Presidential Address to the South Sudanese Nation, on the Occasion of the Anniversary of the Independence of South Sudan, Tuesday the 9th July, 2019, Juba, South Sudan.
My dear compatriots, citizens of our beloved South Sudan and all our guests resident in our country, for the fourth time now, we have observed rather than conducted a full celebration of our independence. That is not only because of the economic challenges we have been encountering since the outbreak of the unfortunate internal conflict in December 2013, but also many other political reasons of higher priority.
Nevertheless, I believe the importance of our Independence Day is not measured by whether we observe or celebrate it, but by the value we the people of South Sudan attach to its achievement and the huge sacrifice we made in the course of our long struggle. I, therefore, salute you today on the occasion of the 8th anniversary of our hard-earned independence.
As you celebrate, I call upon you to also remember our fallen heroes and heroines, who paid the ultimate price of our liberation struggle over 54 years (1947 to 2011) and gave us the privilege and honour to celebrate this day.
My dear fellow citizens, on the 31st of October last year, we celebrated the conclusion of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), together with our brothers and sisters in the Opposition. According to the R-ARCSS, we were supposed to establish the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity by the 12 of May this year. This 8th Independence Day anniversary would have been the first for all of us, Government and Opposition, to celebrate together after the December 2013, conflict.
Unfortunately, we as the Parties to the agreement had to reach a consensus to extend the pre-transitional period by another Six months ending in November 2019, in order to complete the implementation of important pre-transitional tasks, especially in relation to security arrangements. We hope that we get it right this time and avoid any mistake that could potentially return us to another conflict. I extend my vote of thanks to the leaders of the Opposition for their commitment to the R-ARCSS and I call upon them to maintain that spirit of peace for the sake of our people and country.
On that note compatriots, l am happy to share with you, that the National Pre-Transitional Period Committee (NPTC) is doing its best to effect the implementation of the R-ARCSS. As we observe this very important day today, peace is holding throughout the country despite the negligible disruptions that originate from the National Salvation Front (NAS) forces loyal to General Thomas Cirrillo, who has refused to sign the agreement.
Peace is extremely important for our security, stability and prosperity my fellow citizens and I want all of us to encourage our sons and daughters to embrace and maintain the peace which the R-ARCSS has given us. The people of South Sudan have seen for themselves what war has done in our country Over the long span of our liberation struggle. It is totally uncalled for and unnecessary for any South Sudanese to wage internal war because of minor political differences. Now that we are free and independent, any political matter of contention can be resolved around conference table.
Precisely for that reason, I initiated the National Dialogue Steering Committee that has been working over the last two years. I am sincerely encouraged that the Other Political Parties of South Sudan and the SPLM/A-IO are now represented in the organs of the National Dialogue in different capacities. As
some of you might know, already two regional conferences that of Greater Bahr-el-Ghazal and Greater Upper Nile have been conducted successfully. The 3rd regional conference, which will be held soon, is that of Greater Equatoria, after which the National Conference will be carried out. I strongly believe that with the level of frankness with which our people expressed themselves during the National Dialogue engagements, we will resolve all our internal national, regional and community problems.
The final outcome of this process will provide us with credible information that will benefit from in making the Permanent Constitutional of the Republic of South Sudan provided for by the R-ARCSS.
Dear compatriots, I recognize that from the time we earned. Our independence in July 2011, our desire to develop credible governance system for the management of our institutions has been interrupted particularly by the internal war that erupted in December 2013.
AS a result, our country continues to suffer from weak governance system, which has undermined effective service deliverv and development. Whilst the R-ARCSS provides the opportunity for us to establish a strong governance system before the conduct of elections in 2021. my Rovernment has started on intra-structure development, particularly roads construction, for which South Sudan has committed 30, o00 barrels of crude oil every day through an agreement with the government of China.
I have no doubt that with the full implementation of the R-ARCSS, security will return to South Sudan, our economy will thrive and we will be able to better deliver important services for our people such as schools, hospitals, clean drinking water and create jobs for our people.
In fact following the establishment of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), we have seen a great improvement in non-oil revenue collection. Again, since my government resolved to stop the pre-sale of South Sudan crude oil and directed the Ministry of Petroleum to align the sale of South Sudan crude oil with international standards used by other oil producing countries. In June this year, significant improvement has already been realized and for the first time the crude oil of South Sudan has been sold at premium. These are the kind of positives changes we must undertake to improve our economy so that government is able to cater for its obligations. I know change is difficult
to be accepted and painful to most people, but l am determined to pursue this course of action for the best interest of our people.
Dear Compatriots, fellow Citizens, I am fully aware that our people are angry because of the difficult living conditions imposed upon them by insecurity and economic hardship. This is further exacerbated by the failure of my government to pay salaries of our civil servants on time. However little that salary may be, it does make some difference in the livelihood of the families of our civil servants. I want to sincerely apologize to you, my people, on my own behalf and on behalf of my government.
Let me admit that over the last four years my government encountered serious financial challenges, some of which are the result of weak governance in our revenue generating institutions, but mainly due to the internal war. Otherwise, my government undertook several resolutions directing the Ministry of Finance and Planning to pay all the outstanding arrears of our workforce and schedule prompt payment of salaries to the employees of the Republic of South Sudan at both the national and state levels of government. I am reliably
informed that finally progress is being made in that regard and I promise you that I will personally follow that up.
I understand the concerns of the Honourable members of parliament on the issue of civil servants salary payment.
I have directed the Executive and the leadership of the National Legislature to work together in harmony to reach consensus on this matter and I am happy to say my directives are being observed.
My dear people, in the last few months since the beginning of this year, I have made several bilateral and diplomatic regional and continental missions. The objective interests as peace returns to South Sudan, but partly to update my colleagues on the progress and challenges in the implementation of the R-ARCSS.
these missions was mainly to pursue our political and economic.
Generally, I am satisfied with the outcome of all the missions and I want to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues, Presidents and Prime Ministers of all the countries I visited for their warm welcome and positive
response to the issues we discussed.
However, I am concerned about the political developments in our sisterly country, the Republic of the Sudan. The Republic of Sudan is not only a country
we have long historical ties and share the longest border with it is also an important economic and political partner. Indeed, I sent delegations to Khartoum shortly after the eruption of the crisis conveying pieces of advices and suggestions for a peaceful resolution of the political conflict in the Sudan.
It is in our interest to work with the leaders of the Sudan to ensure the prevalence of peace in that country. We are delighted that the Sudanese Military Transitional Council and Leadership of the Forces of Declaration of
Freedom and Change have reached a peace deal through a power sharing formula. We encourage them to respect the provisions of that deal for peace and political stability in their country.
The government of the Republic of South Sudan presents it compliments to the leadership of the African Union and that of tho Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for their timely and tireless efforts to resolve the political crisis in the Sudan and to broker a peace agreement allowing for the establishment of a joint military and civilian government. We encourage the African Union and the Ethiopian mediators to keen a close eve on the situation in the Sudan and to react promptly to address challenges that might arise in the implementation of the Sudanese peace agreement.
Finally Compatriots, Fellow Citizens, I wish all of you a happy Independence Day celebration and urge you to celebrate peacefully. The security forces of your country are under directives to ensure your safety wherever you might be celebrating. God bless you, God bless South Sudan and thank you, my people, for listening.
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Source: South Sudan Presidential Press Unit, Facebook page