MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, GOVERNMENT of SOUTHERN SUDAN
Countdown to Independence
Government of Southern Sudan approves Agenda of Celebrations
Saturday 2nd July, 2011
Juba, Southern Sudan: With one week to go before the independence of southern Sudan is
declared on July 9th, the Government has revealed the agenda for the landmark
celebrations. A host of concerts, sports events and religious prayers are taking place all
week, reaching a climax on the day itself in the capital Juba and across the country’s ten
states. The main planned events will centre around the 8th, 9th and 10th July.
On the eve of independence, citizens across southern Sudan will be encouraged to go to
churches or gather in public squares to light candles and say prayers, to herald the birth of
the new nation. Dancing and festivities will take place in villages across the country. The
Catholic Church has initiated 9 days of prayer on the theme of tolerance and harmonious
inter-ethnic and inter-religious relationships. On Independence eve, neighbours from all faiths
will be encouraged to share a meal together. Other faiths including Islamic groups are taking
At midnight, bells will be rung across the new country, and drums will be sounded, to mark
the historic transition from Southern Sudan to the ‘Republic of South Sudan’ (RSS) – the
world’s 193rd country.
In Juba, on Saturday July 9th, the official program will begin at 10am at the Dr. John Garang
Mausoleum and last until the early afternoon, with a parade, official acts and a series of
speeches. Some 3,500 representatives will attend including kings, chiefs and elders from the
10 states, leaders from the business community, civil society, women’s groups and the youth
movement. Foreign dignitaries will include some 30 African Heads of State, leaders of
regional and multilateral organisations, as well as foreign ministers and other senior officials.
Over a hundred thousand citizens will bear witness to the events at the Mausoleum, and
many others will watch on large screens across the city. Events will also be broadcast live on
national television (SSTV) available across three continents, and by international media.
Simultaneous activities will take place across the land.
Security measures are being put in place all over southern Sudan to ensure a peaceful and
orderly environment for the week’s activities.
The parade of 1500 people will include a March-Past of groups from different branches of the
military, including the Army, Police, prison service, wildlife service and fire brigade. There will
also be six groups of folklore dancers from different parts of the country, joined by women’s
groups, civil society and young people. During the ceremony, the National Choir and
hundreds of young South Sudanese will lead the singing of the new National Anthem, which
was chosen through a competition of 49 entries by musicians, poets and academics. The
song, which reflects the unity, identity, the land’s resources and the liberation struggle of the
country, has been taught over the last weeks to government officials, security organs, civil
society and other groups across the country.
There will be a Proclamation of Independence of the Republic of South Sudan by the
Speaker of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) Rt. Hon James Wani Igga. The
flag of Sudan will then be lowered and the flag of the new Republic of South Sudan will be
raised, to the tune of flag ceremonial trumpets. President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit will then
sign the new Transitional Constitution into force. He will then take the oath of Office as the
first President of the Republic of South Sudan.
Main speakers will include the President of South Sudan H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the
President of Sudan, Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon,
Head of the UN General Assembly and representatives from the African Union,
Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Arab League, European Union, United States
(representing the Americas) and China (representing Asia.)
Information Minister Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin said: “It will be a historic occasion
for all our people who have traveled a long and difficult road to the birth of this nation.
We all know we face many challenges ahead – we will face them as united, peaceful
and independent and build a stable and prosperous country.”
In the evening, there will be an open-air concert of folklore and music at the Nyakoron centre,
and other concerts over the following days featuring distinctive music from the country’s
different ethnic tribes. Football matches will also be held, including a match between the
recently-formed national team of South Sudan versus Kenya on the 10th July, and a
basketball match against Uganda on the 11th.
As well as planning for the commemoration, other work has been underway to establish the
foundations of the new Republic. Over the last few weeks, the Southern Sudan Legislative
Assembly has passed some key laws that are prerequisites to the establishment of the
nation. These include the Nationality and Citizenship Act, and laws on the National Flag,
Anthem, Coat of Arms and States Seal. On July 1st, the Council of Ministers approved crucial
draft legislation relating to the financial framework of the country, to be considered by the
Assembly. These include draft bills on the formation of the Central Bank, public finance
management, taxation, investment promotion, company law and medals and insignia. The
Transitional Constitution is currently before Parliament.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) will become the 193rd country in the world and the 55th
country in Africa. Its independence marks the end of the interim period under the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 to end decades of civil war
between the North and South. In January, a Referendum of Southern Sudanese delivered a
98.83% majority vote in favor of secession from the North. Outstanding issues will be
negotiated in a separate process, with the support of the international community.
For further information and the full agenda, please go to www.goss.org
For information, contact Director General of Information Mustafa Biong +249 (0)957 102815. Paul Jacob
Kumbo, Director +249 (0) 902 373 272. Moyiga Nduru, Director +249 (0)955 118800; Justin Alear, Director,
Public Info Centre +249 (0)95555 81581. Gwado J Ador, Training Director +249 (0)903 633 227
IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR MEDIA
The Ministry of Information will host a series of Government press conferences at the
South Sudan Hotel HQ on Ministries Road/Buluk, opposite the Public Information Centre,
next to Millennium Restaurant. These will be at 10am daily Monday 4th-Friday 8th July
2011 and will communicate the Government’s vision for the future development of the
country, as well as the logistical arrangements during Independence Week.
For registration and media support, please visit: Public Information Centre opposite the
Kenyan Commercial Bank (KCB bank), on Ministries Road, or the Ministry of Information,
Juba, Southern Sudan