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“Not yet Uhuru,” said Oginga Odinga, meaning that it is not independent yet.

I convey my heartfelt condolences to all who have lost loved ones in the last few weeks. There is nothing to celebrate when peace is at risk of collapsing, people are dying of famine, soldiers have gone for months without pay, deaths are daily news, and pictures of the deceased are all over social media. There is no independence until freedom of speech and expression are allowed, and all people are treated equally. There is no independence until internal displacement, and refugee issues are resolved. There is no freedom until the army moves far away from the cities and trains. There is no independence until roads, schools, and health centres are built, and retirement packages are established. There is no independence until target killing, and community conflicts are stopped. There is no independence until people can obtain land legally and live freely without fear of being targeted by other tribes. There is no independence until poverty and illiteracy are eradicated, and female education is supported. There is no independence until South Sudanese people in the diaspora are warmly welcomed back home to take part in national development and are allowed to work independently without intimidation. There is no independence until fair and equal opportunities are provided based on merit, not on kinship. The South Sudan we fought for will be realised in the next five years. Peace will dawn and will last forever. In a dramatic gesture after a retreat at the Vatican, Pope Francis knelt to kiss the feet of South Sudanese leaders. This was a sign of repent. It was a cleansing and a blessing. However, the arrival of TB Joshua in South Sudan and the unwillingness of authorities to implement peace has ruined everything. I implore President Kiir and Taban Deng to revisit Pope Francis for another blessing. Vice President Dr Riek and Vice President Rebecca de Mabior have been sincere and committed to peace. The ancestral gods of South Sudan forgive them. The SPLM took part in the assassination of Dr John Garang de Mabior. They now must pray. Otherwise, the SPLM will repeat the act of killing its leaders.

By Acting Chief Peter Lual Deng

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