Will South Sudan Presidency Fire Ateny Wek and Co-authors of Controversial Op-Ed Article?
June 11, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– Reacting to a controversial op-ed article, published by New York Times on Wednesday, many South Sudan in Diaspora and back home are now calling on President Salva Kiir and his first deputy, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, to hold the authors of the highly cited fake article accountable for the damage they have caused to the nation.
The controversial article, which has gone viral in the last two days, has left many South Sudan and international partners very bitter and disappointed.
Although the two leaders did not author the article, the controversial press secretary of President Salva Kiir, Ateny Wek Ateny, has admitted having signed off the article but argues that he did it on behalf of both leaders with their partial consent.
“Actually, what happened is I just told them the idea in the beginning but given the busy schedules that both men have got and that I am already authorised to approve things on their behalf, I did give the New York Times the sign-off on their behalf.” Ateny Wek told Guardians UK.
In self-defence, Ateny claims that he thought it would be a good idea for South Sudan to focus on truth and reconciliation.
“Given the fragility of South Sudan, I thought that writing an opinion piece on behalf of the president and the first vice-president would help urge those who would be supportive to transitional justice in South Sudan to set up truth and reconciliation first so that the social fabric is stitched before we go for transitional justice,” he said. “The country is still fragile; the institutions are still weak.” Ateny.
According to Ateny Wek and Amb. Buay Malek, who is now in Washington, the article was written by an American PR firm as part of a contract they signed with the former government of Salva Kiir.
On his part, James Gatdet Dak, the Press Secretary of Dr. Riek Machar, has completely denied the article saying that Machar was very shock when he heard it.
“When I consulted with him after seeing the piece, he told me he was not aware of it and had not been consulted. He was surprised, very surprised. He also told me that [his party] is committed to justice and accountability, so there’s no way they would walk away from this mechanism that is stipulated in the peace agreement.” Gatdet told the Guardian UK.
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