By William Madouk
Jonglei State Students Union in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on Saturday sworn-in to office Mr. Kwach Gatluak as the new chairperson for the body.
The newly elected students’ union executives took oath in the presence of a guest of honor, Dr. Ter Majiok, South Sudan’s representative at the African Union and an associate professor at the University of Juba.
In a first-ever democratic transition, Gatluak replaced Magot Joseph Chol, who had been the interim chairperson of the Jonglei State Students Union in Ethiopia since its establishment.
Addressing the gathering in Addis Abba, the new chair, Mr. Gatluak, lauded the electoral body for upholding the principles of fairness, integrity, and transparency that led to a fruitful election outcome.
“We want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all Jonglei students who cast their votes for us. Thank you for placing your trust in us and giving us the opportunity to represent you,” said Gatluak.
“We will work tirelessly to represent your interests, amplify your voices, and champion the issues that matter to Jonglei State students,” he added.
He also promised to work closely with students as well as reach out to his team for ideas, concerns, and feedback. Mr. Gatluak also vowed to uphold unity and defy any act of violence or hatred among students.
On his part, the outgoing chair, Magot Joseph Chol, praised the elected body as their assignment started but advised them to stand in the face of taunts, adding that it’s no honeymoon office.
“To my brother, the president-elect, as you take on the roles of the highest office within this union, there are numerous challenges that will come your way, but you should be vigilant to resist them and move forward,” said Chol.
He called on new leadership to work hard, promote cohesion among Jonglei students, and combat tribalism and hate speech.
“As we interact, let us not compete but cooperate within the groups to bring greater rewards for the individuals than competitions,” he added.
Meanwhile, the guest of honor, Dr. Ter Majiok, cheered on the new leadership and promised to support them in achieving their goals.
Formerly, South Sudanese students in Ethiopia were under an umbrella called the ‘South Sudan Students Union in Ethiopia’.
But the union was banned three years ago by former ambassador James Morgan Pitia, the current minister of foreign affairs, over a leadership row.
As a result, the Jonglei students in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia decided to establish the first-ever student body that would handle their affairs in the Horn of Africa country.