If you were asked to name one thing that makes you feel Ugandan, what would that be? Would you for instance choose a football match over a national function?
What identifies Uganda as a nation?
Uganda on Sunday 9th 2011 commemorated Independence Day with national celebrations taking place in Lira district. The day marked 49 years since 1962, when Uganda gained independence from colonial masters, Britain.
Almost fifty years on since Uganda’s Independence, the pre-independence divisions still live on. It was hoped that adoption of a National language would be a unifying factor for the country but this has not been attained.
Many regions or tribes continue to yearn for their own independence. This has made national unity in Uganda a fragile intention, and an almost unachievable goal.
In this edition of National Perspective we explore further the search for a unifying factor almost fifty years after independence.
Let us take you with us on this assessment journey. Tune in to a partner radio station in your area.
The following are some of the Basic facts about South Sudan, which on July 9th becomes an independent state, following a referendum that agreed to split Africa’s largest country into two.
GEOGRAPHY: South Sudan is bordered to the east by Ethiopia, to the south by Kenya and Uganda and to the west, by the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
AREA: South Sudan covers 589,745 square kilometers, or 227,701 square miles, or 24 percent of the whole of Sudan.
POPULATION: More than 8.5 million people, or 20 percent of the Sudanese population.
MAIN TOWNS: Rumbek, Malakal, Wau.
RELIGION: Mainly Christian and traditional beliefs, but many Muslims too.
LANGUAGE: English is the official language of the government. Some Arabic also widely spoken.
HISTORY: Sudan was jointly ruled by Britain and Egypt from 1899 until independence in 1956. From 1955 until 1972 Sudan was rocked by civil war, pitting successive governments against southern rebels. The conflict ended with a treaty in 1972 that granted partial autonomy to the south. In 1983 Khartoum reneged on the accord, provoking a new civil war between north and south that left two million dead and four million displaced. John Garang formed the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA.
Africa’s longest war ended on January 9, 2005, when Garang signed a peace accord with Khartoum, which exempted the south from sharia, or Islamic law, and granted it six years of self-rule ahead of a referendum on independence.
In January 2011, south Sudan voted to secede from the north by 98.83 percent.
POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: The former SPLA southern rebels partnered with their former adversaries in Khartoum to form a government of national unity in 2005, to run the country in line with a new constitution. Elections in April 2010 extended the mandate of Salva Kiir, who replaced Garang after he was killed in a helicopter accident in July 2005, as president of the south. A separate parliament was also set up in the south, headed by Kiir.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: Oh God! We praise and glorify you For your grace upon Cush, The land of great warriors And origin of world’s civilization.
Arise, shine, raise your flag with the guiding star
And sing songs of freedom with joy,
For peace, liberty and justice
Shall forever more reign.
So Lord bless South Sudan!
Oh black warriors!
Let’s stand up in silence and respect,
Saluting millions of martyrs whose
Blood cemented our national foundation.
We vow to protect our nation.
Land of milk and honey and hard-working people,
Uphold us united in peace and harmony.
The Nile, valleys, forests and mountains
Shall be our sources of joy and pride.
So Lord bless South Sudan!
FLAG AND MEANING: The flag is similar to the Flag of Kenya but with a blue triangle and gold star at the hoist. The colours black represent the Southern Sudanese people, white represents peace, Red represents the blood shed for freedom, green represents the land blue represents the waters of the Nile.
The gold star, represents unity of the states of South Sudan
ECONOMY: After decades of devastating conflict with the north, south Sudan remains a grossly underdeveloped region, despite Sudan’s current 6.7 billion barrels of oil reserves. Of the 470,000 barrels per day pumped pre-independence, three quarters come from the south and border regions. The oil, which provides up to 98 percent of south Sudan’s income, is exported by pipeline through the north to the Red Sea.
The south is also rich in other minerals including uranium and has vast agricultural potential that remains largely unexploited because of the war.
ARMED FORCES: The Sudan People’s Liberation Army has around 140,000 troops, according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey. Nearly 10,000 peacekeeping soldiers from the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), whose mandate expires on July 9, are deployed in the north and south.
Countdown to Independence
Government of Southern Sudan approves Agenda of Celebrations
Saturday 2nd July, 2011
Juba, Southern Sudan: With one week to go before the independence of southern Sudan is
declared on July 9th, the Government has revealed the agenda for the landmark
A host of concerts, sports events and religious prayers are taking place all week, reaching a climax on the day itself in the capital Juba and across the countryʼs ten
states. The main planned events will centre around the 8th, 9th and 10th July.
On the eve of independence, citizens across southern Sudan will be encouraged to go to churches or gather in public squares to light candles and say prayers, to herald the birth of the new nation. Dancing and festivities will take place in villages across the country. The Catholic Church has initiated 9 days of prayer on the theme of tolerance and harmonious inter-ethnic and inter-religious relationships. On Independence eve, neighbours from all faiths will be encouraged to share a meal together. Other faiths including Islamic groups are taking similar steps.
At midnight, bells will be rung across the new country, and drums will be sounded, to mark the historic transition from Southern Sudan to the ʻRepublic of South Sudanʼ (RSS) – the worldʼs 193rd country.
In Juba, on Saturday July 9th, the official program will begin at 10am at the Dr. John Garang Mausoleum and last until the early afternoon, with a parade, official acts and a series of speeches. Some 3,500 representatives will attend including kings, chiefs and elders from the 10 states, leaders from the business community, civil society, womenʼs groups and the youth movement. Foreign dignitaries will include some 30 African Heads of State, leaders of regional and multilateral organisations, as well as foreign ministers and other senior officials.
Over a hundred thousand citizens will bear witness to the events at the Mausoleum, and many others will watch on large screens across the city. Events will also be broadcast live on national television (SSTV) available across three continents, and by international media.
Simultaneous activities will take place across the land.
Security measures are being put in place all over southern Sudan to ensure a peaceful and orderly environment for the weekʼs activities. The parade of 1500 people will include a March-Past of groups from different branches of the military, including the Army, Police, prison service, wildlife service and fire brigade. There will also be six groups of folklore dancers from different parts of the country, joined by womenʼs groups, civil society and young people. During the ceremony, the National Choir.
For information, contact Director General of Information Mustafa Biong +249 (0)957 102815. Paul Jacob
Kumbo, Director +249 (0) 902 373 272. Moyiga Nduru, Director +249 (0)955 118800; Justin Alear, Director,
Public Info Centre +249 (0)95555 81581. Gwado J Ador, Training Director +249 (0)903 633 227
hundreds of young South Sudanese will lead the singing of the new National Anthem, which was chosen through a competition of 49 entries by musicians, poets and academics. The song, which reflects the unity, identity, the landʼs resources and the liberation struggle of the
country, has been taught over the last weeks to government officials, security organs, civil society and other groups across the country.
There will be a Proclamation of Independence of the Republic of South Sudan by the Speaker of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) Rt. Hon James Wani Igga. The flag of Sudan will then be lowered and the flag of the new Republic of South Sudan will be raised, to the tune of flag ceremonial trumpets. President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit will then sign the new Transitional Constitution into force. He will then take the oath of Office as the
first President of the Republic of South Sudan.
Main speakers will include the President of South Sudan H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Head of the UN General Assembly and representatives from the African Union, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Arab League, European Union, United States (representing the Americas) and China (representing Asia.) Information Minister Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin said: “It will be a historic occasion for all our people who have traveled a long and difficult road to the birth of this nation. We all know we face many challenges ahead – we will face them as united, peaceful and independent and build a stable and prosperous country.”
In the evening, there will be an open-air concert of folklore and music at the Nyakoron centre, and other concerts over the following days featuring distinctive music from the countryʼs different ethnic tribes. Football matches will also be held, including a match between the recently-formed national team of South Sudan versus Kenya on the 10th July, and a basketball match against Uganda on the 11th.
As well as planning for the commemoration, other work has been underway to establish the foundations of the new Republic.
Over the last few weeks, the Southern Sudan Legislative
Assembly has passed some key laws that are prerequisites to the establishment of the nation. These include the Nationality and Citizenship Act, and laws on the National Flag, Anthem, Coat of Arms and States Seal. On July 1st, the Council of Ministers approved crucial
draft legislation relating to the financial framework of the country, to be considered by the Assembly. These include draft bills on the formation of the Central Bank, public finance management, taxation, investment promotion, company law and medals and insignia. The Transitional Constitution is currently before Parliament.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) will become the 193rd country in the world and the 55th
country in Africa. Its independence marks the end of the interim period under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 to end decades of civil war
between the North and South. In January, a Referendum of Southern Sudanese delivered a 98.83% majority vote in favour of secession from the North. Outstanding issues will be negotiated in a separate process, with the support of the international community.
For further information and the full agenda, please go to www.goss.org
IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR MEDIA
The Ministry of Information will host a series of Government press conferences at the South Sudan Hotel HQ on Ministries Road/Buluk, opposite the Public Information Centre, next to Millennium Restaurant. These will be at 10am daily Monday 4th-Friday 8th July 2011 and will communicate the Governmentʼs vision for the future development of the country, as well as the logistical arrangements during Independence Week.
For registration and media support, please visit: Public Information Centre opposite the Kenyan Commercial Bank (KCB bank), on Ministries Road, or the Ministry of Information, Juba, Southern Sudan
The Worlds soon to be 196th Country gets independence on July 9th. Just wanted to share with you just a few snippets about the events leading to South Sudan’s independence;
- 1983: Sudanese president Gaafar al-Nimeiry rescinds a 1972 agreement under which southern Sudan enjoyed internal autonomy. This implies the introduction of Islamic sharia law in the region, rekindles an independence movement led by John Garang and his Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
- 1989: Omar al-Bashir ousts Nimeiry in a coup. He remains in power todate.
- January 2005: North and South sign a US-brokered ceasefire agreement providing for a period of autonomy for the South followed by a referendum on full independence in 2011. The region around the town of Abyei, which has oil and is claimed by both south and north, is given a special status.
- July 2005: Garang is killed in a helicopter crash. He is replaced as southern leader by Salva Kiir.
- 2008: Fighting in Abyei between troops from Southern Sudan and those of the central government in Khartoum.
- 2009: An international arbitration court in The Hague sets new borders for the region around Abyei, attributing its main oil fields to the north.
- April 2010: Sudan holds its first multi-party elections since 1986. Kiir becomes the south’s first elected president.
- October 2010: Talks between north and south fail to produce an agreement on the future status of Abyei.
- January 2011: South Sudan holds its independence referendum, with almost 99 percent voting in favor. Plans are laid for the region to split from Khartoum and become fully independent on July 9.
- April 2011: Bashir says he will not recognize the south’s independence if it insists on claims over Abyei.
- May 21: Northern Sudanese troops backed by tanks seize Abyei town and its environs.
- June 5: Clashes between northern and southern troops in the province of South Kordofan, which borders the south and is the only major oil-producing region attributed to the north.
- June 12: North-south talks sponsored by the African Union open in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The two sides agree in principle to demilitarize Abyei.
- June 15: New clashes erupt in Abyei.