24 January 2011 - Southern Sudan had demonstrated political maturity in successfully conducting the referendum, but people should not begin celebrating yet, a top southern official said today.
Speaking during the opening of the second session of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), Speaker James Wani Igga, said the world was likely about to see the historic birth of Africa's newest nation and urged people as well as politicians to fight tribalism and replace it with justice and peace.
He added that there would be challenges in bringing stability to a new nation, given its chronic ethnic conflicts, geographically unbalanced political representation, corruption, nepotism, tribalism and proliferation of small arms in communities.
"To combat these, we must work hard and have the right constitution to address those challenges in a transparent and disciplined manner, if we are to maintain peace and stability which will bring in economic growth, development and employment opportunities for the youth," the speaker said.
Appealing to SSLA members to expedite drawing up the transitional constitution and other laws to avoid power struggles, Mr. Igga urged the international community as well as southerners to work for peace and economic development in the region.
Also addressing the assembly, Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) President Salva Kiir Mayardit stressed that his government remained focused on governance and accountability.
He urged the technical committee formed to review the 2005 interim constitution to prepare the GoSS for the post-Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) period. Their role was to provide a strategic guide for strengthening institutional structures, governance, accountability, transparency, peace, stability, and prosperity for the people of Southern Sudan from 9 July and beyond.
Whatever the referendum's outcome, Mr. Kiir said, the GoSS would build stable and strong relations with the north, as this was critical for the stability of Southern Sudan.
Creating and forging a common identity for southerners irrespective of ethnicity, region or creed was equally imperative, he added. The GoSS would work to ensure stable and peaceful coexistence in the region.
"The gear of our vehicle is peace and development, and it's irreversible," Mr. Kiir said. There is no easy walk to freedom. Let us stay calm and vigilant because the future is bright and full of blessings and hopes."
Adding that there would be no gap in leadership, the president said, "If there is any one who thinks I should step aside, I have to say that I'm elected by the people of Southern Sudan and I will not disappoint them. I will continue to fulfill my duties and obligations as mandated by them to the end of my term."