|Scene at Independence day celebrations last year [Photo:Reuters]|
By Peter Opiyo
Hundreds of South Sudanese residing in Kenya toasted to mark the first anniversary of their countryâs independence.
They danced, shouted and emotionally sang their countryâs national anthem as the infant nation marked its first birthday amid challenges that threatens her path to stability.
Two lasses recited poems of peace and stability calling for unity in the nation that has known war for decades, their messages reverberating in unison with the prayer by Archdeacon Stephen Mathiang Kuch, who called for peace in Blue Nile and surrounding areas that have been the subjects of disputes between the North and South.
Liberation heroes who fought in the more than two decades war, led by the late South Sudan President John Garangâ, were also remembered at the Railway Club, Nairobi fete.
South Sudanâs Higher Education minister Peter Adwok appealed to his compatriots in Diaspora to go back home and help build their country, which has been ravaged by years of war.
âGo construct houses back home. Why are our leaders buying beautiful houses in Kenya, Uganda, Australia and other countries? If you are serious letâs all go back home,â said Mr Adwok.
He said despite the challenges faced by South Sudan, the government is serious in implementing reforms to reverse the legacy of political and social exclusion perpetuated by Khartoum.
South Sudan is facing economic hardships following the shutdown of her oil exports to Khartoum owing to disputes over transportation costs. Border disputes between the two nations, unresolved issues on citizenship and claims of corruption also afflict the worldâs youngest nation.
South Sudanâs Deputy Ambassador to Kenya Mariano Ngor said peace and development of South Sudan would only be achieved if Comprehensive Peace Agreement is fully implemented.
âThe full implementation of CPA holds key to peace and development of South Sudan and East Africa as a whole,â said Ngor.
Representative from the United Nations Office is Nairobi, Ms Sahle-work Zewde said the country now requires strong institutions that would champion nation- building.