19th October 2020
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Prof Lo Liyong regrets UoJ inability to protect freedom of speech

Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: Friday, February 14, 2020

Prof Taban Loliyong packed his books and docs to leave the office on Thursday, Feb 13, 2020 | Credit | Okot Emmanuel/Eye Radio

A renowned professor has expressed regrets over what he calls the inability of the University of Juba to protect its staff and the freedom of speech.

Professor Taban Lo Liyong is reacting to news of his dismissal from the university by the Vice-Chancellor over comments he recently made in public.

This week, Lo Liyong was placed on administrative leave without pay following an open letter, critical of the government’s support for the current number of states.

“I’m supposed to only be disciplined by the university on things that touch on the university,” Pro Lo Liyong, who has authored several books, told Eye Radio on Thursday.

In the opinion piece published by various media outlets, Prof Lo Liyong called on the U.S government to pressure President Salva Kiir to reverse the current 32 States.

The administration of the University of Juba described it as an “incitement of ethnic hatred, and putting the name of the university into disrepute.”

“There is nothing I have done wrong. I was commenting on national issues,” argued the poet.

“I think all of us who are academicians including the Vice-Chancellor, should join the debate because….it’s something to do with our country.”

Professor Lo Liyong believes he was singled out for his comments, claiming that other university staff expressed similar opinions in the past, without repercussion.

He called for the protection of the freedom of speech to allow South Sudanese to make informed choices.

Professor Taban Lo Liyong is one of Africa’s well-known poets and writers of fiction and literary criticism.

His political views, as well as his on-going denigration of the post-colonial system of education in East Africa, have inspired criticism and controversy since the late 1960s.

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