Who conspired for the arrest of James Gatdet Dak on November 2nd, 2016 in Nairobi?
William Kitonga Macharia*
A lot of people in the media circles asked me a question about the one who was actually behind the idea for the arrest of James Gatdet Dak in Nairobi, Kenya on November 2nd, 2016 since I was a freelance journalist embedded with Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The answer is that James Gatdet’s arrest had nothing to do with the Government of South Sudan as people wrongly assumed from the beginning. His arrest was a result of two factors as narrated below.
- Comments about the Kenyan General commanding UN forces in Juba
After the UN Report came out in October, 2016 blaming a Kenyan General commanding UN forces for the failures of the UNMISS forces to protect civilians in the events of July, 2016 following a dogfight at Presidential Palace, James Gatdet Dak wrote a Press Release in the name of the SPLM-IO supporting the UN dismissal of the Kenyan General.
The Kenyan Government was not aware about James Gatdet’s Press Release until it was brought to their attention by nobody other than Mabior Garang de Mabior who told the Kenyan Ministry of Forein Affairs officials that it was James Gatdet Dak alone who supported the dismissal of a Kenyan General, not the leadership of the SPLM-IO.
- Mabior Garang’s conspiracy against James Gatdet
On November 1st, 2016, Mabior Garang met officials of Kenyan Government and told them to take an action against James Gatdet alone without penalizing the rest of the SPLM-IO members living in Kenya. He told them that the SPLM-IO leadership washed its hands from James Gatdet because the Press Release he issued was his own idea.
On November 2nd, 2016, James Gatdet was arrested by the Kenyan Police and later deported to Juba. The Government of South Sudan had nothing to do with his arrest. After the Kenyan Government deported him to Juba, the Government of South Sudan said he was detained because he committed a crime of treason for being a member of a rebel group that took up arms against the state.
Why did Mabior Garang betrayed his comrade? Well, according to my investigative report, there was a rivalry between the two on many issues. First, James Gatdet, as a Spokesman of Dr. Riek Machar, was perceived by Mabior Garang as somebody doing things without consulting him. Mabior, being the Chairman of Media and Communication Committee of the SPLM-IO, felt that he was being undermined by James Gatdet who used to issue Press Releases without consulting him.
When James Gatdet Dak issued a Press Release condemning a Kenyan General, Mabior then saw an opportunity to get rid of his archrival. In his meetings with Kenyan officials on November 1st, he encouraged them to arrest him and deport him to Juba.
After James Gatdet was deported to Juba, Mabior Garang became the sole master in the media without a rival in Kenya to issue Press Releases in the name of the SPLM-IO. His Machiavellian political moves worked in his favor when Mr. Gatdet was deported to Juba.
- The author is a freelance journalist embedded with the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.