March 6, 2021(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan has lost yet another veteran politician, the former minister of higher education, Joseph Ukel Abango who passed on at the age of 82 on Friday in Juba.
The sad news was broken by a senior government official who did not disclose the cause of the death.
“This is to confirm that former minister of general education Joseph Ukel Obango has passed on in Juba this afternoon. I have just been informed and I don’t know the cause of his death,” one senior government official said.
His family also confirmed the sad news in a short statement seen by Nyamilepedia.
“Rest in peace, uncle, you’re a hero and freedom fighter who undoubtedly contributed to the liberation struggle during the country’s years of liberation struggle for independence,” said James Ukel Abang.
LuoLife Bahr El Ghazal, a company linked to her daughter also released a statement of the passing on the opposition leader.
“With great sadness, we announce the loss of our beloved father, Mr Joseph Ukel Abango. He passed away today 5/3/2021 in Juba the capital city of South Sudan,” one family member wrote.
“He is the father of Luo Life founder and CEO Madam Julia Joseph Ukel. We have lost a great leader. On behalf of Luo Life, I extend my deep sympathy and condolences to the family of Mr Joseph Ukel and Luo community at large,” he added.
About late Joseph Ukel
Joseph Ukel was born in January 1939 in Achot, a village close to the town of Wau in Western Bahr el Ghazal. He attended the catholic Elementary School between 1950 and 1954 in Mbili, southeast of Wau and attended the government-run Intermediate School in the Equatorian town of Maridi, where he graduated in 1958.
In Maridi, Ukel became a teacher after completing a training course at the government-run Institute of Education between 1959 and 1962, and also started his first teaching-post in the Equatorian town of Kapoeta.
As Anyanya rebellion became rampant in Equatoria, he moved to northern Sudan where he continued teaching in the Gezira region and later joined the University of Khartoum where he received his Bachelor of Arts in English in 1972. From 1975 he furthered his studies at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom and received a postgraduate diploma in teaching English as a foreign language.
Ukel taught English in various schools including Rumbek Secondary and Mbili Girls Secondary School, where he held a post of deputy headmaster and headmaster, respectively.
From 1978, Ukel joined politics, contested and won his home constituency of Wau East in the elections to the Second People’s Regional Assembly in Juba.
Since 1980, he held several government positions that include the regional Minister of Culture and Information(1980-1985) in Gaafar Nimeyri’s regime, minister of local government in the final coalition government of prime-minister Sadiq al Mahdi (25 April – 30 June 1989), Minister of Parliamentary Affairs in the Government of National Unity(2005-2010) and Minister of General Education of GOSS and South Sudan (2011-2013).
Ukel has been an active elder in South Sudan politics. He has been part of the government delegation to peace talks in Addis Ababa since 2014 and became one of the six signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) representing the Umbrella Coalition of Political Parties, the landmark peace agreement that is currently dragging on.
He was appointed to the steering committee of the National Dialogue in 2017 but later walked out and resigned in February 2019 after he was denied a chance to address the National Dialogue Conference in his home town of Wau, Western Bhar el Ghazal .
He was later accused and arrested on allegations that he was supporting the SPLM/A-IO rebels for which he was put under house arrest by the National Security Service in Juba from August 2019 to October 2019. Following his released in mid October that year he fled to Khartoum to “seek medical treatment” ..
He passed on at the age of 82 year old!