Let’s adore SPLA Day like we do for Ramadhan, Easter and Christmas
Two days ago, the country ushered in the 40th anniversary of the famous “May 16″—the SPLA Day. It is the day on which the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and its political wing—the SPLM—were founded. Some citizens celebrated the anniversary in their homes, while others went out in small groups to revel in official gatherings.
What leaves great confusion on the faces of the citizens is the government’s failure to announce a celebration in honour of the high-profile occasion. This was not the first time that the iconic day of the liberation got a no-show. In 2021, the day passed in a flush with no flowers, dances, or marches. What stood out from it was a speech from President Salva Kiir Mayardit delivered from the Presidential Palace in Juba, where he revered it but decried the restrictive containment measures against COVID-19 that worked against any gathering. In 2022, there was another presidential speech. But this time, the government, through the office of its spokesperson, Michael Makuei, said there was no budget to cater for the same as all the focus was assigned to the implementation of the peace deal.
In the face of all these snubs, the citizens who understand the fruits of liberation have demonstrated unmatched passion for the day. Even in 2023, men and women of the soil gathered not only in Jonglei but also in other parts of the country to commemorate the day that birthed Africa’s youngest country after a long struggle.
This peace does not attempt to take away the credit from the government institutions for their past actions in ensuring that SPLA Day is well observed; however, there is much more that needs to be done.
Think of it this way: Religious fetes like Ramadhan, Eid, Easter, and Christmas normally attract the attention of the political leaders, and it evokes their charitable selves as they give lavish donations to the believers. Why can’t we do the same for the liberators? Some of them died, but there are some who are still alive, like President Kiir and some more. What of the families of those who died fighting for the country? Don’t they need proper recognition for the selfless sacrifice their fathers, mothers, and grandparents made for the country?
It has been 40 years since the pioneer liberators rebelled against what was an outright government that was hell-bent on subjugating the current South Sudanese. And through the efforts of these selfless people, we now have South Sudan. Why can’t we have a proper budget to honour these heroes and heroines and pass on this culture to the forthcoming generations?