Highly Cited New York Times Article Gone Wrong
While South Sudanese politicians question the authenticity of the fraudulent article, critics believe that if the two ring leaders, Machar and Salva Kiir, agreed on issues of justice and reconciliation, then it would first be broadcasted by the local media and not the international media houses if it has to gain support of the South Sudanese people.
notwithstanding that the motive of such an article remains a mystery, it is questionable if the two leaders would work on such a project, which would upset the donors, at this time before they secure any funding for the new government of national unity.
According to Press Secretary of the First Vice President, James Gatdet Dak, the oped-ed article is utterly false and the New York Times must bear responsibility.
“The First Vice President and SPLM/SPLA (IO) leadership in general disown that concocted document.” Gatdet said
“Someone somewhere should voluntarily confess that he or she concocted the document and falsely put the names of the two leaders on it as co-authors.” he continued
The article, which was published without proper citations and sources, went viral in the last 24 hours preaching that the South Sudanese leaders have agreed to escape justice in pursuits of truth and reconciliation.
The article has angered many supporters of SPLM/A-IO, who seems to trust Times magazine, more than their own leader, Machar, who also believe he is a victim in his own rights.
As he constantly explains, Machar left Juba in slippers as his house came under heavy attack and force demolition that saw 34 people killed in his house on December 17, 2013. 20, 000 other victims, mostly from his Nuer tribe, are believed to have been killed within the first 3 days of the conflict.
Although no one has claimed ownership for the controversial article, the Press Secretary of President Salva Kiir, Ateny Awak Ateny, has came forward to support the document saying that it was indeed authored by Machar and Kiir.
Ateny, however, failed to justify when the two leaders met to write the long opinion article two days after their meetings at J1.
The presidency met for the last time on Friday, June 3rd, and briefed the nation on the key issues that they have settled without mentioning any new position on justice and accountability.
The Press Secretary of Dr. Machar now calls on Times to reveal the source of the “irresponsible and falsified so-called joint appeal document”.
“I hope The New York Times will reveal the source of the irresponsible and falsified so-called joint appeal document bearing the names of South Sudan’s President , H.E. Salva Kiir, and the First Vice President, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar, in an attempt to scrap justice and accountability mechanism from the August 2015 peace agreement.” Gatdet said.
Other international media houses like Guardian and Reuters also joined the bandwagon.
Human Right Watch activists also aired their disapproval saying that the two commanders in Chief are trying to evade justice because they commanded troops and directed atrocities in their young nation.
“It is obvious why these leaders want to avoid trials – they were commanders-in-chief of forces implicated in grave crimes in which thousands of people were killed and many hundreds of thousands more displaced, during the country’s bloody civil war.” Elise Kepplerm, an associate Director of International Justice Program at Human Right Watch.
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