"This degree of happiness is directly proportional to the degree of suffering we have endured for half a century"

By Mark Otwari Odufa

I would like to congratulate our president H. Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit for having navigated his folk to the Promised Land through political turbulence created by Khartoum to derail the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and for having been sworn in as the first president of the Republic of South Sudan for a four year term. In the same vein, I would like to thank the government of Southern Sudan, the South Sudanese and the international community and the people of good will where ever they are for their tremendous contributions in making the independence of South Sudan a reality. The jubilant gathering of thousands of people at Dr. John Garang’s Mausoleum is a lasting testimony of joy during this occasion. This degree of happiness is directly proportional to the degree of suffering we have endured for half a century. Many of us controlled our tears as we try to overcome the dream of freedom that we are now experiencing as Independent South Sudan. We were humiliated when we lost our love ones during the struggle but today, we give a sigh of relieve as they have not died in vain.

The time for throwing stones has passed and now is the time for gathering the stones. In your maiden national speech loaded with prudence, you once again offered amnesty to our brothers who under the influence of our former enemies try to abuse our freedom through arm struggle. You also spelt out clearly that anybody working for him/herself first and second for South Sudan, will not be entertained in your government. These and other good policies pronounced during the Independence Celebrations are the corner stones of our new nation to develop politically, economically and socially in order to attain unity, liberty and prosperity.

The remaining grey areas between us and the North need to be achieved through peaceful means i.e. the Abyei issue need to be resolved as per the CPA, where only the Dinka Ngok are supposed to vote in the referendum whether to rejoin the South Sudan or remain in the North Sudan, the boundary demarcation as per the January 1956 border, the share of the wealth accumulated in the north including the oil refineries and the pipe line, and the full implementation of Popular Consultations for both South Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile as per the CPA. If all these are completely implemented by Khartoum, then US can delete the government of North Sudan from its list of terrorist countries. 

The new broom of the new nation should begin to sweep now based on the rule of law. It is the fair share of power and wealth, the zero tolerance on corruption and the application of the rule of law without discrimination can strengthen the unity among the South Sudanese. The North Sudan will continue to be our watch dog though for negative reasons so that it can justify its assumption that we cannot govern ourselves. To ward off this unnecessary criticism, we must always portray ourselves in a positive way by being the best in whatever we do. We can even try to reach the moon to prove them wrong; yes we can.

In conclusion, the purpose of the government is to create the necessary conditions for her citizens to exercise their talents in the best possible way to better their lives in respect to health, education, housing and other social services. To achieve this, we are fully behind you and the government of the Republic of South Sudan.
May God bless you, the government and the people of the Republic of South Sudan.
Mark Otwari Odufa
NB: Published in NEW TIMES, Weekly Newspaper, July 25 – 31, 2011, N0. 007; Page 6

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