June 22, 2014 (KAMPALA) – Efforts to disseminate peace and reconciliation efforts among South Sudanese students have been hampered by lack of funds, the union’s leader revealed Sunday.
Peter Nin Tut told Sudan Tribune that many students had dropped out of university as a result of the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.
“It is the role of students to engage people on peace”, said Tut, but added that it was an uphill task to achieve this without financial aid from government.
"If the money is released, then also we will be to highlight and give hope to the students to support peace in South Sudan,” he stressed.
Several of the students interviewed equally urged the country’s leaders support their engagement in any-peace related initiative.
The union members also appealed to President Salva Kiir to fulfill his 2013 pledged to the students’ body. The South Sudanese leader, while attending a graduation ceremony for Masters students promised a $200,000 donation to the union, but has so far released only $50,000.
Tut, however, believes students play influential roles in promoting peace among South Sudanese tribes, describing the youth as the nation’s backbone.
"In this peace process, if we have capacity and if the government of South Sudan will understand our appeal, we will be able to conduct some conferences whereby the students can debate on certain matters bringing South Sudanese together,” said the union’s president.
He encouraged leaders of the two warring parties in the South Sudanese conflict to respect the peace process and protect lives of innocent civilians.
Meanwhile, union’s deputy president, Lual Jiel, told Sudan Tribune that tribalism was the monster dividing the people of South Sudan.
"As youth, we believe we have a big role to talk with each other in every part of the country,” said Jiel, adding, “But if I tell the government to support us financially, we will score for the unity of our people”.
The students’ union in Kampala, he said, has been inspiring peace among students, despite the current conflicts in the country. The union leadership has reportedly also been working alongside the South Sudanese embassy in Uganda to ensure students’ support for the government.