KAMPALA- President Yoweri Museveni who attended the peace celebrations on Wednesday in Juba, S. Sudan, asked leaders never to use wars to solve disputes.
The President made the remarks as rebel leader Riek Machar returned to the country for the first time in two years.
Museveni said war should never be used again to solve political arguments between brothers and sisters, saying war is wasteful and this was an unnecessary conflict adding that political arguments can be solved through discussions or free and fair elections.
“It is ideologically incorrect to use war for an argument. Also, make sure state institutions are national to build people’s confidence,” he said.
“Thank you very much for attending to logic in the end and signing. The grinding stone that the people of South Sudan have been carrying has now been put down. We have performed ceremonies of peace and African ceremonies are very serious. Am sure this is the end of the conflict in South Sudan,” the President said.
He made the remarks while addressing thousands of people who braved the day’s heat for over 10 hours at the Dr. John Garang de Mabior Mausoleum in Juba to celebrate the peace day.
Mr. Museveni said, “War is wasteful. You have lost a lot of development time. In 2005 during the interim period, Juba was a very small town near the river. Now it has grown wide. If we had not had this war between 2013 – 2015, there would have been even greater development. Make covenant like the one Israel made with God. No war to solve political arguments between brothers and sisters.”
Together with other regional leaders including Sudan’s President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, that of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo Mohamed, Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde and Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly for the peace celebration day at the invitation of President Salva Kiir.
Mr. Museveni and Bashir are both guarantors to the revitalised peace agreement.
The President cautioned the leaders against the dangers of pushing sectarianism of identity, including tribalism, religion, etc and forgetting development and economic transformation that is important for all people.
“I want to thank President [Omar] Bashir who took the last initiative in peacemaking. Am glad we have done it. Am happy you shunned foreigners who want to establish hegemony over Africa by using weak enemies to divide us. Foreigners wanted South Sudan to become a vacuum like Libya and Somalia. Somalia is now coming up,” he said.
Opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar thanked President Museveni for his unwavering support to the peace process in South Sudan and for always being on call for the people of South Sudan.
The celebrations held under the theme “celebrating the dawn of peace, appreciating friends, cherishing reconciliation and Unity,” saw all the Presidents present at the peace ceremony dressed in ceremonial white linen lose clothing, green waist ribbon and blue neck lance by traditional women. The women also set free doves and balloons to symbolize the return of peace to South Sudan.