Hundreds of citizens enjoy an advocacy for peace rally in Yambio
Modern and traditional singers as well as comedians spiced up an advocacy for peace event in Yambio designed to educate local communities about the revitalized agreement and to encourage them to be ambassadors for peace.
Hundreds of residents from areas surrounding Yambio in Western Equatoria gathered together for the event which was held under the theme “building durable peace together”.
“Today we are happy because we have just been hearing that there is peace now. It is good that we have heard. Now we understand the peace process very well,” said Margaret Nako, a resident of Masia.
Emmanuel Fidel, a resident from Baiparu, said he was previously confused about the process for forming a new transitional government and how the politically sensitive issue of deciding future states and boundaries would be addressed.
“But I understand here today that this issue will be resolved, and I also found out that the government will be formed in the near future. This is very relevant to me,” he said.
The citizens at the event listened to presentations from members of the National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC) covering eight chapters of the revitalized peace agreement which was signed by warring parties in September 2018.
The head of the NPTC dissemination unit, Simon Ngbidigi, said his team was mandated under the peace agreement to share it with all the citizens of South Sudan because “the people are the custodians of this agreement.”
“Citizens must understand the key provisions of the peace agreement and it is only when they understand the provisions of this peace agreement that they can be able to support it and, if they can support this peace agreement, then they can be able to own it,” he said.
Participants in the events also had the opportunity to ask questions about the peace process.
“If the current leaders are unable to bring peace, how difficult is it for them to leave their ruling chairs for the sake of peace?” asked one concerned woman.
“Why were people not asked to increase the number of states?” asked another gentleman.
In response, Simon Ngbidigi said: “the leaders are working hard to compromise over the outstanding issues so that they can form the government of national unity and that will pave way for general elections in which citizens will be free to elect the leaders of their choice.”
“If the issue of states can’t be resolved through the ongoing discussions, there is a possibility that the citizens will be the ones to decide it through a referendum,” Ngbidigi added.
The rally was organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in partnership with the NPTC.
The UNMISS Head of Field Office in Yambio, Christopher Murenga, seized the opportunity to reiterate the mission’s commitment to supporting the peace process.
“I would like to assure everybody here of our commitment, the United Nations and partners, to support you, the people of South Sudan, and to make sure that (peace) happens. It is up to everybody here, all the people of South Sudan to, with one voice say no, we do not want war, we are requiring peace and we will only move forward for peace,” he said.