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South Sudan’s independence: nothing to celebrate in 2017

FILE PHOTO:  Riek Machar (Rear C) and President Salva Kiir (2nd R) listen to the national anthem at the Presidential House in Juba after Machar was sworn in as new vice-president, after Machar landed at Juba international airport on April 26, 2016. AFP PHOTO

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | BY MERESSA K DESSU | ISS TODAY| For a second time, South Sudan won’t be celebrating its 9 July anniversary of independence. The government announced the cancellation of festivities due to a lack of funding and the country’s ongoing conflict.

Indeed, six years after liberation, South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis is worse than ever, with grave violations of human rights and a lingering brutal civil war.

South Sudan’s 2011 independence was won when more than 98% of its people voted to break away from Sudan. This followed two periods of prolonged armed struggle that began in the mid-1950s and ultimately killed about 2.5 million and displaced over 4 million.

So what went wrong? The people of South Sudan fought tooth and nail for freedom, justice and equality – why is their situation today worse than ever?

SPLA/M leaders have been dysfunctional from the outset

It boils down to one key problem: an absence of visionary and committed political leadership. And this in turn has led to corruption, impunity, militarisation, power struggles and weak state institutions.

The role of political leadership is vital during any transition, particularly in one as difficult as South Sudan’s. Political leaders need to espouse a vision for a better future, influencing and mobilising people to achieve this vision through proper management styles.

All hopes for a peaceful and prosperous nation after the 2011 vote were dashed when civil war erupted in December 2013 between factions of the SPLA/M.





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  1. Economical crisis is a great challenge and a big blow to the young nation, What a shame!

  2. Man made economic crisis what a hell and where on earth the celebration of independence cancel only in South Sudan shame on their leaders.

  3. How can you celebrate ? While you ( government ) can not pay your employees and you still called yourself government, you are bringing shame to us.

  4. Dennis J. Marone

    I once celebrated the independence of this so call young Nation.
    It’s so frustrating and devastating for a country to reach unto such a stake, whereby she can’t celebrate her birthday.
    The government had brought this upon themselves and for the entire South Sudanese living in diaspora.
    What an ill Governance!

  5. If we citizens are ashamed, what of you who are saying u are leaders. Your hands are covered with the blood of innocents people who voted you, what a shame, shame on you

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