Bashir Visits Rumbek, Capital of Lakes State

After a year of peace after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between Government of Sudan and former Southern rebel movement SPLA/M, President Bashir made a surprise visit to Rumbek town, capital of Lakes State.

Thousands of people gathered at Rumbek Airstrip and Freedom Square to welcome the former enemy who had never been seen by many of the people since he took power and said no to self-determination, which for many years had been the controversial issue during the war. The First Vice-President and President of South Sudan, Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir, Minister for Finance, Minister for Road and Infrastructure, Minister of Higher Education and other dignitaries accompanied him.

In his opening address, he greeted the people in Arabic and told them that the there will be no war again. “What remained is development”, he said. “Before the war, Rumbek was one of the states said to be beautiful, but with effect of war it had became even worse, but no problem we shall bring it back.” “I know many youth have lost their chance for education due to war and this time, we are going to give them schools”, he said. “We shall also open vocational schools for those old people who have lost most of their time due to war” he added.

In his speech, President Bashir promised to do many things for Lakes state including the building of Rumbek-Bantiu-Khartoum highway, upgrading of Rumbek senior secondary school to a university, approval of current state hospital into higher health institution that will include training facilities for health improvement and electricity. The president also accepted the Governor’s request for television and radio station. But the question remains if the president’s words will be put into action.

His visit came just a week after a team of doctors from Khartoum left Rumbek gave some hospital equipment including an ambulance. However, his visit caused mix reactions among southerners. Some said, “After killing millions of people in the south, he is still telling them that he will do better.” “We don’t actually know the reason why we should wait for the killer,” said Ajak Chol who lost her husband in the battle of Rumbek in 1997.

The president donation had been seen as a step toward making peace attractive. Although there was tight security in the town, some people could not control their anger. One man was annoyed by the Sudan flag flying everywhere and managed to pull one flag down and stamp his feet on it. Security personnel immediately took him away to an unknown place.

As Lt. Gen. Kiir welcomed the president to address the people, he stated to the crowd “Omar used to come through bombs when we were in war, but now he came in person to shows that there will be no war.”

 

Posted in: Governance
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