By Tor Madira Machier
James Gatdet Dak Lampuar, the spokesman of Riek Machar, today wrote a piece of garbage in which the former NSS detainee lamented what he calls “Fake News.”
I am not defending the “Fake News” nor am I against James Gatdet creating a crazy Trump-like style against the media in South Sudan. I am not against Gatdet becoming another Michael Makuei Lueth at the office of the First Vice President.
I am simply saying that Gatdet should be the last person in South Sudan to talk against “Fake News” media. We all know what happened on Jul 8, 2016 and how James Gatdet Dak – who was in Nairobi at the time – covered that incident.
For the sake of reference, find what Gatdet wrote on Jul 8, 2016:
“BREAKING NEWS: Fighting erupted inside J1, President Salva Kiir’s PALACE, in the national capital Juba. The President and his commanders attempted to arrest the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny. This came after the President called for a meeting in his office with Dr. Riek Machar and Vice President [second Vice President], James Wani Igga. This turned out to be a set up to arrest and possibly harm Dr. Machar. Fortunately, Dr. Machar’s bodyguards have managed to fight vigorously and rescued Dr. Machar. He is now safe! Meanwhile, fighting has continued,” Gatdet reported from Nairobi.
As we all see, Gatdet claimed that Salva tried to arrest Riek but failed because he was rescued by his bodyguards. We thought the then First Vice President was safe in Jebel where the SPLA-IO was based, or at least been rushed to the UN House in Tongping which is the nearest safe haven for Riek to be protected.
However, to our surprise, Dr. Riek happened to be seeking safety from within the very “Salva Kiir Palace” where Gatdet claimed that Kiir attempted to arrest him. As a result of this, the SPLA-IO base in Jebel sent in many fighters because they succumbed to James Gatdet’s fake news.
Is this fake news or not? Hundreds of men died on this day because the SPLA-IO base in Jebel, upon reading James Gatdet’s fake news, sent few cars to reinforce the over 50 men outside J1 thinking that James Gatdet’s fake new was real and then died in the process.
Is this what should be referred to as “fake news” or we should instead blame the media because it has reported that Salva Kiir has violated the agreement?
James Gatdet has also said in his small writing that some media houses have not been registered by Salva Kiir’s Media Authority. Until when, that you started the talk against unregistered media?
Are you not the very James Gatdet Dak who cried for the help of Nyamilepedia when Sudan Tribune reported on May 5, 2014, that Riek was killed in an air bombardment in Nasir or someone else? Did you first ask if Nyamilepedia is a registered media at the time?
A lot of organizations, my friend, have not been registered including the SPLM-IO, and which will never be registered as a political party in South Sudan because you have sold the SPLM-IO principals. So, IO is not registered, what is special with Nyamilepedia, and other news media which are not registered. Please, give us mercy from your propaganda my friend.
At Nyamilepedia, we speak with Ateny Wek Ateny, Makuei, and Lul Ruai Koang, all these officials pick up our calls and respond to our questions but, because of your hypocrisy you and your associates, don’t because you consider yourself something big just because you are the spokesman of the FVP, do you consider yourself more important than Ateny or Makuei?
Please all of you guys are power-hungry politicians and a bunch of criminals looking for power in the name of standing up for the Nuer community. It is better for us to stay silent on the media than to come up against each other. We really have a lot to say but because we are not seeking to let you down, that’s why you see us being silent like this.
Please control your writing and remind yourself that you are a spokesman for Riek Machar.
The author is a journalist and can be reached via: email@example.com