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By Godfrey Olukya 10-7-2013

South Sudan, which attained her independence recently has celebrated it’s second anniversary at a colorful ceremony to which US sent a congratulatory message.

The message, sent by US secretary of state John Kerry read, ‘On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, we extend our best wishes to the people of the Republic of South Sudan on the second anniversary of your independence.

I will never forget the moment I shared with the people of South Sudan as the world witnessed the birth of a new nation. I saw long lines of people waiting for hours, reveling in the privilege of voting for their freedom. When I mentioned to some voters the need to be patient and remain in line despite the delays, they said we have waited 55 years, we can wait a few more hours.

Today, their wait is over and South Sudan is an independent nation. But we all know that much work remains to be done. Elections alone don’t create working democracies or provide the guarantees of good governance that free people rightfully demand. We have an obligation to do more to make sure that we’ve helped free people give birth to a lasting and successful nation.

The vision that South Sudan laid out for itself two years ago requires a sustained commitment to democracy and good governance, justice and accountability, and respect for the rule of law and the human rights of all of South Sudan’s people. We support South Sudan’s efforts to institute governmental reform at all levels, resolve outstanding conflicts, promote economic growth, and ensure peace and stability.

The United States remains committed to helping South Sudan build a more  prosperous, inclusive, and democratic society – one that is at peace internally and with its neighbors. On the second anniversary of your nation’s independence, the journey continues and we stand ready to help support economic prosperity, democratic governance, and respect for human rights in South Sudan for years to come.

Meanwhile, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, who was among the presidents who attended the ceremony in Juba hailed the people of South Sudan for rapidly developing their country in the shortest time possible and congratulated President Salva Kiir and the people of South Sudan for successfully ending the long unnecessary struggle which cost the country a lot of time adding that they would be very far in terms of development.

Museveni cautioned South Sudan to guard against foreign oppression and said when Africans are weak they tempt foreigners to come and take our resources and use them to oppress us.

“Africans are leading foreigners into temptations by being weak. When you are weak, you invite foreigners to come and oppress you. Weakness should not be among us, we must cure internal weakness internally’ Museveni said.

He pointed out that focusing more on tribalism and other sectarian tendencies such as religious conflicts lead foreigners to come and oppress Africans in their own countries.

Other heads of state who attended the occasion were, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Ian Khama of Botswana, Hassan Mohamud of Somalia, the former South African president
Thabo Mbeki and several other foreign dignitaries.

President Museveni said that Uganda is ready to work with the government and people of South Sudan and other countries which are facing similar challenges to make sure that it becomes one of the most developed parts of the world.

President Salva Kiir of South Sudan said those who doubted the survival of South Sudan after its separation from the Khartoum have been proved wrong by the resilience and solidarity of the South Sudanese.

He also said the completion of Juba-Nimule road, the establishment of the National Electoral Commission and the National Constitutional Review Commission are key achievements in the Second Year of Independence.

Kiir also announced that the oil refinery in Bentiu would be opened in August this year. “We have also increased our non-oil revenue from 7 million to 100 million South Sudanese pounds (SSP) which is an increase of more than 800%,” he said.

He congratulated the people of South Sudan upon reaching their 2nd anniversary and hailed the contribution of the heroes of their revolution and of those who supported South Sudan to witness the country’s’ achievements adding that as they celebrate their
independence they should always remember those who lost their lives to have peace in the South Sudan.

END

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