South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, has finally congratulated his north Sudan counterpart, Omar al-Bashir for winning elections.
In the 2015 general election boycotted by major opposition political parties, Bashir emerged winner with a whopping 94%.
Bashir recently threatened to attack South Sudan for failure to disarm Sudan rebels.
Yet, on Sunday, Kiir sent a congratulatory message to Bashir on behalf of the people of South Sudan.
He wished Bashir “good health and success in the new presidential term to secure peace and security in the African continent at large and Sudan in particular”.
President Kiir further commended the diplomatic relations between the two countries that he said were based on a joint commitment to implementing the outstanding issues.
Kiir believes there wouldn’t be South Sudan without Bashir
On April 8, 2015, the government of South Sudan sent out a social media message that shocked many.
In the message, President Kiir publically acknowledged that had it not been for Bashir, independent South Sudan would not be existing now.
“HE Kiir: Were it not for the president’s [Bashir] courage,” the message read.
It added: “There would not have been a state named the Republic of South Sudan.”
The message did not elaborate.
South Sudan break away from north
A referendum took place in Southern Sudan from 9 to 15 January 2011, on whether the region should remain a part of Sudan or become independent.
According to Wikipedia, the referendum was one of the consequences of the 2005 Naivasha Agreement between the Khartoum central government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M).
A simultaneous referendum was supposed to be held in Abyei on whether to become part of Southern Sudan but it has been postponed due to conflict over demarcation and residency rights.
On 7 February 2011, the referendum commission published the final results, with 98.83% voting in favour of independence.
While the ballots were suspended in 10 of the 79 counties for exceeding 100% of the voter turnout, the number of votes were still well over the requirement of 60% turnout, and the majority vote for secession is not in question.
The predetermined date for the creation of an independent state was 9 July 2011.
The Sudan region has so far experienced three civil wars.
The First Sudanese Civil War (also known as the Anyanya Rebellion or Anyanya I, after the name of the rebels) started from 1955 to 1972 between the northern part of Sudan and the southern Sudan region that demanded representation and more regional autonomy.
Half a million people died over the 17 years of war, which may be divided into three stages: initial guerrilla war, Anyanya, and South Sudan Liberation Movement.
However, the agreement that ended the First Sudanese Civil War’s fighting in 1972 failed to completely dispel the tensions that had originally caused it, leading to a reigniting of the north-south conflict during the Second Sudanese Civil War, which lasted from 1983 to 2005.
The Second Sudanese Civil War run from 1983 to 2005 between the central Sudanese government and theSudan People’s Liberation Army.
It was largely a continuation of the First Sudanese Civil War of 1955 to 1972. Although it originated in southern Sudan, the civil war spread to the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.
It lasted for 22 years, and is one of the longest civil wars on record.
The war resulted in the independence of South Sudan six years after the war ended.
Roughly two million people died and four million were displaced as a result of war, famine and disease caused by the conflict.
The conflict officially ended with the signing of a peace agreement in January 2005.
In December 2013, a political power struggle broke out between President Kiir and his ex-deputy Riek Machar, as the president accused Mr. Machar and ten others of attempting a coup d’état.
Kiir determined to restore peace
Kiir has on several occasions indicated that he would do anything to ensure peace returns to South Sudan.
“I call upon all South Sudanese to put aside their differences and come together as people of one nation to save our country,” he said recently.
“I give a full commitment to the cease-fire in order to create a peaceful and amicable environment for peace talks to succeed.”
He said that as a young nation, they must build a very strong foundation based on institutions of democracy, the rule of law and core values”
“I don’t want war. I don’t want revenge. I want peace and will achieve it with your support and cooperation. We need national unity.”
His rival, Machar, who thinks Kiir is illegitimate, is determined to occupy his office at all costs.