UNMISS partners with state government in Eastern Equatoria to celebrate a decade of South Sudan’s independence

UNMISS Independence Day South Sudan Eastern Equatoria 10 years Peace Peacekeeping Peacekeepers United Nations

Some 3,000 people across Eastern Equatoria, South Sudan, came together in a colorful and heartfelt celebration marking the 10-year independence anniversary of this young nation. Photo by Moses Yakudu/UNMISS.

13 Jul 2021

UNMISS partners with state government in Eastern Equatoria to celebrate a decade of South Sudan’s independence

Moses Yakudu

“At this significant moment in South Sudan’s history, I encourage you to work with the government to fully implement all provisions of the Revitalized Peace Agreement,” said Caroline Waudo, the Head of the UNMISS Field Office in Eastern Equatoria.

Ms. Waudo was addressing some 3,000 people drawn from all communities across the state who convened at Torit Freedom Square to celebrate a decade of independence in world’s youngest nation, under the theme Building Peace Together.

To mark the occasion, UNMISS and the state government teamed up to disseminate peace messages among academics, politicians, youth representatives, women and community leaders as well as members of South Sudan’s armed forces gathered here.  

More than 17 primary and secondary school students and representatives of business communities were present as well and everybody joined a procession led by local uniformed personnel with a marching band.

“I am happy today and waiting to witness a durable peace which will ensure that students like me never have to attend schools outside our country,” Odong Philip, a 15-year-old student attending the festivities, after taking his primary school certificate examination in Uganda this year.

For his part, Jacob Attari, the new Acting Commissioner of Torit county, underlined the importance of peaceful coexistence. “The people of Torit have been plagued by criminality and general insecurity,” revealed Acting Commissioner Attari. “I would like to use this opportunity to encourage everybody to eschew violence and embrace peace. Peace is the bedrock of sustainable development and a prosperous future for all of us.”

The need for economic and social development was also highlighted by David Orupi, Chair of the State Youth Union. “Young people need jobs, they need to make a living and have the opportunity to secure a stable future,” he stated. “On behalf of youth across the state, I urge the government to prioritize developmental projects and livelihood opportunities for us.”

Governor Louis Lobong Lojore, in his remarks, highlighted the need for strong, unbiased leadership. “As leaders, our job is to work for the people, for their welfare. We must concentrate on the push for durable peace if we want future generations to have a better life, so I call on all of you to embrace social harmony so that the current insecurity in our state can soon be a thing of the past,” he averred.

“We should be leaders who are mindful of the general welfare of our communities, we should not allow people butcher themselves on daily basis at our very watchful eyes,” cautioned Louis Lobong Lojore, governor of Eastern Equatoria State. “The raising insecurity in our state is the work of politicians who are driven by their individual interest, our people are sincerely instigated to cause this current insecurity”

Apart from speeches, the colorful ceremony saw cultural performances from diverse communities living here and is the first large public gathering in the state since the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold in the young nation.