Minutes of H.E Dr. Riek Machar Speech at Minnesota State University on Saturday
March 3, 2012 By Lul Gatkuoth Gatluak March 5, 2012
Pardon please for any error you may come across or for missing some of the main
points, if there is any. It is unedited note; due to the fact that I am very
occupy by other commitments.
Following the end of the South Sudanese youth event at the Minnesota State
University in Mankato, which Dr. Riek himself attended, South Sudanese event
goers, channel their attention and reallocate themselves to the Hall the vice
president of the Republic of South Sudan government Dr. Riek Machar has
scheduled to address the audience, in order to highlight some of the disturbing
issues currently facing the new nation. About 4:35 PM, Dr. Riek accompanied by
his wife Becky Marchar and the delegates who came with him from South Sudan
entered the meeting hall. As soon as they entered, the audience raise and Dr.
Riek asks them to be seated.Â After sitting down, Lero Odolo, the chairperson
of the SPLM chapter in Minnesota raised and calls upon Daniel Gatluak to come
and bless the gathering. After Daniel, Gatwech Ring took the podium and
introduces South Sudanese student union chairperson Mr. Bol Ring who is
Gatwech’s youngest brother. Bol thanks the
University faculty members for allowing both events of south Sudanese youth
tournament and vice president briefing occasion to occur in their institution.
Bol also thanks fellow students comprise with Tot Lul, who he said is a
math tutor to many south Sudanese students at the Universityâ??, his deputy
Bandak and their advisor Lero Odol. In a period that looks like five minutes,
young Bol hand the Microphone to Nyamal Dei and Beyan Gonowolo, a fellow
student from Liberia to entertain the audience. After their entertainment,
Nyamal direct few words to South Sudanese elders, urging them to support and be
there for their youngsters whenever youth involve in activities such as the
Saturday tournament in MSU. Â In her own words, she said, â??You know, youth
are the future of any nation, when your children do something, tries to witness
what they are doing.â?? Then, the two start to play both national anthems of
the United States and South Sudan. In a
short while, Bol reentered the podium and offer an apology, regretting that,
South Sudan National anthem must have to be sung again by South Sudanese
children who had practiced the song for a week.â?? Young children whose ages
seem to be raging from seven to ten resung the song. After the children exit
the stage, Gatluak Puoch pick up the microphone and introduce Lero Odolo to
come to podium again. Lero thank the University for willing to allow both
gatherings take place and thank God for coinciding the coming of the Vice
President of the Republic of South Sudan with youth
event; and asserted
when elders are with children, children do not waste time.
finishing, Lero introduce Thabor Ding who subsequently introduce Thomas Ladu
Gubek, the vice chairperson of the SPLM-USA secretariats. Here is Mr. Gubek:
Firstly, let me thanks the youth of South Sudan for the gathering, and
secondly, it is an honor to stand before you this evening
to introduce our Vice President a man who hold the same positions as I am here
in the United States. Dr. Riek was the head of the task force in South Sudan,
and I happen to be the head of the task-force here in U.S. He is a Vice
chairperson of the SPLM Party in South Sudan and I am a Vice chairperson of the
SPLM Party here in the United States. We have something in common. Dr. Riek is
a very nice simple person, whenever you are with him, you feel bless. He is a
man who laughs a lot and likes to talk with anybody. He will talk to you about
all challenges facing our young nation today; top of which are the disarmament,
oil closure and national reconciliation between ethnic groups of the South
Sudan; lady and gentlemen, please joint me in welcoming His Excellency Dr. Riek
Machar Teny! Applause.
Dr. Riek: I would like to thank Thomas Ladu Gubek for the nice introduction. I
will talk about five points, some of them already been highlighted by Ladu
Gubek. I just came from South Sudan and people of South Sudan are faced with a
lot of challenges and full with expectations. Since the signing of the Peace,
we had able to establish a system of the governance with three branches: the
executive, Legislative and Judiciary. The same structure also applies to ten
State governments. How can we build this new nation? Building it require all of
us especially those of you in the Diaspora in the United States, Canada,
Australia, Europe and many other countries. We expect you to come back home
with all the skills you have acquired in these developed countries. I believe
all of you are going to schools and learning different skills, which will be
useful in South Sudan. If you are one of the people who went to school, come
back home, we will employ you and help us
developing our country. I know all of you are doing something magnificent here
in America a land of opportunities where dreams are realize. If you dream, make
use of these opportunities and invest back home; we will be very happy to help
Three days ago, Gatluak ask me to come and address people, I was so happy when
I heard that youth are coming here. I have decided to come to address you. As I
watch you while ago, I saw many of you who should make us proud back home.
Sport entirely, is very important and Basketball in particular was in many of
you interest. It is a sport late Manute Bol and many other South Sudanese
played here in States. I would like to encourage you to participate in all
sports so that next time, south Sudanese-Americans will be seen competing in
In South Sudan, we watch CNN news media a lot. Few months ago, a Chinese and
Taiwanese Basketball player by the name Lin, start playing in New York; as soon
as he start playing, all news medias were on him and begin to over use his
name, everywhere in the news, you hear people saying, Lin, Lin, Lin?all
the time even English vocabulary similar to his name are being studied. He is
making his native Chinese and Taiwanese proud. Do the same here so that we’ll
be proud of you back home! Applause
I have come to the stage where I will be talking about the disarmament. Few
months ago, you may have seen me with 12,000.00 Lou Nuer Youth in Murle land.
While I was there encouraging the youth to leave, some of you here in North
America were calling Lou Nuer youth to keep fighting and destroy Murle land in
totality. Some of you are even supporting those who are rebelling against South
Sudan government, things that you should not be doing. During the war era,
cattle rustling had increased. Young men made it a trend to loot othersâ??
cattle. Now, it has come back and we have seen cattle rustling as a major
problem. At the moment, our President Salva Kiir Mayardit is in Jonglie State
to declare disarmament, which will start this month. We will carry out
disarmament starting in Jonglie, which is the biggest State in the entire South
Sudan and proceed to other States.Â Few months ago, after hearing of the
drawing near of disarmament launching, people began
to call me a lot claiming that, let the disarmament start in Murle
land some say, let it start in Lou Nuer or Dinkas lands.
in the government, have planed that, the disarmament will take place at the
same time in those places. It is a peaceful disarmament, which will be led by
the Police, follows by the army, in order if police need assistance. This is
something we are going to do together; take your phone, and call your brothers
in South Sudan, tell them that disarmament is on the way and tell them to lay
down their guns.
We need to disarm everybody so that we will enjoy peaceful living. If we keep
having insecurity, all the opportunities we are seeking will be delayed, and
people who want to help us will be afraid of going to places, where there is
risk. Yesterday, I went to Mayo Clinic and meet Dr. John who is with us here
this evening. I learn from him that last month, their administrative personnel
were contacted by Western Equatoria Governor, inviting Mayo Clinic to come and
help people of his State. These are good things that come when people live
peacefully, let me assure you that, those who have money are cowards, they do
not go in risk places where there is violent. If we keep having insecurity, we
will not have a good prosperous South Sudan and South Sudanese aspirations will
not be met. Yesterday when I was at the Mayo, I met two South Sudanese-Magok
Alim and one of his friend working at Mayo, these individuals would be good
connection between us and Mayo
Clinic, anywhere you work, if you are honest and being respected in your work
place, you should be used by such a business to carry their business to us back
home, but this could only happen through your honesty if you are being trusted
by that institution.
This brought me to talk about national healing process through reconciliation.
We are having differences within us. During the revolution struggle, we wronged
each other; our movement was divided, in that regard, we need to have
reconciliation between one another. You in the Diaspora are expected to
recognize yourself as Sudanese specifically south Sudanese. Instead of
practicing unity among yourselves, you are creating differences. We know your
differences through your writings in the internet. You are only ones who use
internet the most because your compatriots at home are not having access to the
internet as you do here, please remorse from all unnecessary debates, our
enemies are getting their information from the internet, leave writing hate
messages aside and seek unity among yourselves.
Â While ago, I had a conversation with Ladu Gubek; where he was telling me
about the SPLM-USA Secretariats, I ask him about the functioning of the SPLM
Secretariats in the United States. He told me we are wanted to bring South
Sudanese together, I suggested that, you should form South Sudanese communities
so that one or two in a year, you should call events where you can interact
with one another and have a sense of knowing each other; similar to what I and
many others had done in our days in school. I went to school in leer and later
Atar which is a Shiluk land in primary years. After that, I went to Juba
secondary school before I end up at Khartoum University, all those years, we
from different ethnic groups were together and start learning each other
languages, some of us end up spoke more than three or four languages.
Â During the war, some South Sudanese migrated to North Sudan, instead of
making use of the opportunities available for them, they choose not to learn
and majority of them right now do not have valuable skills. They are not like
you here, we have known some of you who came from villages and had able to earn
PHDS. We expect all of you to succeed. These are the good things of the Unite
Let me come to the last topic which is economy. You may have heard that, we
have closed down oil pipeline heading toward north Sudan. The reason behind the
closure simply is that, our brothers in the north are cheating us. This
pipeline was built with South Sudan resources and the process of transit fees
that are being paid by South Sudan government to north lead us to stop the oil
flow. North Sudan charged us 36 US dollars per a barrel. It is one third of the
price of the barrel. Before we could come to conclusion of closing the oil, we
sought mediation, where African Union representatives convene a reconciliatory
meeting in Addis Ababa Ethiopia; we couldnâ??t agree because our partners
didnâ??t want to reverse the charges. The situation led us to even study some
of the countries whose oils are running from or through other neighboring
countries. Some of the good examples are Chad, which is being charged with half
a dollar and Russian that charge only
one dollar per barrels. The fact that we couldnâ??t come to agreement with
them even though we approach them to reduce the charges, leads us also to seek
different avenues. Now we are opted to channel pipelines, one will be dug
through Ethiopia heading to the coast of Djibouti. This will pump the oil we
have in Upper-Nile State. The second pipeline will run through Kenya mainly to
the coast of Lamu and pump the oil we have in Bentiu. We are determining to
over come all challenges that are facing us as a new nation today. We hope in
ten years period, we will be able to develop South Sudan to the stage where it
will catch up some developing countries. I believe in 2013-14, we will defeat
insecurity, invite international partners to invest and change the life of our
people, that could make it for today, and now I would like to answer any
question you might have. Applause!
Seven questions are asked. However, you may see only six Questions below,
itâ??s because question number 5 was asked by two people.
1, what will be the reward when you finish the disarmament?
2, What should be done to tackle tribalism issue in the South?
3,People of Lamu are refusing access of the pipeline through their route and
what are you going to do about Somali Piracy and Al Shabab terror group in
4, Akobo was an Anuak land now occupied by Nuer, what are you doing to ensure
that those whose land was taken are returning back to their original homes?
5, Can students in South Sudan be allowed to come and study here in MSU? This
was asked by two people, Bol and one of instructor.
6, James Goaner Chol, how are you going to disarm army officers who had
defected to their trible villages?
Dr. Riek responses
I do not know what the questioner meant by the reward after disarmament, let me
read his mind; our live will be secured and services will be delivered, but if
you are talking about financial reward, no, we are not going to do that.
That what I told you with National recouncilation, we need to reconcile with
one another so that our aspirations are realized and met.
We will work with the government of Kenya to provide protection to the pipeline.
In 1980s many people including Anyuak were displaced in their original homes.
Now we are working on keeping the peace, and when peaceful coexistence has
beenÂ realized, those who left their territories will start going back to live
there. I know some Anuak villages are up to now empty and Lou is afraid of
occupying them since they know for sure that these villages are not belonging
Student exchange is very difficult. It would be too expensive for us to send
students to study oversea. I would only say, educate the one you have here,
some of them will choose to go back and the rest will remain here; and there
will be those who will choose to travel back and forth since they are having
privileges of dual citizenship.
We will do all it takes to disarm every individuals who carry their weapon
legally. However, we are not against gun ownership. If people wish to own guns,
let them come to purchase licenses from the government. They will be allowed to
own them under certain rules.Â Disarmament will make us secure and grant
chiefs and local administrators respect. When I came to Lou area after 2006
disarmament, chiefs and local administrators told me that when youth start
listening to them. After the youth rearmed themselves, refuse listening to
The above is the note I was taking while viewing the gathering. It didn’t
cover all the main points speakers had said. It is also is a rough draft that
is not edited due to other engagements. I hope you as a reader will pardon me
with lack of organization and construction of all passages. It is better to
record or jot down something for future review since human mind is limited of
carrying large amount of day to day activities. I hope you will find some times
to read this note, individuals feel better when they learn that what they have
written is being read somewhere. May God bless our leaders for trying their
very best of making South Sudan a peaceful place to live?
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