Is Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin a Victim of Own Self or a Self-Seeker Trapped in the Middle?

Dr. Lam Akol, the chairman of SPLM-DC, who serves house arrest in Juba, South Sudan(Photo: file)

Dr. Lam Akol, the chairman of SPLM-DC, who serves house arrest in Juba, South Sudan(Photo: file)

May 07, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing (Sylvia Plath)”.

Successful people believe that achieving goals is not a matter of having “self-restraint”. It’s a matter of motivating yourself, and keeping your focus on your goals. However, this article will partially (but not in-depth) highlight some of Dr. Lam Akol’s achievements and failures in politics, as well as his awaiting downfall in politics.

About three decades ago, Dr. Lam Akol joined SPLM/A as a PhD holder and one of the young politicians betting for change. One decade later Dr. Akol joined Dr. Riek Machar to team up and fight for Self-determination of South Sudan. As years went by, Dr. Lam Akol progressively showed some unusual attitude which was considered by the SPLM/A Nasir faction to be unhealthy approach. Nevertheless, Dr. Lam Ajawin’s boss saw enough of him and eventually dismissed him from Nasir faction.

After his dismissal from SPLM/A Nasir faction in 1994, Dr. Lam formed his own SPLM/A-United movement, and afterward signed what so called “the Fashoda Peace Agreement” with the government of Sudan, but parallel to Khartoum Peace Agreement signed by his former boss Dr. Riek Machar. Immediately after Pashoda Peace Agreement, Dr. Akol was appointed as a Minister of Transportation by the government of Sudan. Nevertheless, some years later Dr. Lam Akol abdicated the ruling party and became a member of opposition party known as “Justice Party”. Yet, one year later Dr. Lam Akol reunited with SPLA mainstream led by Dr. Garang. After the CPA implemented, the unity government was formed by the two warring parties, and Dr. Lam Akol was made a minister of foreign affairs. But because of his flip flopping politic, Dr. Lam Akol once again accused of working parallel to the SPLM party and ultimately dismissed from the party.

As usual business for him, Dr. Lam Akol formed his own party and named it “Sudan people liberation Movement for Democratic Change” or SPLM-DC. Soon after the party was formed, Dr. Lam Akol’s relationship with the ruling party was deteriorated and he fled to Sudan for his own dear life as the loose security agents in South Sudan does not spare a life of someone whom the president seen as a threat. While in the exile, Dr. Lam Akol had established a strong relationship with the Shilluk people including those in the SPLA army. Although in the exile, Dr. Lam was able to convince a lot of South Sudanese mostly Shilluk and Nuer to vote for him in 2010 election.

After election was allegedly rigged, a lot of South Sudanese armed forces and many militias rebelled against the government because of the say rigging. Among those rebelled were Johnson Olony and Ayouk who later became Dr. Akol’s militia and operated under him.

When the relationship between Dr. Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir has worsened in 2013, Dr. Lam who wanted to seize that opportunity after dismissal of Dr. Riek Machar had started negotiating with Salva Kiir group behind close door. After hearing the news that the President of South Sudan fired his vice and the whole cabinet, a balance of regret and responsibility motivated Dr. Akol to complete his deal with Salva Kiir and then return to South Sudan thinking that he would be a second powerful man in the country.

As a boss and person with incredible tricks of persuasion, Dr. Lam Akol was able to convince his Shilluk militia to join South Sudan army or SPLA. Dr. Akol had promised his militia that they will be integrated and promoted to highest rank in SPLA. At that juncture General Ayouk and General Johnson Olony immediately agreed and joined the SPLA. After his militia joined the SPLA, Dr. Lam Akol was lured to return to Juba. Then, the “Self-managed couple” was executed and over 20, 000 Nuer men and women were massacred innocently in less than a week. After weeks of drama in Juba, Dr. Lam Akol without sympathy wrote in his party website that “Dr. Riek would answer a lot of questions if he denies that he made a coup on December 15, 2013”.

When the peace negotiation between Dr. Riek group and Salva Kiir government had begun in Addis Ababa, Dr. Lam Akol was symbolically appointed by Kiir government to be part of the peace negotiation. However, Salva Kiir did not meant to appoint Dr. Lam Akol to be second man in his negotiation team, but he was just trying to please Dr. Akol so that his Shilluk militia would continue fight the war against the rebels. However, that plan did work well in Salva Kiir’s favour as we saw Johnson Olony took the war in his own hand which almost causes him his dear life. As the war continues, Salva Kiir dismissed Lam Akol from the team and later on put him under home arrest. What Dr. Lam did not know however, is that the Dinka king cannot be please by smooth talk and murder of Nuer civilians in Malakal by Shilluk. Jennifer Donnelly once says “most of the mess that is called history comes about because kings and presidents cannot be satisfied with a nice chicken and a good loaf of bread.”

With the relationship between Shilluk and Dinka gradually deteriorated every day and Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin is still under home arrest, one would like to ask the following questions:

  • What was Dr. Lam Akol think when he was appointed to be part of negotiation team under Salva Kiir?
  • What is Dr. Lam Akol’s political status in South Sudan as we speak?
  • Did Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin regret his decision to return to South Sudan after years of self-imposed exile?
  • Does Dr. Lam Akol still think he could one day be a leader of South Sudan?

Mahatma Gandhi once said “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed”, and this is exactly what happened to Lam Akol Ajawin.

After reviewing all these highlights about Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, this writer would like to conclude that instance of selfish behaviour has destroyed Dr. Lam Akol’s career as a politician. Consequently, Dr. Lam Akol is a victim of own self and a self-seeker trapped in the middle. First you have seen Dr. Lam has switched parties more than 4 times. Therefore, he was lured to return to Juba because he thought Dr. Riek Machar had a hand in his dismissal from the SPLM party. He believed with Dr. Riek Machar out of the system, Salva Kiir would award him to be vice president of South Sudan. Second, Dr. Lam Akol thought that the problem of Dinka is Nuer and once the Nuer tribe is wipe out, Shilluk tribe will be the second powerful tribe in South Sudan, and so he the king of Shilluk would always be made vice president by the Dinka president. Nonetheless, Dr. Lam is currently in the confinement in Juba, and his dear life still at risk

The author is a South Sudanese living in diaspora, and he can be reached @

  13 comments for “Is Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin a Victim of Own Self or a Self-Seeker Trapped in the Middle?

  1. May 8, 2015 at 1:45 am

    Who is his father? Dr.Lam Akol with his PHD still Shilluk in the end of the day,it seems there is no difference between being marriage and divorce. I am sorry to say that.


  2. May 8, 2015 at 2:23 am

    I miss my mum and i love her so much,she was not from Greater Upper Nile or Greater Equatora.


  3. May 8, 2015 at 2:32 am

    I congratulate you this time for not Joining SPLA _IO you are always a man who love himself. You were the cause for division in 1991 under Nasir faction. Why don’t you revise your party if you know that your objective of New Sudan failed?


  4. May 8, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Dr lam you are more foolish you like a fish who always take food with out knowing that there is hooks in the food .When food stake in and the owner will pull it out. .


    • Kiery Nyilek
      May 10, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Nyak Paul, let me tell you little bit who is Lam?

      Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin; An engineer and lecturer at Khartoum University. Lam was said to be a secret SPLA contact long before he fled to the South (in late 1985). Head of delegation to Nairobi peace talks 11-12/1989.
      SSIM founder. Dismissed as Secy, external Affairs, SSIM, 2/1994.

      Now if he is foolish will you not be the most foolish, because you don’t have any achievement compare to Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin or you got some thing to tell forum about yourself? If you do go ahead tell forum who is you?


  5. GatNor
    May 8, 2015 at 6:33 am

    Lam is a sitting duck for the ethnic regime. Jaang Council of Elders can do away with him anytime more effortlessly than they did to the second in command to Gen Johnson Olony. Lam I think has chosen the wrong time to end his self imposed exile as I heard.


  6. Alier
    May 8, 2015 at 7:25 am

    Gat more Gatdete yak is a loser if you didn’t realized that.


  7. May 8, 2015 at 7:36 am

    i think we junubain one day we were return to Dr Lam idea


  8. May 8, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Dr. Akol did not do anything wrong to harm South Sudanese people like President Kiir and his former vice president Dr. Riek. They are now destroying and damaging the country because of their greed for power. Can the author tell us what Dr. Lam did violently to cost damage to the nations of South Sudan, instead to shift from party to another peacefully? For your info, Johnson Onlany did not kill the Nuer civilians like your white army did to Chollo people in Makal and surrounding areas; but he was/ is fighting the opposition forces. Chollo have no intention to kill any body; however, they are trying to defend themselves from those brutally mistreating them and want to take their places by force.


  9. Wad Abuk
    May 8, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Akwot Dr Lam Akol is key masterminded for 1991 SPLM/A crisis because of his power greed he thought he will be second in command in so the called South Sudan Independence Movement SSIM that they formed 1992.
    In February 1993 some senior officers from SPLM/A mainstream under Dr Garang, defected to SSIM including Cdr. William Nyuon Bany and some officers who where released from detention among them Cdr. Kerbino Kuanyin, Cdr. Arok Thon Arok, Cdr.john Kulang Puot and Joseph Odouw the held a meeting in Kongor area which is know called Twic East County in Jonglei State. the main agenda of the meeting was a formation of hierarchy of the new movement SSIM.
    The meeting came out with the following resolution, the former seniority must be observed, according to their seniority in SPLM/A.
    the new command hierarchy came as follows:
    1. Dr Riek Machar : Chairman & Commander in Chief of SSIM
    2. Cdr. Kerbino Kuanyin : D/ C in C
    3. Joseph Odouw – special consideration (regional balance)
    4. Cdr. William Nyuon Bany
    5. Cdr. Arok Thon Arok
    6. Cdr. John Kulang Puot
    7. Dr. Lam Akol Ajawien
    The SPLA gallant forces under command of Cdr Kuol Manyang carried out a surprise attack to meeting location killed on spot a third person in command of SSIM and many sernionrs officers among them Cdr. Kuach Kang, Riek and his colleagues run to ward Waat area.
    When Dr Lam got himself at number 7 in command, he seen now difference because in SPLM/A he was number 8 in seniority and after death of Cdr. Nyachigak which was number 5, Lam utomatically became number 7 after Dr. Riek. So Lam seen it there is now deference and he is the one who initiated the theoretical coup of so called Nasir declaration in August 28, 1991 according to Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba.
    After feeling not comfortable with new command hierarchy, Dr Lam planed a conspiracy against his new boss Dr Riek that let to his dismissal from SSIM.
    Later he formed Chollo movement called SPLM United I thinks the purpose was for humanitarian objectives, I never heard any attack they carried out against Khartuom government in Chollo areas, so called SPLM/U was only present in Chollo area, till they signed Fashida Agreement, just got their humanitarian relief from Kenya and Sudan.
    History will Judge our future what so ever time goes.


  10. May 9, 2015 at 1:20 am

    You had wanted him to join the SPLM-IO, but he opted to fight a different war- a war from inside against Kiir’s regime using the tools that they invented themselves- South Sudan Laws.

    Many people not you alone, mix up things. The Shilluk took up arms because their ancestral land was grabbed and awarded to the Dinka (Pigi & other areas) by Kiir himself and this was the reason why General Johnson Olony and others fought the government.

    On the other hand, Dr. Lam Akol was unwanted by the SPLM leadership because of his frequent calls for reforms within the movement/party. And even after deserting the SPLM, they are still not happy with what he says; because democracy has never existed within the SPLM.

    Dr. Riak Machar as well suffered one time from lack of democracy within the SPLM, as Kiir and entourage could not entertain his presidential ambitions- as result he was forced to flee the country.


  11. May 9, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Wad Abuk, you could be right in your argument that Dr. Lam was the masterminded of the1991spilt. But for me, you are minimizing the role of Dr. Riek in that defection. As Edward said, the1991spilt it wasn’t about the issue of leadership, but it was about the lack of democracy in the movement.
    What we have now as an independent state is the result of the1991 defection. The SPLM/A has adopted the idea of SSIM which was the separation of South from the North.
    Everything that has bad reputation is put on Dr. Lam to look as someone who betrays his people though he is not. Did you ask yourself why Dr. Lam is feared the most then anyone else in the country by the ruling party? Believe me, this man is capable to change things in South Sudan to better, if given a chance.
    Let us be objective in our thinking if we want to realize changes in our country. It is not about your tribe or mine or any other tribes, but it is about the country called South Sudan. Do we want it to be a tribalism state as some of us are pushing towards that, or do we want it a country for all the Southerners?


    • Kiery Nyilek
      May 10, 2015 at 2:20 am

      Mr. Akwot ,
      You maybe right but southerners won’t be objectives because they struck with their tribalism they turn blind and can’t realized and differentiate false from logic, if you go back to 2010 election there were two candidates:

      one of the candidates had minefisto and programs of what he will do if he elected and that was Lam Akol Ajawin.

      Other one with no minefisto no program no agenda for his election no identification of what he will do if he elected and that was Salva Kiir Mayardit.

      Than because southerners are tribalist and most are affected by tribalism, 97% voted for man with no minefisto. The man mass up the country now then we start crying, was is not our falls? because we voted stupidly. By rejecting the right candidate with his programs?

       So southerners should not be crying for every thing got its own price, now we are paying prices of our mistake and we have to hold on to our own mistake and I hope we will learn from it.

      Next time we should not repeate that mistake, let the right man be in the right place, and that kind of change no one will make it axccept young generation if they care about the future of our country.


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