By Dr. James Okuk
July 31, 2011 (SSNA) — The speech that was delivered by President Salva Kiir Mayardit on the Anniversary Day of the South Sudan Martyrs is very encouraging. I HOPE IT WILL BE TRANSLATED INTO REAL ACTIONS before it disappears into the thin air. If President Kiir could use wisely the dictatorial government powers he has got with the independence of South Sudan, I have no doubt that it will be for the greatest good of South Sudan. But if he misuses these powers, South Sudan is going to be a loser despite its freedom from the oppressive Sudan. Good Leadership with principles of the practice of good governance is our missing link in the newest country. You need to bridge this with courage Mr. President! Every honest South Sudanese will be with on this noble journey. Please God help South Sudan to start on the right path of genuine development!
Dr. James Okuk
· Today is the First Anniversary of Martyrs Day in the new independent Republic of South Sudan – a dream that has come true!
· Before proceeding to commemorate this heroic day, let us rise up and pay tribute (by observing a moment of silence) to all those who perished in order for us to become independent and join the family of nations on top of whom is our leader and hero, Dr John Garang De Mabior.
· I would like us to reflect and ask ourselves as to what would be the best way to honour our fallen valiant heroes and heroines? What can we do as a reward to all those who have lost parts of their bodies? What about for those who have been orphaned or widowed because of the long struggle for Justice, Liberty and Prosperity?
· To me personally, there is nothing material worth the sacrifices of our fallen martyrs other than working to build this nation for posterity. Nation building requires cohesion, hard work, honesty, and self-sacrifice. It is even more than that – it is building a national conscience!
· We are all now South Sudanese and being Fertit or Luo of Western Bahr El Ghazal, Pojulu or Mundari of Central Equatoria, Didinga or Acholi of Eastern Equatoria, Burun of Upper Nile or Murle of Jonglei, Dinka or Nuer, name them, what will only differentiate us is our cultural heritage. Unless we cultivate the spirit of nationalism, cemented by the blood of our martyrs, we cannot prosper. Therefore, I appeal to all, especially the younger generation, to cease from tribal tendencies. Remember always that we will not be the only people to live in a diverse society.
· As people who have endured suffering for so long, it is now time for us to become the exemplary nation of peace. This way, we can testify to the World that we have learned with distinction that war is bad and peace is good! As a free people, there will be no reason for war!
· We have got a daunting task in front of us – development, development and development. How do we achieve development? Through hard work and discipline. I said it during the formal Declaration of our Independence on July 9th that: ‘let us celebrate but we must get to work right away’. We must till the land to produce food. As an independent nation, we must not depend solely on food imports. This is a moral responsibility for citizens – work, work, work and work! A prosperous nation is not made up of indolent citizens because laziness is useless. Let us fight to overcome all kinds of trauma and rebuild our human dignity.
· Therefore, from now henceforth we should every year have something – say an achievement – dedicated to our martyrs. From today onward, we are in for very serious business. Nothing will be as usual – there is need to redouble our efforts to develop. Moreover, to be modern or to become developed it is not easy to earn. We will combine government efforts with private sector investment to optimize productivity.
. As for transparency and accountability, we always spoken about these and they will remain critical in every conduct of business in our nation. We will strengthen the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Audit Chamber to ensure that there are no loopholes for people who are addicted to mishandling public resources.
· As soon as the new Independence Government is formed, we will outline our priorities and embark on them with more rigour and commitment.
To our gallant army and other organized forces,
· I call upon them all to honour their fallen colleagues by emulating the discipline that enabled us to succeed throughout the struggle. The values of our struggle for justice, liberty and prosperity must be shown in the behavior of our forces and security agencies. In order to reward our martyrs for the hard won independence and to earn a place at the helm of the world, there must be respect for the rights of citizens. The role of our army is to defend our sovereignty and that of the organized forces is to ensure law and order.
· Now that we have the Ministry of Defence, its main role is to ensure the physical security of our sovereign nation. The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry for National Security should take charge of the safety of our citizens. Criminals should now become attentive and those who are naughty terrorizing the public must now stop. Criminality should cease or else those who perpetrate suffering to others will be subjected to the strong arms of the law. In fact I have declared war on criminals! I would like to announce that as I talk to you now, senior officers who misbehaved in discharging their duties are now locked up in jail. I also call upon the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court to expeditiously process prosecution cases because ‘justice delayed is justice denied’.
· As for our foreign policy, we now have the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Thus, in our relations with others in the family of nations, we must safeguard our image by behaving civilly. We will build a robust human resource to match the demands of modern diplomacy and statecraft.
· Last but not the least, I urge all our citizens to take advantage of the difficult experiences we have undergone over the past 60 years and turn them into treasures for nation-building. It is not time to blame the past but rather it is time to focus on what to do today, tomorrow and the future. It is time to consciously ignore things that would destruct or detract us from building our new nation. While we may continue to encounter difficulties on routine basis, we will take the advantage of beginning from scratch. The Republic of South Sudan is like a white paper – tabula rasa! We will think, plan and implement! It will not be easy and it will take time before we start reaping the fruits of peace. As it is said: ‘Rome was not built in one day’. We will develop gradually just like we have done from 1983 to 2005 when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed. There are people who would like to agitate but for how long have we been independent? What can a child do in twenty one days? Cannot even hold the breast of the mother live alone trying to walk. So we should give ourselves time to do things in order to develop.
· We must become an exemplary of patience and tolerance. We have surmounted every difficulty, particularly with regards to the implementation process of CPA. The Six and half years were full of turbulence but our jet never succumbed to bad weather. I would like to reassure you that we will continue to navigate through every difficulty with optimism to build this new nation.
· Finally, the formula for us to succeed is unity and harmony of our people. We will never be a nation if we retreat to our clans, tribes or regions. I appeal to grandparents, mothers, fathers and children. Let us stand up as a nation and begin to work. Let us believe in ourselves – yes, we can make it because we have made it.
· Let us salute our martyrs for their sacrifices have earned us pride and humility.
God bless South Sudan.