STATEMENT BY THE ALL AFRICA CONFERENCE OF CHURCHES (AACC) ON THE JUST CONCLUDED VISIT TO SOUTH SUDAN BY A DELEGATION OF EMINENT CHURCH LEADERS
South Sudan President, H.E. Salva Kiir, Promises Africa’s Churches There’ll Be No More War
South Sudan President, H.E. Salva Kiir, has promised Africa’s churches that there will be no return to war in the country as long as he remains head of state.
President Kiir, who was speaking to a delegation of eminent church leaders from the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) on Friday, November 20, 2020, in the country’s capital, Juba, acknowledged that the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) was not moving as expected, but stated that some progress had been made.
The delegation was led by the AACC President, Rt. Rev. Arnold Temple, and included, eminent church and ecumenical leaders and staff persons, Rev. Dr Lesmore Gibson Ezekiel, the AACC Director of Peace, Diakonia and Development, Rev. Charles Berahino, AACC Executive Secretary, Peace and Diakonia, and coordinated by the General Secretary of the South Sudan Council of Churches, Fr. James Oyet.
The AACC delegation was in South Sudan on yet another of its missions to encourage the various parties to the conflict to embrace peace and reconciliation, as well as accompany the country’s churches during this difficult period. The mission took place between November 16-20, 2020.
President Kiir said he recognized the role AACC had played over the years in accompanying the people of South Sudan right from the struggles for liberation until the current time as an independent and sovereign nation-state.
He further added that his government would not relent in addressing the humanitarian challenges happening because of many factors in the country but with the assistance of many development and relief organizations.
The Rt. Rev. Temple stated that the team had listened keenly to many stakeholders during the mission. He noted that the completion of the national dialogue two days before their arrival was a positive indicator of the drive for peace in the country.
He asked President Kiir to implement the Truth, Reconciliation and Healing Commission as part of the Transitional Justice, Accountability, Reconciliation and healing contained in chapter five of the Revitalized Agreement. “Sure it would be of great value your Excellency,” Rev Temple said.
Rev. Temple issued an earnest plea to President Kiir to resolve all the differences and build trust among themselves, the political elites of South Sudan, noting that this would filter down to the ordinary citizens.
“Trust among yourselves as politicians is critical for the healing and transformation of your beloved country, Your Excellency,” stated Rev. Temple.
Among the other leaders the delegation met included the some leaders of the churches that constituted the South Sudan Council of Churches, Chairperson of RJMEC-IGAD, Maj. Gen Charles Tai Gituai (Rtd), the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Hon. Amb. Beatrice Khamisa Wani, Esteban Sacco, the deputy head of office, OCHA South Sudan, leadership of the civil society forum, and country representatives of the different specialized ministry working in the country.
The All Africa Conference of Churches is a continental ecumenical body that accounts for over 140 million Christians across the continent. AACC is the largest association of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, and indigenous churches in Africa, and is a member of the worldwide ecumenical network. AACC is a fellowship of 193 members comprising Churches, National Councils of Churches (NCCs), theological and lay training institutions, and other Christian organisations in 42 African countries.