Veteran journalist calls on President Kiir to fire spokesperson, ambassador

June 24, 2016 (JUBA) – Alfred Taban, a veteran journalist and current editor-in-chief of one of South Sudan’s leading English dailies, has called on President Salva Kiir to dismiss his press secretary, Ateny Wek Ateny, and a South Sudanese ambassador, Gordon Buay, for damaging the reputation of the presidency and the young nation at large.

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir waits for the arrival of his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, in Juba on May 23, 2013. (Photo Reuters)

Taban, the founder of the Juba Monitornewspaper, said the duo involved in fraudulence when they authored a controversial letter in the name of the presidency through the help of a foreign public relations firm and was bearing the names of both president Kiir and the country’s first vice president, Riek Machar.

He said the fake letter, which allegedly appealed to scrap establishment of a Hybrid Court in South Sudan to avoid trial of criminals responsible for crimes during the two years of the civil war, was an attempt to “steal the rights of the people.”

The veteran journalist called for the dismissal of the officials responsible for the fraudulence, adding that a legal action also needed to be taken against them.

“Ateny Wek attempted to steal the rights of the people of South Sudan, something that can easily lead to the re-emergence of war that has completely destroyed this country,” Taban wrote.

“Ateny Wek needs to be fired immediately and legal action taken against him. This letter has provoked a lot of anger amongst the South Sudanese people who are now calling for blood,” he added.

Taban also called for the dismissal of Buay from his ambassadorial position after admitting he helped push the controversial letter published by The New York Times.

“The United States has already declared that they do not want to see Buay in the United States,” Taban wrote.

“This damaging letter completely undermines the President’s authority and control over his officials and could plunge the country back to a war if not taken care of,” he said.

The fake letter, which was disowned by First Vice President, Riek Machar, caused disappointment within the Washington administration after seeing it published and allegedly called on the South Sudanese government to reign on their junior officials responsible for such unprofessional and undisciplined communication.

The New York Times also came out with a statement regretting publishing the op-ed without prior authentication from the top rival leaders and peace partners in South Sudan.

Ateny embroiled himself in another controversy in which he told the Eye Radio that Troika member states (United States, United Kingdom and Norway) have written a letter to the presidency, demanding dismissal of the finance minister and central bank’s governor.

Troika responded by saying the claim by Ateny was “false”, forcing the presidential press secretary to also attempt to deny what he earlier told Eye Radio on the letter.

However, Eye Radio responded by releasing the audio of the Monday interview it did with Ateny, which confirmed that the latter actually talked about the alleged Troika’s letter.

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