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Museveni calls for unity in diversity in war-torn S. Sudan

May 22, 2017 (JUBA) - President Yoweri Museveni has urged the people of South Sudan to embrace unity for prosperity and development warning that the misuse of identity can paralyze and endanger their nation.

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Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni speaks at the national dialogue launch in South Sudan, May 22, 2017 (PPU photo)

“There are three problems; misuse of identity. This can paralyze and endanger any nation. Why insist on identity at the expense of other people. The issue of identity broke up Sudan,” he said at the launch of South Sudan’s national dialogue and swearing in of the steering committee members.

Museveni arrived in South Sudan direct from Dar es Salaam where he assumed the EAC chairmanship, to attend the ceremony at the invitation of President Salva Kiir.

The launch was held at the Freedom Hall in Juba under the theme: Redefining the basis of our unity and sense of common purpose through the national dialogue.

“Yes identity is important but it can be misused. Why are you not concerned about prosperity, about common interests? Emphasizing identity and forgetting common interests is very dangerous. Our other disadvantage is backwardness in technology and science,” he said.

Museveni said he came to Juba to lend his support to the effort to promote dialogue for peace.

“I salute Salva Kiir for inviting all stakeholders to discuss the problems that afflict the people of South Sudan,” said the Ugandan leader.

A 94-member steering committee for national dialogue was sworn in to start the work of bringing harmony and peace to the people of South Sudan. The committee co-chaired by Molana Abel Alier and Angelo Beda Bangboru comprises of distinguished members of the country including religious leaders and professionals as well as politicians. Among them is Mrs. Rebecca de Mabior widow to fallen leader of South Sudan Garang De Mabior.

The National dialogue initiated by President Kiir is both a forum and process through which the people South Sudan shall gather to redefine the basis of their unity as it relates to nationhood, redefine citizenship and belonging, as well as restructure the state for national inclusion.

President Museveni, who was chief guest commended his South Sudananese counterpart for initiating the national dialogue and called on the people of South Sudan to support the ruling party (SPLM).

“SPLM is a strong movement and has respect of the people of South Sudan that is why it won by over 99 percent. Where did you get all that support…the Dinkas, Nuer and people from Equatorial province. How can you let them down? This is very good political capital which you cannot squander, you should revive SPLM and weed out all those subversive ideas,” stressed Museveni.

He called on political leaders to avoid thinking of administrative/government positions only but revitalizes the private sector, which will in turn create jobs and pay taxes leading to national development.

The Ugandan leader, in his speech, also called for transparency and dialogue where meetings should be convened to raise issues in the right forum instead of using force. He castigated the use of force saying that it should be a last resort and specifically targeted.

“Force is like a surgeon who after identifying a problem cuts you up to fix it after other means have failed. But even then it’s targeted to remove only the disease. But when this is repeated, it becomes butchery not surgery,” he said.

Museveni also against the use of violence in every situation and urged the South Sudanese government not to tolerate impunity in cases of killings, rape and defilement especially by armed forces by enforcing strict discipline to enable it gain the confidence of the masses.

(ST)