Veteran Soldier James Majok Jok at Mingkaman market where he collects garbage for about $1 a day | Credit | Anyar Kuol/ Mingkaman FM
A veteran army general has advised the neglected soldier, James Majok Jok – who has never received salary since 2005 – to lodge a complaint with the army headquarters at Bilpam in Juba.
Majok, who shared his story with Mingkaman 100 FM during the celebration of the Revolutionary Day in May 2023, said he was in the same battalion with Gen Bior ‘Asuod’ Ajang.
“It is a very challenging task because it has been so long and I could not recognize him,” said Gen Bior, former undersecretary at the Ministry of Defense nd Veterans’ Affairs.
Majok, a denizen of Awerial County in Lakes State, was asked by his superiors in 1999 to return home to marry in order to preserve his family linage after his only brother was killed fighting years earlier.
Now 62, he married and took care of the two families – his and the late brother’s. However, he says he was turned away during a reregistration and re-organization of the army after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005.
As a result, life compelled Majok to make do, becoming a garbage man at the Mingkaman town market. He says he is paid less than 1,000 SSP (roughly $1) per day.
This amount, he said recently, could not sustain his family and pay the hospital bills for his sick wife who has been battling a heart disease for more than 9 years now.
Reacting to his sad story, Gen Bior said:
“If he could come to Bilpam and get some colleagues he knows and to help him in the process and getting his name enrolled or he could go to the nearest army base to report his case, the person in charge may take the name to Juba so that he is added to the payroll,” Bior told Mingkaman FM.
As of today, a bus fare from Mingkaman town to Juba is estimated at 10,000 South Sudanese Pounds. It’s not clear if Majok has saved enough money to afford a transport to Juba.