January 3, 2017 (JUBA) - The South Sudan’s First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai has urged citizens, particularly those with grievances towards each other and government to forgive, forget and open new chapters in life for the sake of peace.
- Taban Deng Gai addresses delegates after he was sworn-in as South Sudan FVP inside the Presidential Palace in the capital of Juba, July 26, 2016 (Photo Reuters/ Jok Solomun)
Gai, who replaced rebel leader Riek Machar last year, made these remarks while speaking at a rally held in Yei River state on Tuesday.
“When two people do not talk to each other, God does not touch their files until they reconcile, though one must be on the right, they will not receive God’s blessing if they do not compromise”, he said.
The official said he was in the state to assess the general situation as part of his peace plan and programs to sensitize the population and members of the armed opposition faction, who are yet to respond to calls for cessation of hostilities and move to the cantonment sites.
“This year, how do we want it to be? We want it to be the year of peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and unity,” Gai said in a statement, broadcast on the state-owned South Sudan television (SSBC).
He added, “If you have a problem within the family, reconcile, tell the person who offended you that I have forgiven you. If you have grievances you want to be addressed by the government, come out and tell the president and I am sure he will listen to you and the problem will be solved. This is what we should do and this is what the New Year should be. We need to forgive and reconcile”.
Yei state is one of the states in Equatoria region which have been experiencing insecurity for the last five months since the renewed violence that erupted in the national capital Juba in July last year.
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes following the insecurity in the area. Observers have, however, doubted the extent to which Gail controls the armed opposition fighters.
Also although Gai claims to control rebel fighters in the area, he has shown no authority to end atrocities in Yei and its neighboring areas.
A few hours after the First Vice-President’s heavily guarded visit to Yei where he spent two nights and after he flew out of Yei, a bus was ambushed on Juba-Nimule road and civilians were killed.
Despite insecurity in the region, Gai is expected to visit Torit and Yambio in Equatoria region before touring Wau in Bahr el Ghazal region.