OpEd, Politics

Independence Day Celebration: Honoring Our History and Future with Freedom

BY Oyet Charles Salfa

South Sudan got her independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011. The World’s youngest county is bordered by Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic. Even after eleven years of her independence, the still depend on imported goods and commodities from neighboring countries making her economy one of the weakest and most underdeveloped in the world. The country is also ranked among the poorest, with poor infrastructure, high maternal mortality, and a lack of basic facilities such as running water and electricity. The Country is made up of ten state and administrative areas, South Sudan is one of the most diverse countries in Africa. It’s home to 64 tribes or ethnic groups which are native to South Sudan. Many of these ethnic groups share common culture and very closely-link cultural traits with intelligible languages which form distinct larger family units of Tribes in South Sudan. Unfortunately, independence did not bring conflict in South Sudan to an end.

Despite the poverty levels, South Sudan contains many natural resources; oil accounts for 98% of South Sudan’s government revenue Its reserves in the country are estimated to be 472 million tons, and the country is rich in fertile land that can support agriculture and food production, the most source of water is from river Nile which separated the country into two. There are several marble deposits and gold in the Kapoeta counties, Eastern Equatoria State. In addition, South Sudan has a few aluminum deposits with at least three of the areas containing the mineral in the value above 4.5%, and deposits of iron ore.  Although the country is enriched with natural resources and minerals, it remains largely unexploited due to the ongoing civil war and lack of proper infrastructure.

Some Key Dates in South Sudan Record

1899-1950 – South Sudan is part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, underneath dual British-Egyptian rule. In January 1899, an Anglo-Egyptian agreement reinstated Egyptian rule in Sudan but as part of a condominium, or joint authority, applied by the United Kingdom and Egypt. The agreement designated territory south of the twenty-second analogous to the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.

1952 – Egyptian revolution triggers a move toward Sudanese independence, Egypt and Britain allow both Sudanese regions, north and south, to vote for independence, but southerners still demand for their freedom.

1955-Torit mutiny, a year before South Sudanese, the “arrow incident” in which a soldier fired an arrow that missed a northern officer in Torit, several southern officers were detained, including Lieutenant Saturlino, who was suspected of being part of a conspiracy.

1956 – Sudan becomes an independent nation but southern states are unhappy with their lack of autonomy. The grievances, lack of cultural identity, and discriminatory attitude of the international occupiers in the past and the successive governments of the Northern.

1955-1972 – First Sudanese Civil War Between North and South over demands for more regional autonomy and self-rule government by the southern Sudan region.

1969 – Colonel Gaafar Nimeiry carries out a coup and overthrows the civilian government of Ismail al-Azhari. Parliament and political parties are obliterated. Numeiry introduces Sharia Islamic law in South Sudan.

1972 – The Addis Ababa Agreement was signed in the Ethiopian national capital city, a set of treaties that ended the First Sudanese Civil War (1955–1972) fighting in Sudan. The Addis Ababa Accords were fused into the Constitution of Sudan, but this fails to satisfactorily dispel tensions between the Southerners and Northerners.

1983-Not long after the Addis Ababa Agreement, a rebellious faction in Sudan the SPLA was formed by Lieutenant Colonel Dr. John Garang to quell a mutiny in Bor of 500 southern troops who were resisting orders to be rotated to the north.

2005- The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), was signed on 9 January 2005, by The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Dr. John Garang and the Government of Sudan to end the conflict. The CPA have emerged as prepopulated to give up the Second Sudanese Civil War, increase democratic governance countrywide, and percent oil revenues. It also established a clear timeline for a Southern Sudanese independence referendum in 2010.

2007- The SPLM withdrew from the Government of national unity (GoNU), condemning the central government of disrespect in terms of the CPA. Specifically, the SPLM pointed out that the Khartoum-based government, which is ruled by the National Congress Party, has now not withdrawn over 15,000 troops from southern oil fields in opposition to the implementation of the Protocol on Abyei.

2011 – South Sudan becomes an independent state, after more than 20 years of paramilitary fighting. Approximately two million people are estimated to have died because of war, famine, and disease caused by the conflict, and more than four million were displaced.

2012 – Discrepancies with Sudan over the oil-rich region of Abyei erupt into fighting, known as the Heglig Crisis. A peace deal was reached, creating a 10km demilitarized zone along the border and allowing South Sudan’s free oil exports to restart.

2013 – Civil war broke out in South Sudan after the president, Salva Kiir, sacks the cabinets and alleges Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar of planning an unsuccessful coup. Numerous people lost their lives and over 2.2 million humans are displaced with the aid of using the preventing and excessive famine places the lives of thousands of citizens flee to bordering countries like Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Congo, and Uganda.

2018- A transformed bid to end the civil war leads to a power-sharing agreement between the warring sides (SPLM IG led by Current president His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit and SPLM IO led by His Excellency Dr. Riek Machar).

2020- South Sudan formed the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU), which had long been provided for under Chapter 1 of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), signed between the government and opposition political parties on 12 September.

Significances of 12th Independence Anniversary

  1. Memorialization

Recalling Persons who were lost to a struggle can be a powerful form of memorialization that brings attention to the situations of a person’s death or disappearance. This amalgamated and public acknowledgment of individual lives being lost through violence is proficient through the collective efforts of individuals, communities, and institutions to name victims. We lost assiduous leaders like those who accepted to fight for the freedom of our people without asking for salaries or wages.

“Nationalism is nourished by a sense of history. It is of its essence to know profoundly the past, so that we may be in complete openness with the men who made that history and in intimate communion with their thoughts, their deeds, and their noble lives.” Okech Salfa Severino, Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State- South Sudan.

  1. To show your love for your country

In the last eleven anniversaries celebration of South Sudanese Independence Day prodigious desire or love for our country, this helps children and youths to learn about the nation’s history and become better and responsible citizens. Learning how to love South Sudan as a home for us and learning how to love our country happens through becoming familiar with the country’s people, culture, and history and taking an active role as a citizen. And once citizens develop a sense of what it means to live in your nation. In the past, a citizen was displaying their patriotism by wearing symbolic clothing, flying the flag, celebrating national holidays, and taking responsibility for the country.

“I have the desire to show to those who divest other people the right meaning of love for our country, that when we know how to sacrifice ourselves for our responsibilities and principles, death does not matter if one dies for that one love for his country and for others dear to him,” said Mr.  Lokolomoi, Kapoeta, South Sudan, a war veteran.

The writer is a Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Specialist.



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