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John Luk Jok dies

Author: Staff Writer | Published: Tuesday, June 2, 2020

John Luk Jok | File photo

John Luk Jok, the minister of East African Affairs, and the leader who helped write the South Sudan constitution 2011 has died.

He reportedly passed on at his home in Juba on Tuesday, at around 5 o’clock in the morning. The cause of death is yet to be revealed.

Born in 1952 in Akobo of Jonglei, the late was a liberator, politician, and minister in the Cabinet.

After CPA, John Luk served several key positions in South Sudan’s government.

They include minister of youth and sports (2005-2008), and petroleum and mining (2008-2010).

Although he lost his seat in the general election in April 2010, President Salva Kiir retained him in the GoSS cabinet as the minister of Justice and oversaw the conduct of the referendum.

At the same capacity, he also played a very important role in drafting and passing of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan.

In 2016, he was appointed the Minister of Transport in the TGoNU government by President Kiir.

His last appointment was in March 2020, where he was appointed as the Minister of East African Affairs as part of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.

The late was among former SPLM leaders detained for allegedly plotting to overthrow President Kiir’s government in 2013.

In 2015, Luk returns to Juba with other five former detainees to implement the peace agreement.

They include Deng Alor Kuol, Cirino Hiteng, Kosti Manibe and Madut Biar.

Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng who represents the FDs at the presidency told Eye Radio that John Luk will be missed by South Sudanese and his people in Jonglei.

She describes the late as an honest and hardworking person.

“John Luk was a very honest and hardworking man. He devoted his life to the country; we will miss him,” Vice President Nyandeng said.

“John Luk Jok is somebody who will be missed by South Sudan as a country and he will also be missed by the people in the state of Jonglei and his own people of Lou. He was a brilliant person and very intelligent.

“I lived with him and knew him very well. He was a leader of his own right, and we will mourn him for some time. Nobody will be able to fill his place.  In English – we would say that his shoes are big. We use to call him John Luk of SPLA.”

John Luk was educated at Akobo Primary school (1959-1963). He attended Obel Intermediate School (1963-1964) and went to Rumbek Secondary School and Omdurman (1968-1972).

Luk studies Law at the University of Khartoum (1974-1977), where he obtained his LLB in 1977, and he did his postgraduate diploma in petroleum law at the University of Khartoum from 1981-1982.

He earned an LLM from the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of London in 1982-1983.

John Luk public service began in 1972 after he completed training at the Institute of Public Service Academy, Khartoum, and he joined the local government as an inspector.

He was posted to Yirol, Bahr el Ghazal, in October 1972. In 1977 he worked as a legal assistant in the regional Ministry of Legal Affairs, Juba (1977-1978).

As a political associate of Peter Gatkuoth, the leading minister in the High Executive Council, John Luk resigned from his position in Legal affairs and contested elections.

Peter Gatkuoth groomed him for a leadership role in Akobo. Peter Gatkuoth’s preference of John Luk was detested by other leading Lou Nuer politicians such as Dr. Michael Wal and Stephen Ciec Lam.

John Luk was elected MP for the administrative Regional Assembly, Juba (1978-1980). He resumed his position as a legal assistant in the regional government from 1980-1981.

John Luk was an active student leader in both Rumbek Secondary School and the University of Khartoum’s ANF and SSU branches. As a student in London, he was instrumental in the organization that led to the establishment of the movement in the UK.

He was appointed deputy representative of the SPLM office and was its spokesman in the UK (August 1983-August 1991). He identified himself with the SPLM/A (Nasir faction) in 1991, and he held several senior positions within the movement.

John Luk met Dr. Ali Al Hag in Nairobi to prepare for the Frankfurt meeting, and he was a part of the SPLM/A (United) delegation to Frankfurt. He participated in the Abuja -1 peace talks as a senior member of the SPLM’s Nasir faction, and he became spokesman to the merged SPLM delegation.

He became secretary for information and culture in the SPLM (United) INEC. However, John Luk defected from SSIM/A and joined William Nyuon’s SSIM/A (United) efforts for the reunification of the movement.

In the period leading to the Lafon Declaration of 1995, he was one of the key advisers to Cdr. William Nyuon, and he served as the movement’s spokesman from 1996-1998; subsequently, he was secretary without portfolio. He played an important role in the Nairobi Declaration of February 2002 that brought together the SPLM/A and Dr. Riek Machar’s SSDF.

John Luk became the director for Centre for Documentation and Advocacy, and he was editor of South Sudan Post Magazine, produced in Nairobi, Kenya, which was widely read among Southern Sudanese in liberated areas and in exile.

(Source: South Sudan: The Notable Firsts – 2015 – By Kuyok Abol Kuyok, current undersecretary at the Ministry of General Education)

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