H.E. Ambassador James Pitia Morgan
Embassy of South Sudan
Addis Ababa – Ethiopia
- I am in receipt of a copy of an official letter dated 22 May 2019, which is signed by Honourable Deng Dau Deng (MP), Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) of the Republic of South Sudan. The letter referenced RSS/MFA&IC/DM/J/G/04/19/65 is addressed to Honourable Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro, Minister of Cabinet Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan.
- I have taken the liberty of addressing this Open Letter to you primarily because the subject of the letter referred to in Para (1) above, is bearing my name. Secondly, the Deputy Minister’s letter is based on “a letter reference No. RSS/19/2019/AA dated 19th March 2019 from the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan in Addis Ababa”. Without a single doubt this earlier letter is either signed by you or on your behalf as Head of Mission of the said Embassy.
- The Deputy Minister’s letter reveals that the subject of your letter to MFAIC is an article which I wrote. It also discloses the organization I currently work for – the African Union [Commission]. The letter further alleges that MFAIC received information that “Dr. Laila is known to be a member of the rebel group under Gen. Thomas Cirillo and has been writing articles against the Government of the Republic of South Sudan.” It justifies the reason for writing officially to the Honourable Minister of Cabinet Affairs that it is because his name was mentioned in one of my articles and thus “the ministry thought it helpful to forward the documents” for his attention, “and to bring this matter to the attention of the African Union Representative in Juba.”
- It is obvious that your motive of reporting me to the Government is loaded with malice; to influence my removal from my current job. Well, unfortunately for you, this is a misfired shot; an exercise in futility! Apparently, you are ignorant of the terms of employment binding me and my present employer and each party’s contractual obligations. As a technocrat with over three decades of work experience, my recruitment into my current position was competency based, meaning I competed with others and was the best candidate. To occupy the same position for seven years and running, speaks volumes. Assuming you succeed in your contemptuous mission, I promise you that I will not roam the streets looking for a job, or turn to beg you for one.
- The article which I wrote and posted to op-ed websites titled “Open Letter to Dr. Martin Elia Lomurö, South Sudan Minister of Cabinet Affairs” is clearly addressed to an individual in my capacity as a citizen of South Sudan and I did so in my personal capacity and in exercise of my freedom of expression as enshrined in the Interim Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (2011) Article 24 (1). I criticized Dr. Elia in reference to a specific matter of contention, which I quoted in my letter. I went on to remind him of his real self as the kind of sly politicians who think they are zealously patronizing the government, not knowing they are actually denting its image.
- I am cognizant that the same Constitution of our Country stipulates that “Sovereignty is vested in the people”, implying that every citizens can question a public servant, be it in his/her own capacity, or through a representative of the people, or through legal representation. I am aware that you lived in the United States of America for a protracted period of time, as a resettled refugee, so you should have known that writing open letters, or publicly expressing opinions against government, is a common practice that goes unimpeded. A person of your status should not be reminded of this basic human and democratic right.
- The African Union as an organisation that derives its legitimacy from all citizens of Africa (not governments or individuals), guarantees this right to all its employees. The Third Aspiration of the AU Agenda 2063: “The Africa We Want” envisions “An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.” Therefore, your political witch-hunt is in contravention of this principle and to expect that the AU would go against its own principles is pitiful obliviousness, especially being the Permanent Representative of our country to the AU.
- I am made to understand that you are presently a student of the Institute of Peace and Securities Studies, which is affiliated to Addis Ababa University, pursuing a master degree in this field. This should place you in good position to study extensively the textbooks on principles of democracy, good governance, human rights and constitutional provisions on the same. Alas, you allow your political proclivity to get the best of you!
- As regards the charge that I am a member of a rebel group, it has just drawn my pity with some of you people holding high government positions. How can you simply forget that over 95 percent of senior public servants in the very government which you are serving, including your good self, were once rebels? Yet, nobody taunted you then for being rebel! I suppose you do not know that prior to January 2005 I was a card holding member of the SPLM, while actively serving as UN employee in Malawi. Had you inquired widely, you would come to know that between 1996 and 2004 I sheltered at my house and personally assisted up to thirty (30) transiting former SPLA combatants and members of their families who were in dire straits.
- Almost all of those I assisted were not from my region of Equatoria. Matter of fact all but two were Dinka of Lakes, Gogrial, Aweil and Tonj. Without mention of names, one of those former rebels presently serves at the Presidency in a prominent position and one is a Member of the Legislative Assembly who has close affinity to the President. All those compatriots still hold me and members of my family in high regards. To them I contributed more than if I had fought with a gun. It is interesting, therefore, that it appears that according to you the term “rebel” was good then and anathema today! What a travesty! This is the very reason I wrote my open letter to Dr. Martin Elia Lomurö. I reminded him that taking a political opponent as an enemy, let alone one who is your compatriot, and who fought in the same trenches as you, is alien to wisdom. Rebels or opponents of today could become friends of tomorrow. But, it appears you are using this affront to polish yourself as the “good boy”! How cheap and pathetic!
Laila B. Lokosang, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org) – 28 June 2019