(eTN) – The Republic of South Sudan is now a step nearer to reality as the preliminary results confirm the exit polls and public celebrations during the independence referendum earlier in the month. The specially constituted referendum commission has over the weekend released their preliminary results – final results are due in early February – and while there were immediate arguments over the figures given, the overall trend is absolutely clear: the people of South Sudan have voted for independence. The SSRC for instance claimed that only about 60 percent of the southern vote cast in Khartoum and across the north in areas where southerners live, opted for independence, a claim denounced by many observers and exit pollsters as ludicrous, but generally the level of yes votes was so overwhelming that any attempt to rig the results was from the onset condemned to failure.
“Our people have spoken loud and clear,” said a senior source in Juba to this correspondent, adding “This is the result of decades of war waged on us, oppression, economic exploitation, and being treated as second-rate citizens in our own country. The regime in Khartoum did everything in their power over the past 5 years to sabotage us instead of helping us to develop, and in the process giving unity at least some chance. That chance they threw away, and this is the result – we are going to be our own masters now.”
Information received from Juba gives the clearest signal yet that the name of the emerging new country will be “The Republic of South Sudan” from July 9 onwards, after independence for the presently semi-autonomous region has been confirmed when the count of the referendum votes is formally announced.
There has been some speculation that a different name would be chosen to break with the rest of the Sudan once and for all, but common sense clearly prevailed, and as some senior sources put it, “It is our history which we cannot deny; once we were one country and now the south is becoming independent, so that is what we will call ourselves.” It is also understood that the new national anthem and the new flag are also ready and will be revealed in due course, as the march towards Independence Day continues.