Twenty-one months after the Republic of South Sudan gained independence on 9 July 2011 – there begins a major turning point in the fortunes and progress of the country. The aggregate impact of the country’s crossing of several milestones constitutes a dramatic new beginning.
Juba’s road has not been easy. South Sudan gained independence in the aftermath of Africa’s longest struggle for self-determination – a two decades of fratricidal liberation war against the Sudan (1983-2005) followed by an autonomy period (2005-2011) in which the authorities in Khartoum did everything possible to stifle the nascent would-be state. Little wonder that the Juba government’s first steps were hesitant and, at times, mistakes were made.
However, several major events that took place during April 2013 clearly demonstrate that a historic threshold has finally been crossed. Among these events is Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s visit to Juba in which he formally accepted the reality of an independent sovereign South Sudan. Also of significance is the agreement on the resumption of oil exports under conditions guaranteeing revenues for South Sudan (reversing the Sudanese embezzlement of revenues during the autonomy period and soon after independence). Domestically, the launch by President Salva Kiir Mayardit of a genuine reconciliation program (after the abusive politicization of the first attempt) gives great hopes for the future. As well, the peace-making with one of the largest remaining rebel groups – the 3,000 fighter-strong South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA) led by Brigadier General Bapiny Monytuel – demonstrates that the national reconciliation is being implemented in action and not just words.
Hence with nation-building on the right track and with funding crucial for development coming online – the country is finally ready for the long-overdue surge forward. President Kiir and his administration are cognizant of both the historic opportunity and the magnitude of the challenge. Official Juba is focusing on taking the country forward – rather than dwelling on the legacy of the past. South Sudan is a huge, diverse, and rich country. It has everything necessary for becoming a success story. With the right government at the helm in Juba, South Sudan has finally embarked on the road to success.
We – young professionals in South Sudan and the diaspora, along with friends in the West – are determined to contribute our share to the rejuvenation and upsurge of our country. We are convinced that the world, particularly the West, must better know and understand the historic process South Sudan is presently going through. True partnership between South Sudan and the West is impossible without the West’s comprehension of the realities on the ground. And such true partnership is imperative for guaranteeing the economic cooperation, as well as access to expertise and technologies – not handouts – South Sudan must have in order to surge forward.
Therefore, we have established this South Sudan News & Analysis Bureau (SSN). Our objective is to provide accurate, timely and factual reports about the latest developments in South Sudan along with pertinent expert analysis in order to help our friends in the West comprehend and appreciate the historic turning point and upsurge the Republic of South Sudan is experiencing.