February 11, 2014 (JUBA) - More than 4,000 people attended a public rally in the South Sudan capital, Juba, on Tuesday calling for peace and reconciliation in the new nation, which was engulfed by violence in mid-December.
- Akol Paul Kordit, chairman of SPLM youth league and member of the party’s Political Bureau, speaking at a public rally in Juba on 11 February 2014 (ST)
Various politicians spoke at the event at Suksita, which was organised by South Sudan’s Youth Organisation for Social Development (YOFSD) in collaboration with the youth league of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
Akol Paul Kordit, a senior member of the SPLM ‘s political Bureau and a chairman of SPLM youth league, led pleas for a peaceful resolution to the crisis that has killed thousands and driven close to a million people from their homes.
Violence erupted in South Sudan following clashes between rival factions of the presidential guards, quickly spreading throughout the country as forces loyal to president Salva Kiir and rebels aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar battled for control of key areas.
Kordit condemned the violence, calling for Machar, who is accused of masterminding the alleged coup attempt to overthrow the government, to be brought to justice.
“I am very sad on what had happened on December 15 13. I apologise to you all and such a mistake will never happen again here in Juba”, Kordit told the crowd, receiving an extended round of applause.
“The gun sound must be mute in Juba and across South Sudan, because we need peace and development so that our children and elderly people [have] access [to] medical care services – we are very well prepared to protect you from any harm or threats”, he added.
Kordit also assured citizens that the government was prepared to take measures to ensure Machar faced court over alleged atrocities committed at the height of the conflict.
He stressed the government was on track to hold fresh elections scheduled for 2015 despite uncertainty that the political situation in the country would delay the ballot.
“We will have an election in 2015 … the SPLM party is very confident to win next election in 2015”, he said.
However, he said anyone was welcome to contest the presidential elections so long as they are granted a nomination ticket by their party.
The SPLM youth League chairman also donated 15,000 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) to various organisations affiliated with the ruling party.
Tuesday’s event is the first public rally the SPLM has held since the outbreak of violence last year. A larger rally is planned on Saturday at Freedom Hall, with the president expected to address the nation on the current political crisis.