South Sudan cancels independence celebrations again over economic shortcomings
Speaking to reporters following a weekly cabinet meeting in Juba on Friday, information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth said the country does not have the budget for the 9th July celebrations and said state governors have been directed to try their best to organize events down there.
JUBA – South Sudan government on Friday said it has no funds to organize the country’s annual independence celebrations, saying that the country will use the little it has for graduation of the unified forces provided for in the revitalized peace agreement.
Speaking to reporters following a weekly cabinet meeting in Juba on Friday, information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth said the country does not have the budget for the 9th July celebrations.
“At present, we have no funds and even if we have the little funds, we have to make use of them for the graduation of the forces that have been in training centers for that long,” the senior South Sudan government official told reporters.
“At present, there are so many so many issues at hand that we need to address, and making that big public celebration means making a lot of expenses,” Makuei added.
Makuei said the plan to also skip the independence celebration this year will help the government to avoid incurring more expenses as they prepare for the graduation of 50,000 forces.
“This is what we have decided so as to avoid incurring more expenses at the time when we are preparing the little money we have for the graduation of forces for the implementation of the agreement,” Makuei said.
According to the 2018 peace deal, the unified forces – composed of opposition and government forces – were supposed to be graduated right before the end of the pre-transitional period which ended in February with the formation of the unity government.
However, owing to a lack of funds and political will, the forces haven’t yet graduated despite repeated calls by the regional bodies and the international community to expedite the process.
Makuei said the cabinet has authorized states and administrative areas to celebrate 9 July at their local levels.
“The president will see how best he will do it but he will address the nation on the evening of 8th July and all the states and administrative areas are authorized to celebrate at their local levels,” he said.
Independence Day, which is annually held on July 9, celebrates South Sudan’s independence from Sudanese rule on that date in 2011.
This day is an occasion to promote patriotism and national unity.
The celebration for Independence Day has been canceled several times due to shortage of funds since the violence broke out in the capital Juba on 15 December.
Sudans Post is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Sudan, South Sudan and East Africa, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the two countries and the region.