By Spy Uganda
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni joined other regional leaders in calling for a lasting peace in South Sudan which he believes will bring economic independence in the country.
Museveni was among the dignitaries and diplomats who graced the graduation of the first batch of Necessary Unified Forces in Juba, yesterday.
Dressed in his famous white shirt, the Ugandan president rallied other heads of states and governments, from across the IGAD bloc, in calling for economic independence of South Sudan, a young country still grappling with myriad of challenges, including insecurity.
The graduation of forces is a key step in the implementation of revitalised peace agreement.
Museveni emphasised the need for a peaceful South Sudan, adding that agriculture will only thrive if there is peace in the country.”
“Jobs are in commercial agriculture, industries and tourism etc. But all these need peace. Without peace, you will not have agriculture or industries in South Sudan and therefore you will not grow with the rest of Africa,” he added.
Museveni also appealed to the international community to support South Sudan in implementing the remaining chapter of the peace agreement.
“I was told that this graduation was delayed due to lack of funds. I want to challenge key [peace] partners to bring that money here. They should not just talk,” added Museveni.
“Africa has suffered so much over the last 700 years. Slave trade, colonialism, underdevelopment, and hunger, all have been here with us. They are caused mainly by two problems: the greed of foreigners who always take advantage of Africans and our own internal mistakes.
“By 1900, the whole of Africa, except Ethiopia, had been colonized. How could we allow foreigners to come and take over our continent? These are partly due to internal fighting amongst ourselves,” stressed Museveni in his appeal for unity amongst South Sudanese for economic independence.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan said in her speech read by Ambassador of Tanzania to South Sudan, Stephen Simbachawene that the graduation of forces was a firm commitment by Juba to implementing the remaining chapters of the revitalized peace agreement.
“This would have not been possible without the commitment of all parties involved and the stakeholders who supported South Sudan. We remain committed to supporting South Sudan to attain a lasting peace through mediation processes,” said President Suluhu.
Rwanda which also passed through a difficult period of conflict said that they are more than willing to share useful lessons and insights that may be useful for obtaining lasting peace in South Sudan.
“The government and the people of Rwanda are firmly on the side of our brothers and sisters as you forge a path towards peace, stability and prosperity. We will always be glad to share any insight that may be useful to use in your context,” Albert Murasira, Rwanda’s Ministry of defence said.
“Though it appeared difficult from the advantage point where we stand today, the government of Ethiopia is highly optimistic that today’s event marks a great leap in ending the roadmap put forward by the South Sudan parties. This will herald a new chapter for unity, peace and prosperity for the people of South Sudan,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in his speech read by a special representative.
The parties [2018 Addis Ababa agreement] have shown impressive compromise by reaching an understanding by putting a roadmap. That deserves recognition.
“It gave direction and confidence to those of us, who had been concerned about the expiry of the original agreement, by providing a realistic timeline toward a democratic election at the end of the transition period.
“Most importantly, the parties agreed and negotiated and agreed to resolve their difference without a second party intervention. This is an indication that the parties to the agreement have displayed the necessary commitment that the world had been longing for.
“Ethiopia, therefore, encourages the parties to the agreement to hold on to this momentum, which will definitely improve the lives of the people of South Sudan. Ethiopia will continue to support full implementation of the peace agreement,” added Abiy.