At the same time, Garang said the people of Southern Sudan were not ready to play second fiddle to anybody, insisting that all the Sudanese people should be allowed to enjoy equal rights.
He played down fears among key factions in Southern Sudan that SPLM was likely to discriminate against them or lord over everybody else on forming the government.
"I shall be sensitive to the interests of all ethnic groups in Southern Sudan," declared Garang who was speaking during the formal opening of South-South Dialogue Conference at the Kenya College of Communications Technology, Mbagathi in Nairobi.
The theme of the three-day conference is: "Building consensus for peace, reconciliation and unity among South Sudanese people".
Former President Moi gave the keynote speech during the forum also addressed by Sudanese second Vice-President, Prof Moses Machar, representatives from elders, religious groups and women leaders.
The event is being co-ordinated by Moi Africa Institute, an organisation the former President founded to help promote peace and development in Africa.
The forum has brought together politicians, religious leaders and civil society groups to thrash out differences among the people of Southern Sudan in readiness for a new beginning.
In his speech lasting one-and-a-half hours, Garang traced the history of conflict in Southern Sudan that culminated in the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement last January 9.
He said after 22 years of fighting, the people of Southern Sudan were eager to embrace peace as they began building their country.
He said Southern Sudanese have a right to self-determination, including voting for secession in case they were not satisfied with the government of Khartoum.
Moi appealed to leaders in Sudan to forge unity as they prepared to start building their country.
He said differences among various factions could be avoided if common people were to reap the benefits of the peace agreement.