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S. Sudan’s former minister regrets role in the Transitional Constitution process


October 12, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s former justice minister, John Luk Jok, says he regrets his role in drafting the current Transitional Constitution, which he says gives the president excessive powers.

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South Sudan’s former justice minister John Luk Jok (ST/File)

Jok, served as the legal affairs and constitutional development minister prior to South Sudan’s independence in 2011. He also chaired the interim constitution review committee, which drafted and passed the constitution, despite several opposing voices to the draft legislation.

“Between 2011 and 2013, I was the minister for justice and constitutional development in the government of President Salva Kiir Mayaardit. It was therefore under my watch that the present transitional constitution was passed, controversially,” said Jok in an op-ed extended to Sudan Tribune.

He asked South Sudanese citizens to forgive him for the role he played in drafting and passing of the Transitional Constitution, which he described as the “unpopular” supreme law of the land.

Jok was one the 11 senior South Sudanese politicians who were arrested, detained before their eventual release in connection with last year’s alleged coup attempt in the capital, Juba.

Under the constitution, the president has powers to remove elected governors and dissolve state legislative assemblies in the event of any developing situation in a given area within territorial jurisdiction of the country becomes an imminent threat to national security.

In exercising these powers, president Salva Kiir removed elected governors from Lakes and Unity states, receiving different reactions to the order and generating commotions, months before political debates within the country’s governing party (SPLM) turned violence.

President Kiir’s critics contested the decision and described it as “undemocratic” attempts to silence voices advocating for reforms within the country’s governing party.


The former minister compared the circumstances under which the constitution was passed to the current division over the national security service bill, which has virtually received the same opposition.

“Just like now for the case of the National Security Service bill had explicitly opposed some tyrannical clauses in the draft version of the interim constitution before it could be approved. However, as has been recorded by history, the government, spearheaded by none other than me, intimidated the MPs and bulldozed the draft constitution into law. Fast forward today and it is abundantly clear to all concerned that it was a tragic, political blunder on my part,” said Jok.

“In light of last year political and military crisis in our beloved nation, I have now unequivocally realised that I had committed a great sin against the people of South Sudan. Forgive me,” he added.

The official used biblical story to explain himself in an attempt to seek pardon from the general public, saying the rich man upon his death could not succeed when he pleaded forgiveness for sinful life he had lived on earth, while the poor man succeeded to go to heaven.

He described the new security bill as “very draconian” and that “South Sudanese people should not, once again, invest all their constitutional powers in the hand of one politicised institution”.

“It does not matter whether it is the presidency, parliament, judiciary, media or the national security services under minister Isaac Mamur. Mark my words my dear people, the Magok Rundial of today will soon be the John Luk of tomorrow. Likewise, the John Luk of yesterday is regrettably the Isaac Mamur Mete of today,” said Jok.

Mumur is the current minister for national security service while Rundial is the speaker of the national legislative assembly.

“History is the judge, for those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it, much to their bitter regret. Junubiin, forewarned is forearmed,” further noted the former minister.


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  • 13 October 2014 08:46, by Mi diit

    It is too late John Luk. You always like sideway walks instead of going through the main road together with your people. You groomed that monster called Salva Kiir and now you don’t want to join the struggle against him despite killing thousands from your constitueny. You believe in picking fruits shaken by others.

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    • 13 October 2014 08:53, by Mi diit

      Now another foolish Nuer called Magok Rundial is being used in parliament to pass repressive security laws. Tomorrow he will fall victim of these laws. Kiir and his group plan to eliminate Nuer politicians now with them in case they see they are losing the war. They will make revenge on them using the new security law.

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      • 13 October 2014 18:59, by Nyesi Ta

        My brother Midiit, you said it all. Writing of a constitution is not a one man show, but John Luke took it upon himself as if it’s a document intended for his family. Those who drafted the constitution knew what they were doing to protect their positions and to come out after they have made the damage to express regret and solicit for forgiveness is persona non grata.

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      • 14 October 2014 06:14, by Alier42

        I wish him to would have been the first casualty of his constitution ,the lives lost by innocent South Sudanese will never ,ever forgive you and your name shall remain on the wrong side of the history,we will never ever forgive you as do the history, your community in the face of death should know the cause.

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    • 13 October 2014 11:39, by Sir King

      Hahahahahaaaaa! Look how people are stupid in South Sudan except me alone. He drafted that constitution thinking that he would maintain his position but after he was dismissed, he regrets. Shame on you, you better has kept quiet.

      Sorry indeed!

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  • 13 October 2014 09:04, by choldit

    Thanks a lot John Luk for the ack of wrong doing on ur part. This gives the hope to south Sudanese that politicians of ur like cld not do the same mistake every again. However, people like Malong Awan and his fellow Dinka friends killers can’t repent from their worst every sin of murdering innocent people from Nuer tribe.

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  • 13 October 2014 09:36, by Hardlinner

    Mi diit, keep lying to your nuer youth. But the reality is, no one is prepared to be under riek thugs. Therefore their overthrow of the government is fictional. Just keep lying to yourself. South sudanese hate riek destructive war more than they hate kiir.

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    • 13 October 2014 09:58, by Lango2010

      midiit and choldit you are really laughable creatures. you think john luk is now justifying any thing here, why did he passes the bill and enjoy working in and become regrettable after being fired? i may say it was because of his act that cause the life of innocent life in this nation.
      he will not be forgiven now and till he bring the rebels and himself back to Juba.

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      • 13 October 2014 10:03, by Lango2010

        you have mislead the President by empowering him with the unpopular constitution as you say, so it was your mistake blame your self and look for the way of reconciling him with people of South Sudan, otherwise you are just a chameleon. changing the colour from government to rebel nothing is now.

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  • 13 October 2014 10:03, by Michael Miyom Minyiel

    foolish john luk Jok, man doesn’t regret upon the act.you will regret over why you fathered your children.naive man survive not in patriarchal society.i reject your fucken regrets.

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    • 13 October 2014 11:26, by Simon Puok Nyang Tutjiek

      Thanks John Luk, but we want you to declare joining SPLM/A under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar then we will say our words later, Please Lou Nuer need you to come home by today or tomorrow and help Dr. Riek Machar in struggle to free the people of South Sudan from tyranny president who killed over 20,000 innocent Nuer in Juba.

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      • 13 October 2014 15:46, by Dumodit

        John Luk
        remember, it’s too late to confess your evil deeds that turned itself into political conflict within ruling party caused lost of many South Sudanese lives.

        Ask God to forgive you and able to cease current conflict in the country

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    • 13 October 2014 12:57, by Frak Cho

      Dear South Sudanese, John Luke is not foolish as some of you may think. All South Sudanese people lack vision. Those SPLA commanders came to the government with the notion that they were the one who suffered, then they turned the whole SPLM/SPLA as property. I can’t blame personally comrade John Luke, all those 11guys minus Eng.Chol Tong drafted and passed the constitution while well aware cont..

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      • 13 October 2014 13:03, by Frak Cho

        of the content of the constitution just to protect themselves. SPLA/SPLM is a property. Who among those who lost the positions and those who still hold positions think of tomorrow and address the public as "how will our people of children be in ten years to come?" What programs do the ministers in Juba have? What programs do the rebels have apart from killing and looting? It’s a pity!!

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        • 13 October 2014 13:26, by Joseph Canada

          My friend you have raised a very good point of view, but only that you have shared it to all MPs in the nation. If you can follow carefully who voted yay and who walked out of the Parliament, You will see the clarity. You are right the SPLM party has become a property to not the Generals, but to the Dinka tribe. They think SPLM belong to Dinka and claimed it just because Dr. John was the leader.

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          • 13 October 2014 13:30, by Joseph Canada

            Am telling you right now, South Sudan crises is going exactly according to the Chapter 16 of Isaiah in the Bible. Those who lead the nation by greed and occupying people’s land by force will pay dearly soon.
            Just watch and see my friend. Just watch and see

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  • 13 October 2014 13:18, by Joseph Canada

    Hardlinner Lango and Michael Mayom, what you all have said is what Kiir and the rest of the Dinka leadership think its justifiable by enforcing laws that is used to eliminate other non Dinka leaders in South Sudan. This is exactly why more and more people reject President Kiir. You enjoy now because tomorrow to you will not give you any fruits. You will pay one by one when the UPDF go back.

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    • 13 October 2014 17:47, by Mayom County Boy

      afucken news ? Mr former Justice John Luk,talking about ? Please Luk
      Jok,leave Magok Rundial and president alone,none of your business.

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  • 13 October 2014 14:14, by Ayuen deng

    There is no need of regreting John luk Jok.you have done your part.

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  • 13 October 2014 15:13, by Redeemer

    Mr. Luk
    It will sounds better if this comes to be a propagated info. later but if it is true. Than it shows how good for nothing you are. You drafted it not for the benefit of the Nation but for your own interest

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  • 13 October 2014 15:42, by Modi Lo Laja

    Dear John,

    Your regret is heard and accepted by many. Always man who do realized his mistake/sins and asks for forgiveness will all ways be forgiven.

    Thanks for advising those who still on way making same mistake because those will later be bad treat to them. For its seem and sound good to their ears.

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  • 14 October 2014 00:41, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    Now isn’t time for regrets. It is time for correction and construction of a better tomorrow. Let us not live in the past. Learn from the past mistakes to shape a better future.

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  • 14 October 2014 12:59, by Angelo Achuil

    At least now, I think the real talk toward solution for a lasting peace had started. Many had cried long before the crisis that the way powers are placed in the constitution will bring instability in the country, but most of our MPs won’t hear any of it. I wish they will learn to give more power to the state this time so that people don’t continue looking to Juba for things to happen in Counties.

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  • 14 October 2014 16:33, by Positive Thinker

    who will forgive Mr. John Luk Jok. Can you relay that message to Kueibohor Nyaluom that pleasing the King will one day haunt him just like it does to you now

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