Statement by Dr. Toby Maduot Parek, Chairman of the Sudan African National Union (SANU) on the start of Referendum voting
My fellow Countrymen and women in Southern Sudan,
Today, I joined thousands of you in casting the most important vote of my lifetime. Today, I voted to determine my destiny in solidarity with many of you who joined the cause of establishing an independent nation in Southern Sudan for our long-suffering people. I was moved by the spirit of calm anticipation and hopeful joy that I saw in the faces of our people since the eve of the historic day of January 9th, and I was overwhelmed by pride at how peaceful we have all handled ourselves since then.
We in SANU have emphatically declared our support for the separation of South Sudan, not out of malice towards the North but as an expression of our divine right to freedom, liberty and the unencumbered pursuit of happiness by generations to come. We have tried and fought valiantly to establish a nation of equal citizenship in one Sudan to no avail. Our demands and cries were spurned by forces that are addicted to religious bigotry, racial hegemony and the domination of other free men and women. Today, We especially summon the memory of Late Fr. Saturnino Lahore, Late William Deng Nhial and Late Joseph Oduho, who were some of the luminaries who founded this party and who subsequently became martyrs for the cause of justice, equality and freedom in Sudan.
We are indebted to our countless martyrs who paid the ultimate price in the name of freedom and justice throughout the struggle even before independence. Their sacrifices did not go to waste, but are now finding manifest expression in your proud march to the voting booth here in Sudan, and around the world. Our veteran freedom fighters of the Anyanya and the SPLA occupy a special honored place in our hearts today because they fought valiantly, fairly and for a great just cause. They did not only fight for Southern Sudan, but in solidarity with their comrades from the rest of Sudan loudly carried the banner of justice for all.
We salute them all today.
These days are also special because our endeavor as Southern Sudanese to exercise this right was embraced and respected by other fair-minded people around the world. The international community, starting with our neighbors in IGAD and the rest of Africa, the UN, the US, the EU and all the civil society and human rights organizations that championed the CPA deserve special thanks and gratitude.
However, this is just the start of another challenging era in our collective struggle as the people of Southern Sudan. The goodwill that we have generated from other corners of the world must be reciprocated with a strong spirit of unity, reconciliation, solidarity and hard work by all of us. We can achieve separation, but to be truly independent and prosperous, we must learn all the lessons of the last 60 years of post-independence Sudan and work to establish a fair, decentralized, democratic South Sudan that nourishes and develops every single son and daughter of this soil.
We are up to the challenge, so let us join hands and spark the start of a new dawn for our people.
I would to end by quoting the great words of Dr. Martin Luther King,” We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
Dr. Toby Maduot Parek
Juba, Southern Sudan