News / Africa

South Sudan Marks Third Independence Day, Despite War

FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) hold a priest's hands before signing an earlier peace agreement in Addis Ababa May 9, 2014.FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) hold a priest's hands before signing an earlier peace agreement in Addis Ababa May 9, 2014.
x
FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) hold a priest's hands before signing an earlier peace agreement in Addis Ababa May 9, 2014.
FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) hold a priest's hands before signing an earlier peace agreement in Addis Ababa May 9, 2014.
James Butty

South Sudan Wednesday is commemorating the third anniversary of its separation from Sudan.  

But, some say there’s very little to celebrate in the midst of a civil war that has displaced much of the country’s population, famine on the horizon, and corruption.  

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Tuesday urged President Salva Kiir and rebel leader and former Vice President Riek Machar to live up to the expectations of their people by laying down their arms and returning to the negotiating table.

Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said South Sudanese have a lot to celebrate because they have freedom.  He said the rebels, who he describes as “trouble makers,” have been obstructing negotiations aimed at ending the civil war.

“Preparations are on time.  It is a great jubilation that we are getting to the third year of our independence, and the people of the Republic of South Sudan, despite the rebellion, are ready to celebrate their Independence Day in jubilation and happiness.  And, we believe that we will overcome the challenges we have,” he said.

Benjamin says South Sudan will emerge from its conflict just like most other countries that have had similar problems.

“There is no country on the continent that has not had crisis, including countries like South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, and everywhere there are problems, but you don’t forget the essence of your dignity and freedom. And that’s why we celebrate,” Benjamin said.

Peace talks being mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, have been stalled due to disagreement over the participation of civil society organizations and faith-based groups.

The rebels have boycotted the talks, arguing that civil society organizations, religious groups and other political parties should not be part of negotiations.

Benjamin said the rebels, whom he describes as “trouble makers,” have been obstructing negotiations aimed at ending the civil war.

“It is the rebels, especially the leader of the rebels, Dr. Riek Machar, who had written to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, who is the chair of IGAD, saying that they will not come to the talks if the stakeholders are included in the negotiation process.  So, the talks are held up because of the rebel position, not the position of the government, and I think the United Nations is aware of that,” Benjamin said.

He said there is corruption everywhere, including in South Sudan.  But, Benjamin said Kiir has dealt with the menace by weeding out the corrupt officials of government.

“Corruption is everywhere throughout the world, including where you are. But, that cannot make people really to forget the vision of their freedom. And, the government is doing a lot in order to curb corruption.  That’s why the government was able also to make some reshuffle, where some were taken out of the government,” Benjamin said.

Butty interview with Benjamin
Butty interview with Benjamini
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

 

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid