South Sudan marks low key Independence Day

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A South Sudanese man painted his face in the colors of the flag on Independence Day in Juba, 09 July 2011.

Tuesday marks eight years of South Sudan’s independence from Sudan but there will be no big celebrations because of the tough economic situation in the country, Information Minister Michael Makuei says.

There have only been big celebrations once since the civil war began in 2013.

“There will be no celebration at the national level, but there will be a low-profile celebration at the presidency, because we don’t want to lose money for doing celebrations as we used to do,” Makuei said.

President Salva Kiir is expected to make a national address.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after a decades-long civil war. But fighting that began in 2013 has thrown the country into turmoil and severely dented economic development.

A peace deal has been agreed but has not yet been implemented.

Failure to pay salaries

Meanwhile during a speech to mark independence day, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir apologised to civil servants who went without salaries for several months.

Mr Kiir said the failure to pay the money was “caused by weak governance” in the departments that are supposed to raise funds and pledged to personally get involved in the issue.

Last month, the finance minister was unable to present the annual budget because MPs walked out over the salary issue.

 

Nneka Ukachukwu