Full statement by Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin on the independence anniversary
July 9, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – Today marks the 9th anniversary of our independence. This great feeling did not come easy, but after a very long protracted struggle that lasted for decades and took millions of lives of our people and untold destruction of property. The resistance of our great people has been a long race with the torch of liberation struggle being passed from generation to the next. Independence was a sum total of the disparate uncoordinated resistance of our ethnic groups against the Turks, Mahadiyya , British, and the successive governments in Khartoum; the Torit Rising and the more organized Any-Nya in the 1960s; the Anya-Nya 2 in the 1980s and the SPLM/SPLA in 1983-2005. All this culminated in our people exercising their inalienable right of self-determination in the referendum conducted in 2011 that decided overwhelmingly that South Sudan shall be an independent state among the nations of the world. Let nobody tell you that he liberated you; the South Sudanese collectively liberated themselves.
On this auspicious occasion, we pay our tribute to all the martyrs of the long struggle; those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Special mention must be made of Dr John Garang, the Chairman of SPLM and C-in-C of the SPLA who was the first President of the autonomous Government of South Sudan. We owe the families of our martyrs not only sympathies but a debt of gratitude and appreciation. Let this debt not be just words said on occasions such as this but must be translated into action. Like other countries of similar struggles the state must undertake the upkeep of the widows and educate the children of the Martyrs to at least the Secondary, if not the tertiary level.
It goes without saying that freedom comes with responsibility and accountability before the people. During the struggle and at independence, we promised our people a lot: peace, democracy, service delivery, development, unity in diversity, etc. An honest stock-taking will reveal that we have not delivered in any of these basic promises. The ruling party took us to war twice, in 2013 and 2016, a war that was more devastating and vicious than our previous wars. Also, corruption on the leadership level became the hall mark of our government and nothing from the billions of dollars getting into our treasury was left for basic service delivery, let alone development. Our economy is in tatters and all the economic and social indicators are making a grim reading. The war caused displacement to our people who sought sanctuary internally and externally, and are still exposed to hunger and disease. We thank all the international NGOS and friends of South Sudan who indefatigably extended relief assistance to our vulnerable masses.
We trust in the resilience of our masses. They stood tall against foreign invasion and endured the excesses and atrocities their sons meted out to them. Today, we have not much to celebrate but we commemorate a special day in our history. But as we do so, we must be mindful of the suffering of our people. We have before us today a peace agreement that was signed by all the political forces and civil society organizations in the country. It was reached through compromises by all and hence it is a minimum common programme for running the country through the next three years. It is about the last chance that we either make it together or we let our people down. In this regard we must implement its provisions honestly and transparently in an inclusive manner.
We hope that the next anniversary will have better soothing news for our people. We wish you all the best. Thank you.
Dr. Lam Akol,
Chairman of the NDM