Leaders call for reconciliation as they pay last respect to ex-speaker Bol

Leaders call for reconciliation as they pay last respect to ex-speaker Bol

Mourners gathered yesterday at Freedom Hall in Juba to pay their last respect to the late Joseph Bol Chan, the former speaker of the Council of States who died last week in Khartoum, Sudan.

The national leaders, Bol’s friends, family members and colleagues have described the deceased as a leader of the peace who worked towards uniting all South Sudanese regardless of their ethnic background and region.

Addressing mourners who gathered at the hall, the First Vice President Dr Riek Machar called on the people of Upper Nile State to use the death of late Joseph Bol Chan to reconcile and unite among themselves.

“Bol’s death should act as a unifying factor to the people Upper Nile,” Machar said.

Dr Machar said Bol’s death was a great loss to South Sudan especially the country’s leadership.

According to Dr Machar, Bol’s commitment to serving as the speaker of Council of States for 10 years was not an easy task as Members of Parliament are difficult to control in their business and he doubted if some else can do the same.

“He was our first speaker for council of States and it was not for a short time, he has held this position for a long time. I don’t know if someone else can make it because 10 years as a speaker is not easy. After all, the Members of Parliament sometimes are like students, [you have to] control them, administer them, listen to their voice and you spend 10 years in it? This is not an easy task,” he said.

He stressed that people like the late Bol who contributed to the liberation struggle of South Sudan through writing should be recognised because it was not easy to tackle the issues of the liberation struggle at that time when it was not safe to talk about the situation of the then Sudan.

“I want to assure you that those who use their pens in the liberation struggle, we recognise them. It was difficult to be a journalist during that time but Bol did it. So I want to assure you that this is recognized”.

Meanwhile, speaking as an elder from the Upper Nile, Onyoti Adigo, the Minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries used the platform to urge the partners of the peace agreement to reconcile and embrace peace among themselves to implement the agreement in letter and spirit.

Onyoti called on the parties to the agreement to imitate the legacy of late Bol Chan, who is an icon to many so that they can unite the people of South Sudan. He proposed that the government should name one of the institutions in the country after late Bol Chan to remember the legacy he left behind.

“We need to accept one another regardless of our political affiliations and regardless of our ethnicity. We have accepted ourselves as the people of the Republic of South Sudan. Joseph was not a tribalist, and that is why he accepted everybody,” Onyoti has urged.

“He was accepting everybody, big and small, male and female; all were equal and that is the life we need to adopt as leaders of South Sudan,” Onyoti added.

The Governor of Central Equatoria State Emmanuel Adil Anthony described him as one of the humble leaders in South Sudan.

Adil also used the opportunity to echo his call on the leaders of South Sudan to stop the conflicts in the country noting that the citizens have suffered enough and the leaders need to commit themselves to implement the agreement.

“For us as children of elder joseph Bol Chan, who have known him; he was one of the most humble leaders. This country has lost and this I can speak for sincerity,” Adil lamented.

“Fellow South Sudanese, in honour of our brother Joseph Bol Chan let us embrace peace, embrace unity, reconciliation. We really have fought ourselves enough let us be sincere and we have to be genuine and do we what we speak, we should not say peace and we are detailing to create chaos and to us the leaders including myself,” Adil stressed.

Deng Deng Akoon, the current speaker of the Council of States who took over from the late former speaker called on his colleagues in the Parliament to support him as he assumes the role the late played during his time.

Deng said they will name one of the halls in the Council of States after late Bol Chan once the construction work of the building is completed.

Joseph Bol Chan who was the first speaker of the Upper House of the Parliament served for 10 years since the independence of South Sudan in 2011 before his demise.

He succumbed to heart failure after battling sickness for a very long time even when he was the speaker of the Council of States until the two houses were revitalised this year as part of implementing the agreement signed in 2011.

His remains will be flown to his home village Malakal where he will be buried.