Monday, April 14, 2008

Today is Dr Akol; Does Anybody Know Who Might be Next?

Dr Lam Akol's vehicle came under fire from unknown gunmen who shot at the vehicle and instantly killed three people who apparently were Dr Akol's staff in his own vehicle. This incident took place during an SPLM Upper Nile State convention on March 22nd, 2008.

Incidents such as this cannot go without opponents capitalizing on them and friends crying foul. It is not long since Dr Akol was fought tooth and nail by the SPLM leadership and its supporters. It is only human that those who are pro Dr Akol would have to cry foul and point fingers at the SPLM for being behind the attack. The pro SPLM, however, would be quick to judge the situation in order to clear SPLM's name of any wrong doing.

The Deputy Secretary-General of the SPLM in the South, Dr Anne Itto, in a press briefing said SPLM Secretary-General, Pagan Amum was not involved in the alleged assassination plot against former Foreign Minister, Dr Lam Akol Ajawin, that left three people dead in Upper Nile State. She said the incident along Panika road, 15 miles from Malakal, was carried out by cattle rustlers, (Sudan Tribune Newspaper, March 30th, 2006, p.1).

This concern was also echoed by the SPLM peaceful march held in Malakal town. The march which held sometime in March 2008 dismissed the allegations that SPLM was behind the assassination attempt, (The Citizen, April 3rd, 2008, p.2).

A supporter of Dr Akol, a Juba University Student, Julia S. Othow, did not hind her true feelings on what she analyzed as a person. She said, Mr. Editor, let me air (out) my views on Anne's Statement: We thank God for the statement of Anne Itto which made us know the hidden plot against Dr Lam. She said that despite SPLM's none condemnation of the assassination attempt, it is clear to her that SPLM office has shown up the filthy deeds against the democratic transformation and unity amongst Southerners.

All the three reactions are indeed wrong. Dr Anne Itto did not carry any investigations and she was already holding some imaginary cattle rustlers responsibility. What Dr Itto could have done was to condemn the incident first and then urge the SPLM leadership to carry out an independent investigation into the incident. But trying to clear the name of H.E. Pagan Amum from involvement in the assassination attempt raises eyebrows. Cattle rustlers do not rustle vehicles, they do cows and anybody coming between them and the cows would obviously be killed. Dr Akol's staff were certainly not chasing cows by their vehicle.

Those who were marching in support of the SPLM in March should have realised that Dr Akol is an SPLM unless there is a plot to expel him from the party like it was the case with Brig. Aleu Ayieny and Telar Deng. For the marchers to uphold the unity of SPLM members in the State, they should have called for investigation into the assassination attempt.

Julia Othow, meanwhile, asked valuable questions like, who mandated Dr Anne Itto to talk on the incident at a time SPLM leadership did not condemn the act? But she, too, did draw some conclusion like "We thank God for the statement of Anne Itto which made us know the hidden plot against Dr Lam."

For SPLM/A to clear its name from being marred by speculations, it is extremely important to investigate the assassination attempt of Dr Akol. It's an important exercise for the State and the country at large. If the investigations find that there are criminals involved, then it's a menace that has to be dealt with before our country becomes infested with terrorists. Should the investigations also find that Dr Akol's opponents within the SPLM/A are behind this, they have to be brought to books in order to face the law. No one is above the law – this should be the motto of SPLM if it is serious about democratic transformation in the country at large. Today is Dr Akol; does anybody know who might be next?

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