By Dak Buoth Riek-Gaak,
July 19, 2021 — On 17th July, Liech Community Association in Kenya held a 40th Day Prayer and celebration of life and legacy in service of General Jok Gatwech Nyak under the theme: Gains of South Sudanese liberation struggles. He was one of South Sudan founding fathers born on 1st January 1947. The late freedom fighter, Lieutenant General Jok passed away in Khartoum on 6th June, 2021. Speakers who spoke at the event eulogized General Jok as an unwavering freedom fighter and leader whose services and wisdom were still needed more than ever before.
In Nilotic culture, General Jok did not die. He will live forever because he has left an industrious family and an independent and promising country of South Sudan whom he dedicated his entire life for. ‘‘He was a passionate and dedicated professional with more than 49 years of extensive experience in police services of Sudan and South Sudan.’’
General Jok lived a life worth remembering for the services he rendered to us in various administrative capacities both in Sudan and South Sudan.
BELIEFS AND POSITIONS HELD
In summary, in 2014, he was promoted to the rank of 1st lieutenant General and appointed as Inspector General of police of SPLA/SPLM-IO. In 2006, he was promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant of police in Juba. He worked as a Deputy Police commissioner in Unity State with a rank of Major General. And in 1989 to 1999, he was a Deputy Zonal Commander of Western Upper Nile where he was promoted to the rank of CDR of National Mobile force among other senior positions.
Throughout his public life, General Jok belief in ‘‘Integrity, Good leadership, Team work, good communication, interpersonal skills and commitment to accomplish task.’’
CAUSE OF DEATH
According to the General’s 4-page biography read to the audience, ‘‘He has been struggling with high blood pressure, kidney failure, and then he died of heart failure on Sunday June, 2021 at Khartoum teaching and referral hospital-sudan. He was later buried in Unity state Bentiu, Mayendit county, Rubkuay Payam.’’
Prior to the event, a host of South Sudanese church, community and political leaders were invited to the occasion held in honor of this great son of South Sudan and Liech community in particular.
In attendance were South Sudanese Tanzania based Legislators of the East Africa Legislative Assembly namely Hon Gideon Gatpan Thoar, Hon Thomas Dut Gatkek, Hon Kim Gai Ruot and former Gambella Governor, General Thowath Pal. We treated the presence of these honorable Legislators as a sign of respect to our beloved Elder and leader, late general Jok Gatwech and Liech community Association in Kenya as a whole. The prayer was presided by Nairobi’s Presbytery Pastor in-charge honorable reverend John Gatwech Turial and Catholic church Catechist, Simon Reat Mar.
Others in Attendance includes SPLM-IO student League Chairman, Gatkuoth Keah, Nuer community Chairman, Lul Kiir Deang, Panyijiar community Chairman, Odingo Kueth, Mayendit Community Chairman, Manyang Ruai, Dok community Leader, John Mading Koryom and Lou community deputy Chairman, retired Colonel William Chakuen. The event was planned and conducted on the belief that we are here as a people because of heroes like General Jok who fought relentlessly for our freedom as a country.
At the tail end of the occasion, we urged the leaders present to sponsor a football tournament in honor of General Jok which the trio accepted. The football tournament dubbed ‘General Jok Independent Cup’ is aimed at further engaging Youth in embracing the legacy of the late freedom fighter. This football tournament is expected to take place in December 2021. Further calls were made for schools to be named or renamed after General Jok in unity state and Mayendit county in Particular.
MISSING IN ACTION
The Unity state deputy Governor, Brigadier General Tor Tungwar who was expected to appear and speak as one of the main guest speakers failed to show up without giving notice after confirming his presence days earlier. He kept the audience waiting until the darkness.
Nonetheless, People read politics in his absence, with many saying perhaps he avoided the event for fear of the unknown. His absence in an occasion dedicated to honor the life and legacy of General Jok was a demeaning gesture to the late general reason being, he is now a deputy governor of Unity State, an office akin to the position whom General Jok once occupied back in the days. And moreover, he is a current Unity State SPLM-IO chairman, a party whom General Jok and others toiled to establish by sweat and gun. The question is: if these are not the reasons for his absence then why did he fail to show up in a function dedicated to honor his predecessor?
The Writer is the Chairman of Liech community Association in Kenya; the views expressed here are his own, and he can be reached for comments via firstname.lastname@example.org,
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