June 8, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan can only realise peace and development if its leaders promote the type of democracy that does not tolerate violence, the speaker of its national assembly said.
- South Sudan assembly speaker Magok Rundial (The Niles/Daniel Deng)
“The freedom and the independence of this country did not just fall from the sky. It came after millions of lives of our people were sacrificed. Those who died for this country wanted us to live in peace", Magok Rundial told Sudan Tribune Sunday.
"They would not have accepted to die if they knew that one day, we would turn against ourselves just because someone wants to be a president and another wants to a governor or a minister. South Sudan is bigger than individuals", he added.
The speaker challenged the country’s political party leaders to promote nonviolence and democracy in the wake of the ongoing conflict, now entering its sixth month.
“This country will be peaceful and respected by others, if our people and the leaders reject violence democracy. This is how the western countries and their governments, which we try to imitate, do it. They do not take up arms to change the system or government they do not want", said Rundial
He added, "They change their governments and systems through ballets, not bullets, because if you do that, you pick the gun and fight as a way to achieve democracy , you will certainly loose the meaning and the message".
Meanwhile, the speaker said the country’s legislative assembly had failed to carry out its oversight activities due to lack of funds needed for it to properly function.
“People say this parliament is not working. It is not supervising the executive arm of our government and it is not legislating necessary laws. I tell you the parliament is working very hard. We are on top of all the issues which concerns our people", he said.
Members of the assembly, the speaker said, just returned from recess where they had gone to enlighten their constituents on what actually caused the mid-December violence outbreak.
"We felt the necessity for the sensitization of our people because the conflict has been misinterpreted. There are people who say it is a tribal conflict between Nuer and Dinka, which is wrong", Rundial told Sudan Tribune.
"I would not have remained in the government if it were a tribal conflict between the two tribes", he added, stressing it is a political and not tribal conflict.
Almost a million people, the United Nations says, have been displaced as a result of the conflict, which has reportedly killed thousands of people in the new nation.