Running for harmony: Residents of Morobo celebrate International Day of Peace

unmiss peace day marathon morobo central equatoria south sudan protection of civilians sustainable peace peacekeepers united nations peacekeeping

UNMISS and local communities in Morobo, Central Equatoria, came together to organize a 5-kilometer run to mark International Day of Peace. Photo by Surur Ali Ayile/UNMISS.

27 Sep 2021

Running for harmony: Residents of Morobo celebrate International Day of Peace

Surur Ali Ayile

“I’m really happy to participate in this run and am proud that women took the first and the second positions,” says Cecilia Sande from Morobo.

Since 2016, this 5-kilometer run has been a regular fixture in Morobo county, Central Equatoria, bringing people together in the spirit of unity in diversity.

“We want this competition to continue because it is not only an exercise for our bodies but also helps us unite as citizens of one country,” adds Cecilia.

For 56-year-old Moro Mathias, his age didn’t deter him from participating in this invigorating activity.

“I know that I’ll feel aches and pains soon enough. The last time I participated in any race was in 2002. But I wanted to come out with my fellow citizens and support the cause of durable peace in our country,” he states.

For Agnes Obba, peace means construction of roads, silencing of guns and unification of forces.

“I firmly believe that for us to have a sustained peace in South Sudan, we must end all forms of inter-ethnic divisions, learn to coexist with one another and unify our forces,” she asserts. “There cannot be a piecemeal peace; peace has to include everybody—our youth, our women, our men and our children.”

For his part, Angelo Obadia says he believes that peace means the presence of security and stability which allows all refugees in neighbouring countries to return home and rebuild their livelihoods.

“Following the civil war, most inhabitants of Morobo fled to neighboring countries like Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are South Sudanese and we must create the inclusive peace which will motivate them to return to their own country,” he states.

“Women and children have been most affected by ongoing outbreaks of conflict; children especially have no education and are idling away at home, while teachers from schools across the county dispersed to Juba or were killed,” he continues. “Our children are the future of South Sudan and without education, an entire generation will have lost all hope for a prosperous future.”

According to James Mawa, Commissioner, Morobo County, the time to leave the scars of the past behind and move forward has come.

“We all have a collective responsibility to eschew conflict and embrace one another as brothers and sisters. We are all South Sudanese and we must shape the future we want together,” averred the Commissioner.

 The run was organized jointly by UNMISS and the communities of Morobo to promote International Day of Peace by bringing people together, while keeping all COVID-19 preventive measures in place.