Opinion: Vice chancellor of Juba University wants to be president of South Sudan for three days

By Wilson Augustino Joseph

University of Juba newly constructed gate (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

January 6th 2020 (Nyamilepedia) First and foremost, University of Juba is a premier institution of higher learning in the Republic of South Sudan and was established in 1975 to train human resources for developmental needs of the then Southern Sudan after the signing of the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement in 1972. As known by many South Sudanese, teaching started in October 1977

Secondly John Apuruot Akec is a 12th Vice Chancellor of the University of Juba and a third South Sudanese to have led the Univesity of Juba after prof. Sibrino Farajalla and Prof. Abate. For your information, Dr. John Akec was employed at the University of Juba around 1990s precisely 1989 and spent two years as Teaching Assistant at the University of Juba. He went to United Kingdom immediately where he pursued his further studies. After completing his doctor of philosophy at Birmingham University, he briefly got employed at the factory at UK. In UK, Dr. Akec never worked at any institution of learning in UK and we who were with him in UK were left wondering how he became the Vice Chancellor of University of Northern Barh el Gazaal then without experience in the higher education sector and/or holding any leadership role. By the Virtue of his PhD, he qualified as Assistant professor who cannot make him to lead the Academic Institution.

The same person he wants his job gave him honorary professorship. According to the circular we received around February 2019, Dr. Akec was promoted to Associate Professor Position on meritorious ground because he could not make it through academic achievements especially in the area of research. Since his graduation of PhD, he published only one journal paper. All the noise on his name that people see on social media are just opinion pieces that we who are in academic business regarded as opinions that have zero value on academic work. So he is now where he is because of President Kiir otherwise he would have not made it yet he is loathing president and mocking him that he can do what the president failed to do in 16 years in three days.

It is important to bring to the attention of South Sudanese and South Sudan in general that Dr. John Akec who wants president Kiir job was a critic of South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). He had written extensively bad about Dr. John Garang and entire leadership of the SPLM/A. We sometime found him at Juba Grand after his Gym and at Juba Regency talking bad about Tutkew and his Nuers but he is one of them. If SPLM/A was a party that keeps records of who did what during the liberation struggle and caused for South Sudanese freedom, Dr. Akec would have not been given that plum position leave alone having him mocking the President of the Republic of South Sudan. Together with Dr. John Garang, President Salva Kiir Mayardit that John Akec loathed and belittled as he has done nothing was one of the core pillars of SPLM. Without his sacrifice, Akec would still continue working in the manufacturing factory. For sure, President Salva Kiir has some shortcomings like other leaders in the world but he does not deserve mockery from some of his appointees like John Akec. President Kiir does not need to be call idiot Kiir by John Akec as he did recently when he was trying to organise industrial action by the staff due to delay of staff salaries. You will find John Akec at University of Juba Bergen Guest called those of Tutkew idiots and Michael Makuei a mad man.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is important to give due credit to someone where he has done well and that mean Dr. John Akec has done well on the side of academic stability. The University has been running since he assumed office and much of the credit goes to President Kiir whom he loathed most of the time in private and wants his job because the president has been supporting higher education in term of improving their salaries twice. South Sudan Parliament also deserve the credit for increasing the salaries of academic staff in 2015.

Nerveless, there are so much to be desire in the area of academic progress at the University of Juba during Dr. Akec tenure at the University of Juba. University of Juba is a public University whose admission is done through the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. The University administration is allowed to admit 25% of public admission as private admissions. On the contrary, the opposite happen and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology and South Sudan Parliament have lost control over John Akec when coming to admission and academic programme at the University of Juba. Now the University of Juba is a private University by nature of admission. As of now there over 10,000 private students without admission from the Ministry. Because of this unnecessary and reckless admission, the classes are overflowing with students population that is not supposed to be in those classes. A man adored in town by ignorant population charges students to pay extras for examinations, practicals, Students Union, library, practicals but no services provided except examinations. There is no discontinue of students who are not qualified to be at the University. Students are overcrowding in Colleges of Law and Medicine. Just imagine students who are constantly failing being graduated as doctors that will treat you and your relatives. Is this what the president of the country supposed to be doing?

Most of the South Sudanese would agree with me that the integrity of the University is in its academic programmes, conducts and implementation. Interestingly, the University of Juba has no formal examinations systems. There is widespread cheating of examinations especially at the Diploma levels, colleges of Engineering and Architecture and Natural Resources and Environmental Studies. It is very clear that some staff of College of Engineering and Natural Resources are selling examinations to students and John Akec is paying a deaf ears to this issue – Is this why Dr. John Akec wants president Kiir position so that everybody in the country can engage in dishonest practice. My fellow South Sudanese, it is important to bring to your attention that the results for Diploma and undergraduate are regularly changed in the system during the processing of Examination results. Many complains have been raised but Dr. John Akec is brushing them aside because he has been ordering some schools to do so. One noticeable examples is the recent incident at the School of Engineering and architecture, where Head Department of Architecture was ordered to change the marks and allow students to graduate yet they have not sat for their supplementary examinations. When the Head of Department resist the order by Dr. Akec, he was relieved from his Head of Department duties and someone from Nilepet was appointed. To prove to you that the academic programmes are full of flaws, the University of Juba has been offering two masters of Business Administration at the School of Management Sciences and Public Services. This issue has been raised several times by then Director of School of Management Science Dr. Michael Laurence but he was threatened with sacking until when someone was brave to raise it in the Senate. It is this time when John Akec pretended to have known the issue given that he signs the certificates of boss schools.

If it is not South Sudan, Dr. Akec would have been arrested by letting President of the Republic graduating students who have not completed their academic studies and/or most of the graduates would have been removed from the list. During the last graduation ceremonies, about 340 supposedly graduates have not completed their academic programmes. If it is not South Sudan they would have not graduated. Most of them have their supplementary examinations. Example of coercing the staff was that of the Principal of Graduate College who he threaten to include the list of Masters students who did not meet the requirements to be graduates – ladies and gentlemen, is this why John Akec wants to be president so he can do a lots of illegal things?

It is important to note that the University of Juba faces tremendous challenges in form of lecture halls, laboratories, workshops, libraries, office spaces, students and staff accommodation. During Prof. Abate tenure as the Vice Chancellor, the Administration has turned some of the student hostels on the Main Campus on Atalabara Campus as administration blocks for some of the schools. Nerveless, still teaching spaces remain the biggest challenge. The only school that has its own space and infrastructure is the College of Law thanks to UNDP and Government of Norway for the funding. The Norwegian government also funded the construction of Red bricks and laboratories at the Customs Campus. In addition, STEM Centre was also built recently and this was work of Prof Abate and completed during Dr. John Akec period.

During the entire period of Dr. John Akec, new Western Gate was constructed and this is own signature infrastructure at the University of Juba. It is important to bring to your attention that the toilets at the College of Engineering and Architecture were renovated and transformed to be School of Architecture by the Eritrea businessman through his own money. Thanks to Makiir Gai Thiep for donating five million South Sudanese Pounds for partitioning the hall in Custom Campus to be two classrooms for the first year and Diploma students. Recently, the University Administration has embarked on the renovation of the existing lecture halls and laboratories. With the little resource the University is collecting from students’ tuition, the administration is now renovating Samani Hall. The renovation is going to cost the university about three hundred and seventy thousand United States Dollars (USD 370,000) according onsite Engineer estimates.

Prioritisation of work is very important and must be linked to the problems that are on campus that needs to be solved. Thus, it is important to bring to the attention of the University community (students, staff, parents and community) that the current work on the University compound is good but solving nothing but public relation for Dr. John Akec. The lecture halls are in serious need of renovation, laboratories for Engineering and Chemistry were put on hold for the compound work to be completed. Why should laboratories and lecture halls not put as priority. The environment of the University is always good for learning but at least the lecture halls and laboratories should have been renovated first. Worse of all, the laboratories are being beautifully painted outside but the inside as shown by the following pictures demonstrated serious need. You will see from his Facebook posts that students are calling him all sorts of good names which is the purpose of doing the work on the compound.

What students do not know is that the current work is a scam of taking money by Dr. John Akec through the Eritrean guy. The current work on the University compound will cost the University USD 670,000. This amount is enough to renovate all the lecture halls, laboratories and even erecting building. This is a research by the Eritrean Engineer and there are no legal documents signed. The legal advisor and procurement are not involved in the process of this work. This person work only with John Akec and Akec is using the poor Eritrea man to construct his two houses – one in Jebel and another one in Mai 107. The Engineer just take all the materials to those locations and billed the University and Akec is determined to have his two houses completed using the University money before the end of his term – so this is why John Akec wants Kiir job so he can do anything without due consideration to the law and enrich himself with public money. You will find him bragging about corruption of other government officials pretending to be good guy yet he is one of the most corrupt individuals in South Sudan. Now, the VC is not telling the University where the money will be found but I do hear at the corridors of Ministry of Petroleum and Nile Pet that Mayen Wol Jong has made commitment with his friend John Akec to pay for it and John Akec will illegally take the money from University account in the name of pavement – Is that what president Kiir is doing? Alternatively, is that a presidential material in him to be doing thing illegally without due respect? How are you going to be different with the government you despised every day? In J1, there are public toilets leave alone those one for staff, but there are no toilets at the University. Toilets should have been the priority than the compound that is causing no problem – is that how president Kiir is thinking? Students are urinating outside the compound and female and disable students are the worst affecting. Just imagine your pregnant wife coming to University and no toilets? And Akec is bragging and loathing president Kiir for not doing enough yet he has not done toilets on compound for 7 seven years of his leadership.

It is not secret that John Akec does not want to work with Nuer and Shilluk. He always reject applications from these communities. His problem with Prof. Bol Deng and Prof. Adwok cause the whole Shilluk community dearly in term of employment at the University of Juba. The way he treated Dr. Othow Onak who was a Dean of College of Computer and Information Technology is very bad and a testimony of his sectarian work. That is the reason Dr. Kimo Aban does not want to come to take up the position of DVC for Academic Affairs because he does not want to be humiliated like Prof. Alfred Lekuji. Dr. Akec has three professors mainly from Equatoria who are doing his dirty job – in conducting a sham investigation and always recommend dismissal of staff most notably Dr. Kimo Aban and now Dr. Ting Mayai. Dr. James Okuk has applied several times to teach at the University but Akec rejected him on the basis of him being from Prof. Adwok and Prof. Bol Deng tribe – is this rejection of some tribes to be employed at some government institutions what Kiir is not doing and Prof. John Akec can do it in three days?

In 2015/2016, the Vice Chancellor killed the University of Juba Association through coercion, intimidation and arrest of the staff. After destroying the Staff Association, he had turned to JUSU. Now, he wants to keep it out of the agenda so that the students will not have a voice during the next year fee increment. Last year, the University of Juba hiked tuition fee 100 fold with some hidden costs not known by the public. The President ordered the fee to remain as it was but the Vice Chancellor made it clear that he was going to resign and let the president come and run the University if it is not going to be messy like the country he mismanaged. Students were very nervous and voluntarily accepted to pay half of the proposed tuition fee.

You will find Dr. John Akec talking of how government officials are using public money for their benefits. You should now know that the reason why he wants to be president of the country is to enrich himself with nation resources. Thanks God to one of the accountants who had given us access some records showing how much is paid to feed him and his closest friends who are now occupying the University Bergen Guest House. This Accountant who once gave us information about administration dealing with colleges students associations during the students showdown with administration at the time of tuition fee increment gave us documents that showed that SSP 580,000 is being paid to Bergen Guest house monthly as feeding allowance. SSP 80,000 is being paid to three handpicked bodyguards of Dr. John Akec. Dr. Akec spend about 8 working days in office per a calendar month because he is constantly travelling. 90% of his travels are funded by the University and you can go and verify by yourself in Finance. Some of these travels should be for junior staff especially Deans and he cannot allow anyone. His Deputy has never travelled for one single occasion since their appointments while Dr. Akec has travelled for about 39 times in 2018. Is President Kiir travelling? We can see him delegating his vices to New York, China, Japan etc.

In summary, University of Juba is a public university established by Act of parliament in 1975. The admission to the University is administered by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. After the admission process is completed, the University is given right to admitted 25% of the total students admitted by the MOEST. On the contrary, the University is doing the opposite, the current students population of the University of Juba is 70% private. It is important to bring to the attention of the students, parents and government that these students have not been issued with the student national numbers from the MOEST and this is going to be a serious problem come the time of graduation/authentication of their documents. The VC has made it clear that he will train them and it will be up to the Ministry to issue them with numbers or students will go and sort it out on their own with the Ministry – is this one of the reason John Akec wants president Kiir’s job for three days to fix his mess? John Akec on one occasion made a statement to some of his closes friends/relatives at Juba Grand after his gym session that he has no respect to the MOEST since it is being run by rebels (Nuer and Shilluk) – he did not spot me as a staff member of the University, thus, was just talking.

The writer is a staff member of the University of Juba, he can be reached via wanilado2019@gmail.com

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