April 6, 2012 (JUBA) – The independence of South Sudan did not come as a result of human’s action but by the “hand” of God, says the country’s Vice President, Riek Machar.
Machar, a Christian, made the remarks during a meeting on Friday with a visiting American delegation from the international Christian-broadbased Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), led by the Assistant to the President of the organisation, Matthew Crouch.
He said the success of the January 2011 referendum on self-determination despite all the perceived hurdles, and Khartoum’s pro-unity preference, was a clear revelation.
The people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly for independence by over 98% despite fears that their the northern Sudanese government would attempt to spoil the process. South Sudan fought against successive regimes in Khartoum in two civil wars, the most recent of which ended in 2005 when a peace deal granted South Sudan the right to self determination.
Officials reported that the period of voting in January 2011 was the most peaceful period in six years since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Cattle raiding, tribal conflicts, child abduction and violent activities by rebel groups all suddenly stopped during the voting period.
Machar said the day on which independence was pronounced on 9 July 2011 was an emotional moment for him and a dream come-true. In that moment “I was thinking about the people who died during our struggle and those before us,” Machar said.
Asked whether the independence of the people of South Sudan had a prophetic connection, he said yes. “The people of South Sudan believe that Isaiah 18 is about them,” referring to the chapter of prophecy in the Bible.
Machar further added that the challenge now is to try to find out the purpose for which God created this nation and the role God wants it to play among the world’s nations.
He also added that his government wanted to have peace with its former foe – Sudan - and build good relations with it as well as maintain peace and security internally in South Sudan.
The region is endowed with resources and if tapped well, he said, they would bring prosperity to the new nation. “Pray for us to meet our people’s expectations,” he told the Christian delegation.
He also briefed the delegation about the plan by a group of South Sudanese Christians to go for pilgrimage in Israel and wave their flag on Mount Zion.
The TBN delegation assured the Vice President of their support to South Sudan in a number of programs and projects which shall include installation of satellite equipment to access TBN international Christian network programs for evangelisation and education as well as train South Sudanese personnel in broadcasting services.