JUBA, 17 March 2010 – The Collo community in Juba have affirmed their unwavering support for the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) and its candidates in the forthcoming elections. During a community meeting held at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba yesterday, the community denied some reports that it had ditched the party.
Community leaders explained that the Collo should not be branded in any way just because some of their members have taken certain political routes. “We loudly condemn those who are used by the enemy to sabotage the right of the people of Southern Sudan”, said Mr. William Ezekiel, a community leader who also asserted that the Collo community will continue to work hand in hand with the rest of the communities in Southern Sudan to realize full liberation of the people. “We announce here in broad daylight that we support SPLM and President Salva Kiir Mayardit, unequivocally”, he said.
Mr. Budo Oju, a youth representative emphasized the historical participation of the Collo community in the liberation struggle adding that their livelihoods were also affected just like the other Southern Sudanese communities. “We cannot isolate ourselves from the other communities now from the continued liberation struggle”, he said. He cautioned the community to beware of people out to purchase votes with money. “Money is not as precious as the blood shed by our people during the struggle”, he asserted.
Speaking on behalf of Collo women (DIERO), Hon. Banguot Amum, an outgoing representative of Pibor in the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) and wife of the late Cdr. Nyachigak NyaColok who died in the frontline during the struggle, reiterated their support for SPLM and assured the party that its candidates will carry the day in Collo land.
Acknowledging the support by the community on behalf of the party, the SPLM deputy secretary general for the Southern Sector, Dr. Anne Itto commended the Collo for remaining steadfast in the party of that exemplifies their struggle, triumph and hope. She urged the community to stay focused and not be swayed by latter-day liberators, especially at this critical time in the country’s history.
“Sudan is at the cross-roads...it is an historic moment in the life of the country”, she said adding that the people must respond clearly and give direction and where they want to be in future and how to get there. “You have been part of the struggle since its inception; you did not spare anything or anybody but gave your all for the sake of the liberation and the future generations”, she recalled.
Dr. Itto also cautioned the people to be cautious and beware of people claiming to “follow Dr. John Garang” yet denying SPLM and its manifesto. “You have spoken by organizing this meeting and confirmed that you do not lost people and parties”, she commended.
She urged all Sudanese of goodwill to support H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit in his quest for the GOSS presidency saying that he has demonstrated his vision and commitment to the total liberation of the country. Dr Itto explained that H.E. Kiir has remained focused amidst challenges and delivered dividends of peace as exemplified by the achievements of his government for the past five years.
Dr. Itto also advised the people not to desert the movement just when the “harvest is about to be garnered”. Using the analogy of a farmer, she explained that no one would till land, sow, and weed then leave the grains to be eaten by birds. She explained that anyone deserting the SPLM is like such a farmer. “We have spent too much in the struggle to be free and develop ourselves; we didn’t fight to remain in misery”, she concluded.
The occasion was graced by various traditional dancers and poets. The leaders, including Dr. Itto, lauded the Collo for seasoned culture and encouraged them to preserve them. “This free expression of our culture is part of what we were fighting for”, Dr. Itto said.
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