I will continue to share some of my previous experiences with you out of public glare.

May I conclude my remarks with a word of prayers, in the hope that, God will guide you through safely, so that you play your national politics objectively and constructively and hopefully, become one of the future leaders of a peaceful prosperous South Sudan.  

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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