Unity State Honours Their Country’s Independence

In a colourful ceremony held in Bentiu the capital of Unity State, Government officials together with thousands of citizens joined South Sudan and the rest of the world in celebrating the Independence Day.

Unity State Honours Their Country’s Independence
L-R: division 4 commander, Major. Gen. James Gatduel & Governor Taban Deng honour the national anthe

By Luke Riek
BENTIU, 9th July, 2011 [Gurtong] - In a colourful ceremony held in Bentiu the capital of Unity State, Government officials together with thousands of citizens joined South Sudan and the rest of the world in celebrating the Independence Day.

All government officials including State Ministers; the executive and legislature, Heads of various Political Parties; The Women and Youth Leaders; Chiefs and Traditional Leaders;
The Heads of various Religious Groups; Representatives of UN Agencies and International Development Partners and ordinary citizens graced the occasion

In his detailed speech, Unity State’s Governor Lt. Gen. Taban Deng Gai said that the 
Day was the happiest moment in the lives of all south Sudanese. “The presence of a huge crowd here today is a manifestation of the greatest fulfilment of our long journey to the land of milk and honey,” he said.

He saluted 1st Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the First President of the Republic of South Sudan's able leadership that saw them reach this far. “The journey to this land has been meandering, long, costly, and dehumanizing. I am not surprised that we are all happy!”

Taban also remembered the sacrifice and bravery of all the liberation heroes and heroines led by the late Dr. John Garang De Mabior who sacrificed their lives for this day.

He also thanked the people of South Sudan for their determination to decide their destiny more so the nations that stood hand in hand them during the struggle. “It is your support, moral, material and spiritual that gave us the strength and courage to fight on,” the Governor thanked them.

He appreciated the work all the humanitarian organizations have done in his State. “You fed us when we were hungry, you provided shelter when we had nowhere to lay our heads, you clothed us and as if to predict the future, you educated our children.”

The Governor commended the role played by IGAD Countries and Friends of IGAD for making the CPA a reality. 

Governor Taban mentioned how the road to victory was difficult. He said, “The struggle has turned many children into orphans, women into widows and men into widowers. Every household, I believe, has a painful story to tell. Stories of loved ones whose blood carpeted our freedom.”

In the climax of his detailed speech, Taban reminded the citizens to be ready for the task ahead. He encouraged them to work hard and boost the economy. He quoted nationals statistics showing how maternal deaths were a threat to the region.

“Today the highest mortality rate in accordance with the last census shows that for every 100,000 Children born, 2,500 mothers die at child birth and child mortality is also the highest since for every 1000 children born, 130 die before their first birth day according to the Southern Sudan household survey,” he quoted.

He added that, “It is my honest opinion that we can, but through hard work with absolute honesty and integrity as we prepare to unlock our potential resources awaiting our pending initiatives .Let us face these challenges head on.”

Governor Taban called upon his fellow Countrymen to replicate the Kenyan response for this call for hard work which will certainly sustain their uhuru (Freedom).

The independence celebrations are scheduled to end tomorrow in the State.

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