Contributor's Dak Buoth


By Dak Buoth,

South Sudan Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Economy is booming(Photo: file)
South Sudan Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Economy is booming(Photo: file)

March 24th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) —– The above mentioned senior fellow is the current Minister of the lucrative Petroleum portfolio in the SPLM regime, under the renegade President, Salva Kiir whose ouster from Power is imminent and inevitable in as far as the downtrodden and patriots of South Sudan are concern; unless or until he unconditionally accept the peace accord dubbed (ARCISS), and subsequently ask for forgiveness from the masses who have suffered in silence for so long.

As you can see and hear for those who have ears and eyes, the ordinary South Sudanese are very bitter with the way their country is run undemocratically, and without accountability and development plans or vision and so on and so forth. The so-called leaders of South Sudan are running the country like hungry Hyenas that are only interested in grappling to grab and bite from one another without caring for the impoverished populace who are now languishing in abject poverty in various UN protection camps in the country.

The SPLM leadership’s wrangles and dictatorship bred this dependence among our civil population. This refugee life is uncalled for. We don’t like it at all. Today many children and mothers are sleeping with their bellies empty because they have been forced out from their homes. They have been denied a chance to work and cultivate food for themselves. In short, they are encouraging poverty.

Truth be told, that we have no hope for the better future under the current inept leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit. The people of South Sudan have given up in SPLM, party and its bigwigs. What we are doing at the moment is to alert and inform our compatriots to prepared for the worse as President SalvaKiir and his few surrogates continue to maintained their iron hold on power.

The slogan is: Down, down SPLM/SPLA that has killed peoples’ sister, brother, mother and father. I have always said that this is a bubble political party that is big for nothing.

Look at the hells where South Sudanese are frying like charcoals on our land and on our borders. This SPLM party has done more bad than goods. We cursed it and its demise is on sight. They had forced our civil population to shelter in camps and swarms where their inherent Rights are frequently abused on broad day light.

Quite frankly, it is this SPLM’s persistent dog-fighting since 1980s that has brought us to this ‘‘dog life.’’ The People of South Sudan do not deserve this enormous suffering and humiliation in our independent country of South Sudan.

Gladly, there are thousands compatriots who are trying as much as possible to put the last nail on its coffin. They must go now. Soon after, we shall converge in our villages to form a big peasant party that would foster our aspirations for democracy, rule of law and social justice.

The response to take a stand on the foregoing is awesome and awakening. The citizenry at all levels of our society have resolved and agreed unanimously not to throw in the towel in this clamor to rescue South Sudan from the York of SPLM regime.

The revolutionaries’ voices I am hearing on the ground are echoing that they will soldier on. They are fully convinced that people united can never be defeated. The amalgamation of various opposition armed groups is breath of fresh air. We are happy to see our revolutionary coming together to fast-ract the change we want.

On 23rd march 2018, immediate former chief of staff, General Paul Malong Awan made a bold and weighty statement in Nairobi that ‘‘President Kiir must go now’’ failure to which the country of South Sudan will never have peace and that the refugees will not return soon or later, as opposed to what Lul Gatkuoth said in the Hard Talk.

Malong’s statement is nothing but the truth. His comment is not just a hot air or empty talk. I saw a smoke in it, and like they say ‘‘there is no smoke without fire. His radical call for President Kiir to go now is another big thing in the warehouse that I would not want to make forecast on at this point in time. Upon reading his statement on Radio Tamazuj website, while attending seminar organized by ‘Defy Hate now’ at Hurlingham, Nairobi, I then felt excited for our past efforts to have him release from house arrest has not turn futile.

I am happy that he has now begun treading in the revolutionary path. I see that very, very soon, we might hear more moves in the right direction.

However, as for the biblical Thomases who are doubting and posting desperate questions, asking when will that liberation come to fruition, they should know or bear in minds that, the course of liberation is systematic, and scientific in the sense that, it is a painful journey that have numerous stages and processes.

In other words, national struggle is a marathon that takes one down to the dark tunnel of death; and only the die-hard, certified and selfless liberators can withstand the heat and pressure that come with it. Liberation struggle is not something you start in the morning and harvest in the evening, no. It is an uphill task and not a walk in the park.

The course of liberation is slow but sure. And it is not the March and match for the light-hearted men who have uncontrollably lust for money and wealth.

It is to be recalled that many men had attempted to join the armed struggle in 2014, but they soon bolted out of the struggle after realizing that the road was too untidy and bumpy.

They later went back to Kiir on their knees under pretext that they are supporting an elusive national dialogue and Peace agreement which succumbed on 9th July 2016.

If South Sudan was another country where there are systems that works, of course, we would have no problem arguing and fighting with our minds. Obviously, we would have used the formal and recommended platforms that are provided for in the constitution to seek redress and justice, but in absence of the constitution and rule of law, there is nothing else we can do now other than arming ourselves with stones and guns that we have at our disposals.The South Sudanese who are longing for a change are hereby urged to be patience enough; and to keep naked eye on every development on the ground. The writings are on the wall.

Back to the main topic; sorry for taking you guys in zigzag lines. I was just setting the stage. I just want to assure those who are poking holes on peoples’ commitment and zeal to restore peace and stability in our motherland.

Prior to his controversial appointment to this Petroleum Ministry by the benevolent Autocrat, Taban Deng Gai, following the brutal purge of then first Vice President Riek Machar in 2016, Mr. Lul Gatkuoth was one of the former political detainees, who were arrested in the wake of the crisis on 15th December, 2013. Through the effort of IGAD leaders, the SPLM political detainees were released and brought to Nairobi on request of his Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta who host for one and half year. While in Nairobi, Lul later Gatkuoth left and abandoned his comrades.

He then traveled to Ethiopia and join the main armed opposition group SPLM-IO led by Dr. Riek Machar who is currently behind bars in South Africa.

It goes without saying that Gatkuoth was one of those who demanded the opening of the political space in South Sudan way back in 2013 before this crisis unfolded.

He was the former Southern Sudan Ambassador to the United States before Southern Sudan became the 193th member of the United Nations General Assembly on 9th July 2011.

Indeed, he was privilege to have witnessed the hoisting of South Sudan national flag at United Nations General Assembly in New York City on the aforesaid date. As a blessed son of south Sudan, he is expected to tread and speak carefully to avoid annoying the gods of the land who grants him the favors to hoist our flag in the United Nations as our head of mission then. Ambassador Lul is a guy who has been around for sometimes now. He is not a greenhorn politician; and so whatever he does or didn’t do is intentional. He has some liberation credentials, but his consistency and commitment is in doubt. Up to now, we don’t know whether he join politics for the sake of the people or himself.

On cultural aspect, Mr. Lul is not an ‘adult boy’ like Riek Machar, Taban Gai, Dak Buoth and the likes. Physically, he is qualified South Sudanese. He is considered to be (wut Pany) matured man in Nuer community by virtue of the fact that he as six Nuer scarification marks (gaar) on his forehead. Even his lower teeth (nyeem) had also been removed in accordance with our common Nilotic culture. He actually has the characteristic traits of a South Sudanese. He had undergone all stages required for boy child to be called a man in Nuer community and South Sudanese at large.

As somebody who had passed through all these painful cultural initiations, he is expected to be shield and defender for his country day and night. According to the Nuer and South Sudanese culture, a man with scarification marks is often the last person to withdraw in the battle field.If one makes a research today, he would establish that nearly 70 percent of the foot soldiers who are on the trenches had scarification marks on their foreheads.

Nonetheless, I am not in any way saying that those who do not have scarification marks are not real men because that would be mistake for I fall in this category too. I would not want again to encourage the wrath of those who do not have the marks. I know for sure that there are many adult Boys who do not minced their words when it comes to matters affecting their community and the country at large. In fact, we are not short of adult boys in the battle fields at the moment.

Not forgetting his name, Gatkuoth, which mean the son of God in Nuer language popularly known as ‘thuoknaath’.Just like they say in English, that Photo speaks thousand words, a name mean a lot in our language, thuok naath. For instance, I learnt that late General William Nyuon Bany used to say, cha-Nyuon nijiy, meaning that he had messed up since he was in his mother’s womb. His name Nyuon stands for mess in our dialect. Thus, when he did something messy at the times, and people complain, he would tell them not to blame him; but blame his name, Nyuon.

Relatively, the name, Gatkuoth is akin to Emmanuel in the bible, which means God with us. And by virtue of him being called the son of God, religious preachers would want him to tell the truth as said in the holy Book of John 8:23-24 that tell the truth and the truth shall set us free.

In a nutshell, the point I am trying to bring to the fore is in relation to the statement he made on the on BBC focus on Africa program with veteran journalist, James Copnall on 23rd February, 2018. In that interview, popularly known as ‘hard Talk’ the latter asked him about the state of the economy in South Sudan. In his quick reply, he said and I quote ‘‘people are actually being told to come back home and they are coming. They are returning and we are stabilizing the situation of the economy; it is booming, I can actually assure you that’’.

This weird statement elicited varied of criticism on various social media platforms both locally and internationally. I recalled, one Economist in the person of Ahmed Morjan however said via ‘Eye radio’ that boom should be reflected in the livelihood of its citizens, which is not the case for South Sudan. He went on to explain that ‘‘a boom means a situation where the economy in term of production is moving forward at the expected level of the growth of the economic system’’. Ambassador Gatkuoth’s sentiment is the utmost misrepresentation of the facts we know on the ground.‘‘The latest figures from the World Bank show that South Sudan has consistently been in triple digit over the last two and half years, with its gross domestic product experiencing rate of -13.1 percent’’. Several civil society pundits argued and agreed that ‘‘these troubling economic indicators are among the worst in the world and cannot make booming economy’’.

I believe that Ambassador Gatkuoth is aware of the campaign by some UN Agencies calling for more aids in South Sudan to avert the looming famine there. Why would he lie like that?

In real sense, what he was trying to do was to create a confusion and contradiction, so that those people who are willing to offer aids can hold back what they are ready to give to the needy population in South Sudan. He just wants to send wrong message to the world, that things are okay in South Sudan while the economy has collapsed long time ago. He wants the displaced civil population to go hungry and remain weak to agitate for the change in the trouble South Sudan.

There are always two reasons for lying. One is to get favors and second is to avoid punishment. I think he lie for both reasons. He lies to live and continue getting the same benefits that is getting in the ministry of petroleum and to avoid any reprisal for telling the truth.

Nearly everyone knows for a fact that there is biting hunger in South Sudan. Personally, I do talk to my people every day on the ground, and they often told me things are tough for them. In fact those who are still sheltering in UN camps in South Sudan would wish to go outside the country if the roads are open and safe.

Fortnight ago, President Kiir has confessed and confirmed in cameras what we often said, that South Sudan is broke, and that it has now become laughing stock under his rule.

Shortly after his interview, i predicted that Gatkuoth’s utterances would have far reaching effects on them.I knew some people somewhere would be very angry to listen to untrue story of Gatkuoth at the time. I did suspect that countries like United State of America, which have spent millions of tax payers’ money to feed the displaced South Sudanese, would teach Gatkuoth and company a lesion that they won’t forget.

Unbeknown to Gatkuoth, he encouraged the wrath of those who know the exact problem on the ground. He probably thought it was going to be a business as usual.On March, 22nd, 2018, United states sanctioned his Petroleum ministry and ministry of mining plus other 15 oil entities namely Nile petroleum corporation, Dar petroleum, Sudd petroleum, Nyakek & sons Ltd, Ascom Sudd operating, Oranto Petroleum, Greater pioneer operating company, Juba Petrotect, Nile Driling and services, Safinat Group, SIPET Engineering and consultancy, Nile Delta Petroleum, and, DeitsmannNile Joint Venture company.

These are the rogue institutions which the politicians use to enrich themselves in expense of the common citizenry. They are found to be purchasing and supplying weapons to various militia groups that are often accused of gross Human Rights violations in South Sudan.

Early In February, the United States had imposed armed embargo on Juba regime, a move that was seen to have hit President Kiirin the hearts. Juba regime responded by recalling their representative in Washington; but who cares.

Couples of weeks ago, the European Union also said they would back the Arm embargo imposed by USA. The beneficiaries of Juba regime are now fidgeting uncontrollably. Early this month, they said they would join Arab league as the next option. We would wait and see if Arab countries will want to be part and parcel of our trouble once again.

As I wind up or wind down, I would like to remind Ambassador Gatkuoth, that the God of Nuer manifest itself in the surprise word of amusement known as ‘Woo’, and when people say so, God Strike straight away.

The word ‘woo’ in Nuer is believed to be associated with the curse. It’s like people have washed themselves from you when they say so. When Nuer man said or did the unimaginable and unthinkable act and people failed to find words to describe it, they would just resorted to say ‘woo’, which indicate that it’s extremely bad and unexpected from maturely person.

I am afraid that if Ambassador, Gatkuoth continue to speak dishonestly in manner that appeared to be mocking the citizenry who are going without food, people may response by saying woo, God forbid.

Those who are privy to the going zones in South Sudan would recall that in 2014, the former Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Marial Bil appeared on the same BBC, Hard Talk interview with Steven Sucker. He was asked to confirm whether the Nuer people were massacred in Juba by government forces? He blatantly denied it, saying only a few Nuer were killed in the cross fire. According to the international crisis group, over 30, 000 innocent Nuers were killed in the short period between 16, 17 and 18th December 2013.

At another point, the Marial again made outrageous remark saying that our People of Abyie, whose blood poured on our land during the struggle for independent are not South Sudanese.

His sentiment angered President Kiir whom he was trying to safe from the jaw of President Omar El Bashir at the time. Few days after he made that statement, his Boss Kiir relieved him by decree without citing any reason. He was thrown to the cold, and people moved on. I must say that we are indebted to the people of Abyei, and we have debt with them. The South Sudan independence will not be complete until or until the land of the Dinka Ngok became part and parcel of South Sudan.

Before then, many youth view Marial as their role model, but they later became aghast and disgust when he began making these utterances devoid of any substance. I do not remember the last time I heard about Marial. We don’t know his where about. At one point, it was rumored that he was seen at Nairobi hospital. Perhaps, his haunting sentiments are causing him more depression, and to me, the cure is none other than honest apology which is the case for Gatkuoth Lul. I would like to end with the quote from Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adiche, who said and I quote, ‘‘we should have a certain kind of honesty and not sugar coat. As readers, we should also know a writer’s stand on issues’’

The Writer is the co-convener of the Senior Youth of South Sudan (SEYOSS)

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