Statement on the claims of the Minister of Information on the Prevention of the Delegation of the Political Parties from Travelling to Addis Ababa.
- The Government of the Republic of South Sudan did not prevent Dr Lam Akol from travelling to Addis Ababa;
- Dr Lam Akol was not able to travel because he holds a diplomatic passport and “did not carry out the required procedures for those who hold diplomatic passports”. That is, getting prior approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
- “if he [Dr Lam Akol] wants to roam the world without permission, he should get himself an ordinary passport”;
- There is no relationship between the failure of Dr Lam Akol to travel and what took place in the Political Parties Leadership Forum.
In response to these claims, we say the following:
- For the information of the Minister, Dr Lam Akol does not hold a diplomatic passport. He holds an ordinary passport, so is the case with the four other members in the delegation of the political parties who were prevented from travelling to Addis Ababa on Saturday the 13th instant. Dr Lam Akol used the same ordinary passport when he travelled to Addis Ababa before to take part in the last round of talks. It appears the Minister of Information is the last to be informed. The Minister should check this information with the Immigration Department in the Ministry of Interior.
- According to the statement of the Minister, any person holding an ordinary passport does not need permission from anybody to travel out of the country. This indeed is the norm all over the world and is provided for in Article 27(2) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011. The question that poses itself is: Why did the government prevent Dr Lam Akol from travelling when he holds an ordinary passport?
It is our hope that that the Minster is sincere in what he said that the government did not stop Dr Lam Akol from travelling to take part in the Peace Talks in Addis Ababa and that what took place is an unintended mistake from the Immigration officer at the airport. If that be the case, then the concerned authorities in the state should address those affected by the prevention and assure them that they are free to travel.
Mahjoub Biel Turuk,