- Riek Machar officiates at the Great Run Marathon organised by South Sudan Great Run Association in Juba, July 9, 2021 (courtesy photo)
July 11, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s First Vice-President, Riek Machar has said the government will support sport as a tool aimed at promoting peace and unity in the East African nation.
He made the remarks while officiating at the Great Run Marathon organised by South Sudan Great Run Association under the theme “Lets Run for Better Future of South Sudan,” in Juba on Friday.
Machar also congratulated the people of South Sudan on the occasion to celebrate 10 years of independence from neighbouring Sudan. The event was marked with a marathon that attracted thousands of people with shared objectives to promote peace, unity as well as co-existence.
He appealed to the people of South Sudan to preserve peace, saying it is the only way to achieve the goals they have set aside for themselves towards a peaceful, prosperous and united nation.
In attendance were Vice Presidents James Wani Igga, Taban Deng Gai, Rebbecca Nyandeng, several top government officials official and representatives of the diplomatic corp and mission.
South Sudan gained independence on July 9, 2011, but two years later, violence exploded in the country leaving an estimated 400,000 dead and millions displaced into the neighbouring nations.
The South Sudanese First Vice President also acknowledged the high expectations of citizens from the country’s leaders when independence was attained a decade ago.
“Our people expect a lot from us. The world is also expecting a lot from us [and] for us to continue celebrations every time, we need to keep the peace alive,” he said.
In 2009, Machar, President Salva Kiir and politicians from South Sudan were hosted at a Vatican retreat, during which Pope Francis knelt at their feet as he urged them not to return to conflict.