Ex-Machar aide “undecided” on politics, says he plans to visit family in Sweden

Ex-Machar spokesman James Gatdet Dak speaking to SSBC following a meeting with FVP Taban Deng Gai in Juba last year (File/Supplied/Nyamilepdia)

March 21st 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – The former Press Secretary of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) leader, Dr. Riek Machar, said on Thursday that he is still undecided on ‘what to do’ in politics following his release from jail.

James Gatdet Dak, who served as Machar’s spokesman until November 2016 told the Nyamilepedia on Thursday that he prioritizes visiting his family in Sweden and would then – at a later time – decide on role he would pursue in politics.

“My priority now is to see my family in Sweden. What to do in politics will be decided thereafter,” Gatdet told the Nyamilepedia.

He said that preparations are under way for him to visit his family in Sweden pointing out that he has applied for a visa and that he is “still waiting for [a] reply from [the] Swedish migration agency.”

A right-hand man for opposition leader Machar, Gatdet, was arrested in November 2016 in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by members of Kenya’s security who later on decided to hand him over to their South Sudanese counterparts who afterwards forcefully decided to deport him to Juba.

He later appeared in a Juba court in 2017 to face charges that included treason, disseminating false information to the detriment of South Sudanese national security and insulting the president all of which violates article 64, 75 and 76, respectively, of the South Sudan penal code of 2008.

In early 2018, Gatdet was sentenced to death by hanging for violating article 65. He was also sentenced to 20 years for violating article 75 and was already served a year for violating article 76.

Following the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in 2018, Gatdet was granted an amnesty by President Salva Kiir who apparently did it as a good gesture for peace in the presence of opposition leader Machar who was then in Juba to attend a peace celebration organized by his government.

He was released on November 2nd, 2018, exactly two years following his arrest in Nairobi on November 2nd 2016.