May 3, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s parliamentary speaker, Magok Rundial, has rejected claims South Sudan is at risk of becoming a failed state, saying there are no indications that the country could disintegrate into smaller, tribal-based administration units.
- Civilians recover in Unity state capital Bentiu after a recent surge in ethnic violence after the strategic town was recaptured by rebel forces from government troops
The comments come despite growing international concerns that the country is descending into full-scale civil war amid a looming humanitarian catastrophe.
However, Rundial maintains the conflict, which erupted in mid-December last year, is open to different interpretations and claims South Sudan is a failed state are politically motivated.
“Some people have talked of [a] failed state, others have talked of disintegration and others are now expressing fears of genocide. I want to tell you this, and this is exactly the meaning of all these interpretations, the people who are talking about this have their own hidden political agenda to cover,” he told Sudan Tribune on Saturday.
“I want to tell you that any suggestion that South Sudan is, or is at risk of becoming, a failed state is either ignorant of the resilience of our people or offensive and inappropriate,” he added.
Rundial described the new nation as democracy that “protects the rights of minorities regardless of ethnicity or religion”, saying the use of the term such as “failed state” undermined efforts to achieve peace and social harmony in the country.
He also urged South Sudan’s youth not to become embroiled in tribal politics and tensions.
“I would like to tell our young people – the youth to whom the future of this country belongs to – not [to] emotionally accept to be loaded with historically inaccurate tribal narratives about other tribes or region,” he added.
“You must reject any double standard claim by any leader wanting to use you as a ladder for leadership position,” he added.
The speaker made the remarks at a meeting with youth leaders from greater Unity state on Saturday.
Thousands of people have been killed and more than a million displaced in the conflict, which is now entering its fifth month.
South Sudan has come increased international scrutiny in recent weeks following a fresh wave of ethnic violence in Unity and Jonglei states in which civilians were targeted.
In the strongest comments yet on South Sudan both US state secretary and John Kerry and senior UN officials have warned the country is facing a possible genocide.