Opinion by: Mangar Amerdid.
“On January 28, 1992, a notable political figure from Southern Sudan named Peter Gatkuoth passed away. Born in 1938 in Akobo, Upper Nile in South Sudan, Gatkuoth graduated from Rumbek Secondary School and obtained a degree in Economics from the University of Khartoum in 1964.
In 1969, Gatkuoth became the advisor on economic planning for the Ministry of Southern Affairs in the government of President Gafaar Nimeiri. When the Southern politician, Abel Alier was appointed as Vice-President of Sudan, Gatkuoth became the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Southern Affairs in Khartoum.
In 1973, Gatkuoth became the commissioner of Upper Nile and later became the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in Juba. After being appointed by Gen. Joseph Lagu as the Vice President of the High Executive Council (HEC) in Juba, he rose to prominence and replaced Gen. Lagu as President of HEC. A position he held from July 12, 1979, to May 30, 1980.
In February 1980, Pres. Nimeiri held new elections in the Southern region with Gatkuoth overseeing it. The result of the elections saw Abel Alier gain the seat of President of the HEC for the second time. Gatkuoth once more became the vice president of the HEC and Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in the Southern region.
In this capacity, Gatkuoth identified schemes that could boost the economy in the South such as the Aweil rice scheme and Nzara scheme as well as the Malut and Mongalla sugar factories. The lack of financial backing from Khartoum halted the implementation of the projects.
The 1989 military coup by Col. Omar Hassan al-Bashir led to Gatkuoth being held in Kober prison in Khartoum for a year. After being released from prison in 1990, Gatkuoth’s health began to deteriorate; he had a stroke which was followed by a brain hemorrhage.
May the soul of our political figure, Peter Gatkuoth rest in peace!”