Kampala/Juba, January 7, 2019 (SSNA) — South Sudanese have harshly criticized on social media a state minister who was caught smoking shisha in a Ugandan bar last Saturday, demanding the minister be dismissed from his post and face prosecution in a South Sudan court for tarnishing South Sudan’s image in a foreign country with one prominent writer dubbing the minister “shisha-smoking minister.”
The Ugandan police announced on Sunday that they have arrested at least 17 people in anti-shisha operation and that one foreigner, a minister in South Sudan, was among those detained. Hours after the announcement, South Sudanese went on social media, most on Facebook, blasting the minister for what some described as “irrational behavior.”
Peter Gai Manyuon, a columnist for many South Sudan’s newspapers blames the incident on “creation of more states” in the country, saying the arrested minister tarnished the image of the nation and should be fired from his position.
“[The] creation of more States caused big shame to the Country. The case of Minister arrested in the house of Prostitutes in Uganda is an insult to South Sudanese. This fake Minister deserves to be removed and he should immediately be arrest for tarnishing the image of South Sudanese people in foreign Country,” Peter wrote.
The editor-in-chief of the US-based South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) Duop Chak Wuol was among the first people who broke the news on Sunday morning on social media sites. Duop mockingly branded the minister “shisha-smoking minister” and suggests the detained official went to Kampala simply to have “a taste of a foreign shisha.”
“We now have a shisha-smoking minister who is capable of crossing into Uganda merely to smoke a Ugandan shisha. I wonder what was in the mind of this rather disgraceful minister when he was smoking that shisha in a Ugandan bar,” Duop declared on Facebook.
“I think South Sudan in general and Maiwut State, in particular, should have a minute of silence to honor our dignity that was shamed in that shisha-infested bar,” he added.
Paul Yien Riang, another South Sudanese think the action of the minister happened because most of the country ministers are “potheads.”
Professor Chuol Ruey Kompuok gives a rather different take on the issue. He believes that for a South Sudanese minister to go to Ugandan and smoke shisha in a public place shows the minister was acting unprofessionally, describing the act “bitter truth.”
The South Sudan News Agency was one of the news organizations that first broke the news and the first to identify the minister detained as Simon Duop Puok Tik who works as minister of Rural Development in Maiwut State.
Attempts to get reactions from Maiwut State authorities were unsuccessful.