South Sudan minister says nationals abroad implies need for better service home

By Philip Thon Aleu

September 17, 2011 (KAMPALA) – The continued exodus of South Sudanese
to neighbouring east African countries in search of education, health care and better living conditions portrays the huge gap that the new government needs to address, a minister said on Saturday in Uganda.

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South Sudan minister of higher education Peter Adwok Nyaba (2nd Right) is welcome by South Sudan students’ leader Abraham Thon (R) as South Sudan deputy head of mission in Kampala Ador Akok (2nd Left) looks on. September 17, 2011. Kampala, Uganda. (Photo: ST/Philip Thon Aleu)

Peter Aduok Nyaba, South Sudan minister of higher Education, Science and Technology, made the remarks while addressing students and other South Sudanese living in Kampala at a ceremony celebrating South Sudan’s independence. The ceremony was organised by the South Sudanese Students Union (SSSU) – an umbrella of colleges and university students in Uganda.

Nyaba described the huge attendance of the meeting as an indication of the negative impact the lack of returns has had.

“On coming to this hall, I could see that there is a big number of our people here which is good because they here for a purpose,” he said adding that “[but] it is a minus for us in the government. It really shows the failure to deliver services to you [in South Sudan].”

South Sudan declared independence in July from North Sudan following a landslide vote for secession in January. The plebiscite was part of the 2005 peace accord that ended two decades of north—south war. The war ravaged country lacks infrastructure and occupied by different tribes that often engage in deadly cattle rustling rendering the oil-rich nation insecure.

Minister Nyaba urged the students to use their time in foreign countries to acquire skills that will be used in the development of Africa’s 54th nation. He explained that south Sudan generations had been engaged in struggle for liberation from Khartoum for decades in order to enjoy peace, development and justice that are now being threatened by what he calls “tribal associations” that drive south Sudan youths against each other.

The 1983—2005 civil war led to displacement of millions of South Sudanese to neighbouring Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Though the 2005 peace accord halted north—south conflict, many South Sudanese are reluctant to return home.

This is partly to do with education as students want to continue with their studies. The number of students in higher institutions of learning surged during the peace era. Three of the five South Sudan universities were based in north Sudan before the Africa’s largest country split in July. They are now in the process of being repatriated to South Sudan.


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