South Sudan’s One Year Anniversary and What it means to Winnipeggers and Canada at large

“South Sudan’s one year anniversary was too long for me with so many worries that were predicted, projected and presented by many analysts and international organizations that South Sudan will collapse before marking one year anniversary of July 9, 2012” writes David Mabior Atem


Winnipeg, MB, Canada - South Sudan’s one-year anniversary is the outcome of July 9, 2011 when the Republic of South Sudan was declared the 196th country in the world, the 193rd member of the UN, and the 54th country in the continent of Africa. It was through the conduction of a referendum that was voted 98% in favor of independence. This was a big test for South Sudanese especially the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) to negate all the lies and propaganda that was spread by our brothers in the north that we could not rule ourselves.


Picture: David Mabior Atem giving a speech in Winnipeg


008July 9th 2012 is an important day as it proved that we can rule ourselves and the propaganda will go unfounded! They have known that South Sudanese waged the war against Khartoum’s dominance for 22 years as well as a 6 years interim period of semi-autonomous government

would have served as a surety. As of today, South Sudan marks it one-year anniversary, which is a big, relief to South Sudanese to disprove those analytical views that South Sudan would collapse before their one-year anniversary.


For analysts and readers, having challenges does not make a nation collapse but I will acknowledge that South Sudan faces enormous challenges ranging from social, economic and political. Being a new nation is a gradual process of institutional building, which every nation in existence has gone through.


For Winnipeggers and Canadians in general, it is important to know that today’s independence is an outcome of the collective efforts and contributions from veterans of war, martyrs of war, sub-communities and supporters/friends of South Sudan. Contributing and supporting Sudan’s peace back to the beginning of negotiation for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), through the conduction of a referendum and the current capacity building are shared responsibilities.


For instance, Canadians’ involvement in Sudan’s peace was a share responsibility in a way that tax-payers money was used for the process of peace negotiation in 2000-2005 that was initiated and supported with helps of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGDA) and international community. Also, Canada had participated in Oslo Donors' Conference on Sudan that generated billion of dollars as well as Canada became the benchmark of the referendum “Basket Fund” for other countries to contribute money to support the conduction of the referendum besides helping in capacity building process in South Sudan. All these important contributions required an acknowledgement since they have paved the way to an independent nation, mutual respect and strong bilateral relations.


On April 11, 2005 Ottawa – “International Cooperation Minister Aileen Carroll announced that Canada is committing a further $90 million over two years to support peace initiatives and international humanitarian efforts to help alleviate the ongoing suffering in Sudan. The announcement coincides with the Oslo Donors' Conference on Sudan, an international gathering hosted by the Norwegian government. The two-day conference is the primary forum for the international community to pledge support for the people of Sudan in the reconstruction phase that started with the signing of the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Nairobi on January 9, 2005, ending the devastating southern civil war”. The 90 million committed by the Canadian government was brokered down as followed:

  • $40 million to support the efforts of the Joint Assessment Mission;
  • $40 million was for international humanitarian efforts;
  • Up to $10 million was committed for peacebuilding and governance initiatives that bring the Canadian contribution to Sudan to $180 million since 2000.

I will not comment on the Oslo Donors’ Conference because of the current controversy surrounding the rampant corruption in the government of South Sudan. Despite the intention of the international community’s pledge to mark the signing of Africa’s longest civil war with the beginning of development in disowned regions of South Sudan. In short, July 9th marks the beginning of human equality and dignity among the South Sudanese regardless of race, culture, religion, gender, region, and political association as well as freedom of expression, freedom of speech and right to vote. The start of this began with the referendum that paved the way for South Sudan to become an independent nation, which celebrated its one-year anniversary on July 9TH, 2012.


David Mabior Atem – U of W’s Academic Advisor, Co-Founder for The Eye on Sudan: Working for Peace Advocate Group, Co-Chair for The Dialogue on South Sudan/Sudan, Founder for The U of W’s ACOMI Bursary 2007, and Member for The Board of Directors in The Family Centre