By Mary Poni
A civil society activist and the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO)Mr. Edmund Yakani, has urged the government to pay the unified forces good money in order to eradicate the chronic issues of unknown gunmen.
He made the appeal while delivering remarks on behalf of Civil Society organizations in the Country, yesterday during the graduation of the first batch of the unified forces at Dr. John Garang Mausoleum.
The activist welcomed the graduation of the forces as civil society but called on the government to prioritize on the salaries increment of the unified forces graduated yesterday.
“As civil societies, we embrace the step taken in graduating the unified forces as it was our wish to see it happening despite all the delays, it is better late than never,” Yakani stated.
“These are good forces and if the government adds good amount of money into their pockets, the unknown gunmen will disappear in the Country whereas, intercommunal violence will also stop and that will only happen if their salaries are well paid,” Yakani told the government at the graduation ceremony.
The activist said what they meant by political will, as members of civil society is what the unity government and parties to the Revitalized Peace Agreement have demonstrated with the graduation of unified forces, adding that is the political will that people, especially the South Sudanese have been demanding for long time.
“We have been saying, please demonstrate political will and commitment for transitioning our Country from violence to peace and today it is what we called the political will, commitment and primary responsibility to implement the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflicts in South Sudan,” he said.
The CEPO’s Executive director also urged the unified forces to eliminate the issue of the unknown gunmen.
He encouraged the forces not to follow politicians, saying, as they take their oath, their allegiance is to the Country and its citizens adding the unified forces should be committed to their responsibilities to show the nation their neutrality.
“When politicians want to run to bush, jump in to the river or fly on air, don’t follow them with the uniforms because the uniforms belong to the nation, not for tribalism neither politicians” Yakani advised.
Yakani emphasized that the uniforms are meant to protect the flag and the citizens of South Sudan “never ever allow yourselves to be messed up by politicians” he cautioned the unified forces graduates.
“What we demand from you as unified forces is to offer us as individuals, communities and society’s safety and security for every South Sudanese in the country,” he further said.
He said the parliament or council of the ministers should have the playing field for them (the politicians) to iron out their grievances once they disagree, for them to reach consensus.
Yakani urged IGAD for more transformations of the graduated unified forces and also commit to its responsibility that they are standing with the people of South Sudan.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil Anthony lauded the unified forces for enduring the difficult conditions in the training centers coupled with the delay of the graduation.
“We thank the graduated forces for their commitment and the courage amidst the doubting challenges that led to the delay of their graduation,” he said.
“The government is proud for the determination the unified graduated forces have taken up on serving the nation in defense,” he added.
“As we celebrate this day, it is the greatness of our will being lifted once again as the dawn of lasting peace has finally come” he said.
Adding that, “it is important that all of us stood with President Kiir to defend and promote the peace till today so that we can achieve the aspiration of our people as one people, one nation.”
He congratulated the youth and women for always standing with the leaders of the Country.