Telar Ring Deng lied and should apology

By J. Nguen

August 19, 2013 (SSNA) — Respect, trust and peoples’ confidence are build and earned and not given or force through peoples’ throats when deemed necessary by those in power. In our tradition for example, one earn respect and trust upon performing things perceived genuine and profoundly kind by other beings. Conversely, overstepping one’s own steps to ensure short-cut to fame is considered deviant and unconventional according to the same tradition. Thus, for oneself, is profoundly so in my own community. An act per se is not acutely painful but the resultant is, and has enervating effects when one is caught in the midst of such trickery.  

I am afraid this is what happened to South Sudan’s former presidential advisor for legal affairs, comrade Telar Ring Deng over his unverifiable academic credentials. On July 31st, Telar Ring was appointed as Minister of Justice by President Kiir Mayardit following the dissolution of South Sudan’s entire cabinet including the vice president on what many analysts considered a swift presidential decree on July 23rd, 2013.

On August 13th, 2013 however, Telar’s ministerial appointment was rightly rejected by South Sudan’s parliament citing lack of legal papers and judicial experiences. The decision was recommendable but grossly degrading in many respects to Telar himself and corps. For many, Telar Ring Deng was known as a well-established and qualified lawyer among his mates, youngsters and old alike, and more so in Unity State than anywhere else since 1985.

Sadly, his rejection based on nullified academic diplomas was a hard kick from behind and disgraceful to many of his colleagues. Especially those who trusted him but found themselves cheated and deceived. Above all, it is more degrading to the country he intentionally misled, which is where I profoundly drowned my narrative. Blatantly, Telar Ring Deng lied to and misled the people of South Sudan about his academic qualifications and legal experts at will. Denoting Telar’s forged experiences and legal background, I must remind my readers that Telar was deployed in Western Upper Nile’s southern sector (currently Unity State) under the commandership of former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny as a judge from 1985 to 1992.

Mr. Telar and Hon. Dengtiel Ayuen Kur were stationed in what is now Unity State as judges in the 80s following “directive” and “recommendation” from the SPLM/A’s chairman Late Dr. John Garang De Mabior. Both Telar and Dengtiel were equally assumed as qualified lawyers by late chairman and his zonal commander, according to Dr. Riek’s testimony to the vetting committee on Saturday, August 10th.

Dr. Riek “confirmed that he deployed Telar under his command as a judge from 1986-1992 with the assumption that he was a qualified lawyer following a directive from late John Garang de Mabior who recommended Telar to Western Upper Nile Zonal area.”

Following Mr. Telar’s newly founded fame and fabricated legal expertise; he was regarded highly, accepted and accorded with all respect as a judge. At the same time, dishonesty, preplanned deception and forgery were distanced memories and unthought-of in personality of Telar Ring Deng or anyone else of his company. To maximize and mask his deceit, Telar acted and conducted himself as a full-fledged lawyer. Tragically, this was at the time people of South Sudan were preoccupied by Khartoum as our BIG and ONLY common enemy. No one cared, so long Telar acted within his limits and alike denounced Khartoum based regimes’ oppressive policies toward South Sudan and its people.

On the other hand, Telar Ring was trusted and at times sent to many SPLM/A led missions to represent the movement and its people legally. For one, Telar was sent to Canada in May 2003 to represent our people against Talisman Energy in Calgary with an assumption that he was a well-grounded lawyer.  It appeared Telar had used our traditional common senses of judging things from the cover but the truth is our traditional common senses are not compatible with international laws, ethnics and operations governing international energies like the Talisman Energy. Seeing this narrative from any perspective now, we were at best at the mercy of the law and predetermined to loss the case no matter what.

Beside, Telar’s ill legal qualifications caught people of Unity State and that of South Sudan by surprise. The truthfulness of the vetting committee’s finding and Telar’s own submission were hard to digest. In truth, our people were dumfounded and no one could ever believe that Telar Ring Deng’s legal academic credentials were sham and questionable.

To elaborate a little more about how Telar Ring was accorded with fame and respect in Leer and across Western Upper Nile, Telar had a dancing club named after him (Buul Telar. Meaning Telar’s dancing club). This was meant to acknowledge his rare assumed glamorous legal qualifications.

On August 13th, 2013, such deception tactics ran on short supply and fictitious luck of the subject was hard to crack. Finally and forever, it was confirmed that Telar has duped people of South Sudan into believing that he was a full-fledged credited lawyer. In a short while, the two decades long well protected lie crumbled drastically before our very eyes less than a week long. What a shame!

Mentioning the truthiness of the process, Telar Ring Deng and other nominees were placed under normal scrutiny meant to help certified their pronounced experiences and academic qualifications. Telar failed the vetting based on unverifiable experiences and legal academic credentials. Following the investigation, it appeared that Telar never attended a legal law school before and after he was assigned as a judicial officer in Western Upper Nile for good 7 years.

Telar served as a presidential advisor for legal affairs under President Kiir Mayardit for good two years or more while knowing full well that he did not have judicial experiences and verifiable legal academic qualifications. It was a shame that he didn’t inform the president but continued to lie until he was caught red-handed.  In part, this where my narrative lies and where I honestly believe that Telar Ring Deng breached our peoples’ unyielding trust and confidence. It is where my chronicle reclined and believed that Telar should not and must not get away out with this despicable deceit to our people at will. To ensure sanity, I strongly believe that Telar must publicly apologise to the nation and its people.

Telar’s one authentic academic document seen by this commentator revealed that he graduated with Bachelor of Art in political and Anthropology at the State University of New York in 1981. Beside, Telar holds fakes or rather suspicious Bachelor of Laws and Masters of Laws at The University of Buckingham in U.K. In a nutshell, both degrees have no graduation dates inscribed on them. There are also no reference dates to when Telar attended the said university.

However, Mapuor Malual Manguen’s commentary revealed that Telar “joined {The} Buckingham University and graduated with LLB in 1994, {and then} pursued master program in the same institution with LLM specializing in Commercial Laws and graduated in 1995.” Surprisingly, Mr. Manguen didn’t reference dates of attendance. What Mr. Manguen helped to share was when Telar graduated which did not help.

Considering these undeniable facts, it is fair to assert that Telar Ring Deng has once again lied to the people of South Sudan and therefore, his rejection as a Minister of Justice by the Republic of South Sudan’s parliament is justified.

Way forward

To be precise and brutally honest, Telar’s fabricated lies have caused un-repairable damage to our nation more so than the subject himself. First and foremost, it placed the nation at a disturbing and awkward position. It broke our peoples’ confidence, trust and created unwarranted mistrust and lack of integrity. For instant, our youngsters will no longer trust our old guards and comrades. Therefore on this basis, I urge Telar Ring Deng to come out and apologise to the nation in order to lessen or reverse this depressing yoke.

Second, Telar’s action after the fact showcased a serious dishonesty and mounted to fraudulent crime punishable by long term imprisonment if not death sentence. As a result, he should be barred from holding any public office in the Republic of South Sudan given the severity of the crime he has committed. Again, I kindly ask my comrade in armed, Telar Ring Deng to apologise to avoid such punishment and avoid exceeding guilt.

Third, Telar’s defense was not well disposed but unfaithful. With such deplorable defense, he has achieved nothing positive than comradeship an insult. In his infamous letter to the chairperson of the vetting committee, Hon. Abuk Papiti Ayik on August 7th, Telar stated “that Dr. Riek Machar Teny had no Law Degree and by profession he is a Mechanical Engineer, yet all the same presided over many General Court Marshal appellate cases.” Telar’s rebuttal was laughable and weak to be precise.

For one, Dr. Riek and those he accused with lack of qualifications didn’t claim any legal qualifications or experiences. In essence, Dr. Riek was only stationed in Western Upper Nile region as a zonal commander and not as a judge. With due respect, Telar must also apologise to this effect.

Fourth, considering the severity of the crime committed and that the subject didn’t apologised on his submission, it is fair to assert that  deception, distortion of reality and breach of peoples’ trust and confidence were intended, and therefore, the subject  should be punish.

As oppose to, Telar would have defended himself wisely and rationally rather than bashing on his own comrades by stating that “the then Maj. Dr. Riek Machar Teny appointed Lawrence Lony who was a secondary school graduate as a Judicial Officer for Panaru area, and George Kiel was appointed as Judicial Officer of Ador and Nyuong. It is imperative to note that the latter was not even educated.”

Indeed, this is not an effective and efficiency way of defense but a real show of defiance and denial. In addition, it was unwarranted emotion outburst and blaming game tact, which don’t serves anything positive to that effect. Telar or anyone in South Sudan is not licenced to deceive our people at ease based on their education backgrounds. It is an honest thing to be frank by telling your comrades in armed that you did not have the papers because you were fighting the war of liberation. This is an honest and honourable to do by a state-man. With Telar’s misgiving attitudes, Telar should once again be informed that this is not a blaming game tact but serious governmental business and honest vetting of all nominees appointed by the president to the cabinet. It was not also targeted or wise-hunt as mentioned by Dr. Lam Akol and Mapuor Malual Manguen in their respective commentaries.

In closing, Telar fiasco is indeed a disturbing twist of event but an interesting development considering the defense produced by the accused. At any rate, it appeared that Telar Ring Deng didn’t really understand the implications and hug breach of trust and confidence and bad reputations he has helped created to his own good name.

As such, the underscoring factors of the matter lies profoundly as lack of legal experiences and education, public deceit, breach of public trust and confidence; more importantly, an eroded integrity and the shame he brought to all comrades in armed, particularly the old guards. Also it underpinned the fact that Mr. Telar Ring Deng do not fit to hold any position of any kind in the Republic of South Sudan.

Lastly, Telar saga is not isolated incident but true indicator or a wakeup call to South Sudanese youth. It is a true indicator that showcase our old guards, comrades in armed and our perceived role models painfully departure from our traditions and genuine way of life, which objects deceit and lying at old age.

If Telar Ring Deng can lie at ease considering his age, then our youth have no hope in our old guards. It appeared no one among them is immune not to cheat or deceive. It appeared no one is there to be trusted or seek guidance and wisdom from, because you never know what might become of him/her tomorrow.

J. Nguen is a concerned South Sudanese citizen living in Canada. He can be reached at [email protected]

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