July 19, 2011 (YAMBIO) - Newly independent South Sudan’s minister of information and broadcasting Barnaba Benjamin Marial has apologised to citizens of Western Equatoria State on Monday after the state’s referendum result was not produced in the “historic book” that was produced by the ministry to give thanks to all the ten states for having voted for the secession of the country.
The book was distributed on July 9, 2011 on the day which South Sudan was proclaimed an independence republic. Members of international community also were given copies of the book.
The caretaker minister said the special committee which was formed by the ministry to write the book excluded the name of Western Equatoria from the book. Marial says that the committee will correct the mistake and republish the book.
The mistake has angered many Western Equatorians with some calling for his resignation as acting minister of information and communication.
The book titled “Birth of a nation” on page 58 has all the results of the referendum results state by state and the percentage of votes but Western Equatoria’s results were not included. The document listed only nine states.
Western Equatoria voted 99 percent in favor of South Sudan’s separation in a referendum which was the culmination of a 2005 peace agreement between North Sudan’s National Congress Party, NCP and former rebels in South Sudan the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
The citizens of Western Equatoria have expressed concerns over the exclusion of their state from the historic book.
The state governor Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro who is in Juba led the committee to meet the caretaker minister to understand how the complication came about.
After meeting the minister, the state governor Joseph Bakosoro said he understands that human error can occur but urged the ministry to cross check vital information before publishing it.
“I call upon all the people of the state to remain calm since the minister has explained what has happened,” said Bakosoro.
The controversial book’s foreword was written and signed by president Kiir and the book was prefaced by acting minister Benjamin Marial.
Both men have been sharply criticised in Western Equatoria for signing off the book without reading it thoroughly, saying such attention for detail was essential in governing an independent state, especially considering the ongoing disputes with North Sudan over citizenship, borders, currency, debt and oil.