News / Africa

On South Sudan Independence Day, President has Promises to Keep

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (left) watches an Independence Day parade in Juba on July 9, 2014 with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (right).
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (left) watches an Independence Day parade in Juba on July 9, 2014 with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (right).
Philip Aleu

South Sudanese may have little to cheer about as they mark the third anniversary of their country's independence in the midst of a seven-month-old conflict that has killed thousands and displaced more than 1.5 million, but they should not give up hope for their young country, analysts say.

President Salva Kiir and other politicians pledged on July 9, 2011 -- the day the world's newest nation was born after a long struggle for freedom from Sudan -- to improve the lives of South Sudanese, to build schools in all ten states within 100 days, and more, analysts recall.

But none of those promises has been delivered, and instead, the country has been mired in war since December, corruption is widespread, famine is looming and hundreds of thousands of people are living in appalling conditions in camps for the displaced.

Promise 1: peace deal that sticks

James Alic Garang, an analyst at the Juba-based Ebony Center for Strategic Studies, told South Sudan in Focus the first pledge Mr. Kiir has to deliver on is the signing of a peace deal that sticks.

Mr Kiir and his main rival in nearly seven months of conflict, former vice president Riek Machar, have signed several peace deals and ceasefire agreements, but all have been violated almost as soon as they were signed.

The regional bloc the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has been trying for more than six months to restore peace in South Sudan, but has so far had little success. Last month, IGAD put those Addis Ababa peace negotiations on indefinite hold.

When the negotiations finally get back on track, Alic said Mr. Kiir has to "... assure the nation that as peace returns, he will work on economic issues."

"Economic issues have taken a back seat in this country for years," Alic said. Mr. Kiir has to "give agriculture what it deserves, invest in infrastructure so that each South Sudanese has food on the table," he said.

Short, sad history

Alic said that since the signing the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that formally ended the war with Sudan, little has changed in South Sudan.

Independence in 2011 also brought little improvement to the lives of South Sudanese. In its first two years, the country teetered on the brink of a new war with Sudan after switching off its oil — South Sudan's only source of foreign revenue  — amid a row with Khartoum over pipeline transit fees.

Gross domestic product fell from $2,300 per capita in 2011 to $1,100 in 2012, before inching up to $1,400 last year.

Buck stops with Kiir

"President Kiir has said a lot of things that he later failed to deliver," Alic said, calling on the president to do more to make good on his promises.

"He may say he is not the only one in the government, but he is the captain of the ship. The buck stops with him," Alic said.

Augustino Ting Mayai of the Sudd Institute said Mr. Kiir has to ensure that someone is held accountable for the millions of dollars that have gone missing from public coffers, and for human rights abuses that have been committed during the conflict.

In spite of the unrest and the government's shortcomings and outright failures, Mayai expects things will improve.

"People have the right to be pessimistic, but I think that there is potential for change in the country," he said.

"We should be hopeful... even though the president has failed in some areas in the past, we shouldn't always think that the future looks bleak," he said.

 

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lisa from: Tx
July 10, 2014 12:00 AM
GOD BLESS, South sudanese mostly at this time when we remember that we are free north Sudan government. Me as person i was so happy because of both of my grandparents where killed during that time i was thinking that we are free now but instead my grandparents fought for nothing the killing started and this is very bad because some of my friends are refugees in camps just being displace from home. When my father was dying last 10 year ago he said you have peace but you have to know to pray even if we have peace, but most of south sudanese forgot that they suffered so many years instead they started worshiping money and they forgot about prayers even helping the poor. I remember during the war we had unity we took care of each other we did not say your from dinkas or nuer, an achoil or zanda. Madi or loutuko we are all south sudanese. Most of the people never fight against each other, when this war started a dinkas ordering to another tribe the nuers. I felt so mad because nuer people have lived in my grandparents tukul even before i was born my father told my brothers and sisters that we are all Gods people i did know that my father loved every body. Am not a dinka or nuer but am in love with everybody in Jesus name. we should love one another pls, Mr presendent we have to pray for the souls of the December killings, we should not forget that they where humans. One more thing yes you care about the innocent. Mr kiir. Let their soul be in peace with you then you understand that God loves you too. Kiir, if its Gods will you will stop the killing remember everybody is asking you, or step a side and pray for whom you want to help bring peace look in their heart you might hate Dr riek but am asking you openly in the name of Jesus transfer power to him believe me God will have mercy on you and your family. Just pray to God pls.we have lost more then enough, we have suffered so much some of us grow up in this war, even your own kids Mr kiir, let your children know that you brought peace again forever. People close to you don't care but look in your kids eyes and remember the rest in the camps.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More