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عربي

Cleric tells government to dialogue with armed groups

Akim Mugisa
The Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Juba, Paulino Lokudu Loro, urged South Sudan’s government to dialogue with the remaining armed groups.
23.05.2016  |  Juba, South Sudan
Seats reserved for President Kiir and his deputies remain vacant during a prayer meeting organised by the South Sudan Council of Churches on May 21, 2016 in Juba. (photo: The Niles | Akim Mugisa)
Seats reserved for President Kiir and his deputies remain vacant during a prayer meeting organised by the South Sudan Council of Churches on May 21, 2016 in Juba. (photo: The Niles | Akim Mugisa)

We must face these people and allow them to freely express their concerns.

Lokudu says there are people and groups still not satisfied with the August 2015 peace deal and that they are a challenge to peace and security in the country.

“If pockets of divisionism still exist, people with guns in the bush, we must face these people and allow them to freely express their concerns,” says Lokudu.

The Archbishop made the remarks on Saturday, May 21, during a prayer organised for the President, his deputies and members of the cabinet by the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) a coalition of faith-based organisations at the Parliamentary Affairs building.

However, no government representative attended the prayer. Commenting on the absence of government leaders, Lokudu says it was not a waste of time, as the intention of the clergymen was to pray for the politicians, but he also says it “would be good for political heads to consult them [clerics] and hear what he termed as the Voice of the Church”.

Bishop Francis Loyo, Diocese of Rokoni, says despite decades of South-North civil wars from 1955-1972 and from 1983-2005, there are still those that turn against each other. “Of all this, we have not yet learnt. We still go back to where we started,” Loyo told the gathering of barely 20 attendants.

Have we provided water, food or encouraged people to work?

He says people in power should not misuse their positions but instead use it to protect and take care of their people, adding that the country should establish factories and road-networks to connect people and to ensure social services reach the masses. “Have we provided water, food or encouraged people to work?” he asks.

The Secretary General of the South Sudan Council of Churches, James Oyet Latansio, who coordinated the event, wasn’t best pleased by the absence of the country’s leaders, saying leaders in South Sudan are always afraid of being confronted by the truth.

He explains that the event wasn’t organised to confront the president, his deputies and executive members, but to encourage them amid the challenges facing the leadership and South Sudan.

No reason was given, neither by the church nor the government, as to why the government officials did not attend the prayers.

South Sudan is a predominantly christian country and faith-based organisations have since the period of the civil wars advocated for peace and reconciliation.

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