Two South Sudanese business tycoons have refuted reports that they have been given military ranks by President Salva Kiir.
Last week, reports surfaced that President Salva Kiir had accorded military decorations to civilians, a number of businessmen including ex-soldiers.
This was after Kiir awarded ranks to some governors, ministers and presidential advisors.
Among those promoted include Tut Gatluak, Dhieu Mathok, Deng Dau, Rizik Zachariah, Joseph Monytuil, among others.
It was also reported that Kiir gave military ranks to renowned businessmen, namely: Ayii Duang, Amin Akasha, Bol Mel, Makiir Gai, and Ladu Lukak.
But two tycoons, Makiir Gai and Ladu Lukak have publicly disputed the claims.
They denied receiving such commendations, saying the military is not their area of expertise.
Makiir Gai is the General Manager of Kiir Company for Services and Construction.
He says giving him a military position or rank would be a mockery to the army and to those he says deserve such honors.
“What will take us from being businessmen in the market to the ministry of defense? What are we going to do there? Gai said.
“I am sure this is not from the president of the minister of defense, the chief defense forces or even the minister of interior. It sounds like a joke.”
For his part, Ladu Lukak, who is the Deputy Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, distanced himself from any military engagement, fearing it would attract international sanctions on his business ventures.
“I don’t know anything about the military, and the alleged promotion can possibly make some of us face sanctions,” Lukak explained
“I’m a merchant. My task is to provide goods to the people of South Sudan.”
Other businessmen, Ayii Duang, Bol Mel and Amin Akasha are yet to issue statements regarding the alleged military awards.
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