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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells 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 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.

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