Saturday, May 24, 2008

PRESIDENT SALVA KIIR'S SPEECH ON 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SPLA DAY

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Juba,South Sudan
21st May 2008

Dear Citizens and Compatriots:

I greet you all in the name of the Sudan People¢s Liberation Army the (SPLA) on whose day we are celebrating. 25 years ago today your sons and daughters in the towns of Bor, Ayod and Pibor in the Greater Upper Nile State, decisively took a stand against the sectarian and discriminative policies of the traditional political and military juntas that had ruled our country after the colonial powers.

As much as we celebrate this great day, our nation profoundly grieves the sudden and untimely death of our founding Commander in Chief of the SPLA and Chairman of the SPLM, comrade in struggle, friend and brother, John Garang de Mabior, whose leadership ability and capability propelled our liberation struggle both politically and militarily from the bushes of Southern Sudan to most parts of rural Sudan, particularly in Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile, Eastern Sudan and Darfur. Dr. John Garang was a selfless leader who dedicated all his time, energy and finally life for the salvation and freedom of his own people. He will be remembered for the generations to come and beyond.

Dear Citizens and Compatriots:

The coincidence of May 16 celebrations and the SPLM Second National Convention that ended last night in Juba is remarkable in the sense that these two great occasions in our history have a lot in common. The SPLM First National Convention was a turning point in the history of our Movement. In that meeting the birth of the New Sudan was proclaimed. The 1983 Manifesto was revised in line with changing realities within and outside Sudan . Guidelines for peaceful negotiations with the government of the day in Khartoum under the auspices of regional and international meditation were set.

The First National Convention also resolved that military and civilian administration be separated and that resulted in formation of the Civil Authority of the New Sudan (CANS). One year after the First National Convention more than 800 SPLA officers representing all ranks met and adopted plans to transform the SPLA into an organic army.

Dear Citizens and Compatriots:

We owe the relative peace we all enjoy today to our fallen heroes and martyrs, who are not physically with us today to witness this great historic event. This assemblage of fallen heroes and heroines made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the fruits of our struggle. Let me also add the names of two SPLM veterans: Comrade Dominic Dim Deng, Minister of SPLA Affairs and Comrade Justin Yaac Arop who just met their fate, together with their wives and other comrades, in a tragic plane crash while they were engaged in the process of reorganizing SPLM at the grass-root recently. Please, let¢s stand up and observe a minute of silence in their memories!

Although they are not physically with us, they are with us in spirit and will remain in our memories for ever. In order to remember the great sacrifices of our heroes and heroines, and to acknowledge the tremendous contribution made by our gallant SPLA forces, we have declared 16th May as an official national day to be celebrated yearly throughout Southern Sudan .

Our people took up arms in order to end the many years of undemocratic governance, repression, discrimination, and injustice perpetrated by successive regimes in the Sudan . Following its founding in 1983, the SPLM/SPLA leadership called upon all the Sudanese people regardless of their religion, colour, ethnicity or gender to come and join the ranks and file of the Movement to fight for the creation of the New Sudan, a Sudan that will be for all the Sudanese.

I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate our SPLA gallant forces in the various fronts in our country. These achievements are what transcend into the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January, 2005. The CPA has been achieved but the realization of the New Sudan is still a step ahead. However; with the CPA as a vehicle that would carry us to the New Sudan we all are duty bound to work towards a successful implementation of the CPA.

Dear Citizens and Compatriots:

The CPA has brought about real changes to the lives of our people peace now prevails in all parts of Southern Sudan . Though we do acknowledge some insecurity problems including cattle rustling in some parts of Southern Sudan , we are also well aware of the perpetrators, who are responsible for the prevailing insecurity situation in those areas. We are monitoring the situation closely and call upon the authorities in these areas to maintain law and order. We also have asked our people to voluntarily disarm by handing over their fire arms so that neighbours can live in peace and harmony, but whoever does not heed to this peaceful approach, will of course face forceful disarmament.

Of recent late, Juba our capital city is witnessing increasing crimes of burglary and armed robbery in the local hotels and businesses. This is reportedly to be happening at night. As government, we will not tolerate these acts of hooliganism in our society as we are peace-loving people. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, Government of Central Equatoria State and local authorities in Juba with the help of the SPLA Military Police are hereby directed to see that this does not happen.

Dear Citizens and Compatriots:

The LRA, though is not a Sudanese rebel movement, it has become part and parcel of our security concerns. As you are all aware the Ugandan Peace Talks that were launched two years ago, have been at times progressing and at times dwindling to the dead end.

The last setback was in April when the two parties were ready for the signing ceremony of the Final Ugandan Peace Agreement. Unfortunately Joseph Kony failed to sign the agreement in Ri-Kwanba while H.E. President Yoweri Museveni was ready to append his signature in Juba . Indeed, President Museveni did come on the designated day, only to find that Joseph Kony was not seen in the area designated for him to sign the Agreement. Although we will continue to mediate the Ugandan Peace Talks, we are concerned and we will take all necessary measures to protect our people from the LRA.

Dear Citizens and Compatriots:

As Government of Southern Sudan we are committed to transform SPLA into professional army and that is why substantial resources have been allocated to SPLA. Also in the last Sudan Consortium, your government presented a comprehensive proposal for security sector reform including DDR programme and we expect substantial assistance from the international community.

The Government has recently passed the SPLA White Defence Paper. This White Paper represents a watershed in the development process of a professional defence force for Southern Sudan in particular and Sudan in general. It derived its legitimacy and legal mandate from the provisions of the CPA, the Interim National Constitution and the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan. To that, the White Paper sets out a clear mission for the SPLA, defending the CPA and Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan as its primary mission.

The SPLA will continue to be the people¢s army with strong commitment to defend the people¢s cause in Sudan . On this note, our Government will not only pledge to support the SPLA to contribute towards greater human security but also to ensure that the safety of the people shall be our primary responsibility. Additionally, this Defence White Paper is a big indispensable part of the Security Sector Reform as it commits the Defence Sector in Southern Sudan to ensure human security and to facilitate practical efforts towards good governance of the security sector.

On this regard, we will equally commit efforts for transformation of the other security institutions and the justice system. We will also ensure that Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) programmes play an important role in Security Sector Reform, as does the control of small arms and light weapons in order to consolidate the gains from our peace agreement and reduce the threat of armed violence in the society.

In order to fulfil these pledges, I call upon the various leaderships in Southern Sudan in particular, the Sudanese people and the International Community to commit all the necessary requirements and guidance to transform the SPLA into a professional, disciplined, accountable and operationally effective army all under the overarching principle of civil-military control. Such a transformation will not only ensure peace and stability in Sudan but also provide the relevant capabilities for the SPLA to contribute towards regional and international peace and stability.

In conclusion, I would like to assure you that SPLA is not only capable of protecting you, your properties and Southern Sudan, but it is competent to defend your achievements in CPA, particularly the right to self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei, and popular consultation for the people of Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile.

Thanks you and I wish you a happy SPLA Day

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