March 10, 2014 (JUBA) – Thousands of people attended a rally on Saturday organised by the Youth League of South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the Western Equatoria state capital, Yambio, calling for peace and unity.
- Youth League chairman Akol Paul Kordit speaks at a rally in support of South Sudan’s ruling SPLM in the Western Equatoria state capital, Yambio, on 8 March 2014 (ST)
The rally was led by a delegation that included deputy speaker of the national legislative assembly, Daniel Awet Akot, and three top party members of the political bureau.
Youth League chairman Akol Paul Kordit called on youth to reject tribalism and unite under the umbrella of peace and unity.
The youth leader also blasted the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for interfering in the country’s internal affairs and accusing the body of smuggling arms to rebel forces.
In a well-received speech, Kordit called for youth to avoid hart words and tune for tribalism within the society of South Sudanese.
He also cautioned the UN to be more careful in its handling of sensitive matters in the country, calling on the body to respect the sovereignty of South Sudan.
“Those dying in South Sudan are not white people, they are black people from South Sudan – we are the nation, although we are very poor nation, you [must] respect [our] sovereignty,” he said.
An estimated 10,000 people have been killed and close to a million people displaced after political tensions erupted in violence in mid-December. The conflict has pitted forces loyal to the Salva Kiir-led government against rebels aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar, who was removed from his position in July last year.
Kordit urged South Sudanese youth not to get caught up in the cycle of war, saying that while rebel leaders sent their families abroad, the country’s poor were left to bear the brunt of the suffering.
“Do not allow yourself to join [a] war because [of] those people. The leaders of [the] rebellion [do] not have their children or women present in South Sudan to suffer with you – they are fighting [the] government and poor families such as children and women in South Sudan are suffering here and the rebellion leaders send their children and women outside the country for a better life,” he said.
“Our mothers, children, elderly people and youth are seeking for development and not war without objective – we need education, health and agriculture and not war,” Kordit continued to wild applause and cheers from the crowd.
He described Machar as “a master of messes”, accusing the rebel leader of being involved in a cycle of killings since 1991.
“Our public in rural villages of South Sudan are thinking where to get a meal for a day, not who to kill per day like comrade Riek Machar, [who] has chosen to killing innocent people without reason,” he said.
State SPLM chairperson Jemma Nunu Kumba and governor Joseph Bakasero were also in the attendance at the rally, which was held as a show of support for the elected government and to help promote harmony within the communities of Western Equatoria.