There Will Be No Return to War, South Sudan’s President to African Church Leaders

Members of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) with South Sudan President Salva Kiir.
Credit: ACI Africa

The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) has released a report detailing a meeting by the Church leaders with South Sudan President Salva Kiir during which the President promised to maintain peace in the nine-year-old nation.  

In the report shared with ACI Africa November 30, President Kiir acknowledged that the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) was not moving as expected, but stated that some progress had been made.

 “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,” AACC officials reported on their website, making reference to the meeting AACC delegation had with the President in Juba.

The delegation was in South Sudan’s capital Juba 17-19 November also held meetings with representatives of other South Sudanese institutions, including civil society organizations.

“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,” the officials say in the report that was published November 26.

The report further recalled President Kiir’s commitment that his government would not relent in addressing the humanitarian challenges happening “because of many factors in the country.”

The AACC President Bishop Arnold Temple, alongside eminent church leaders and other personnel that include 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, led African Christian leaders.

In its mission to strengthen parties in the conflict “to embrace peace and reconciliation” and further accompany churches in the country, AACC officials acknowledged having listened keenly to the stakeholders during the visit to South Sudan.

AACC President, Bishop Arnold Temple reportedly 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,” the Methodist Bishop said in reference to the commission.

The Sierra Leonean Bishop emeritus issued a 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,” stated Rev. Temple.

While the delegation was in South Sudan, it also met some eminent leaders of the churches that constitute the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC), leadership of the civil society forum, NGOs, diplomats and the country’s representatives of the different specialized ministries working in the country.

AACC is the largest association of Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, and Methodist, among other mainstream Christian churches alongside indigenous churches in Africa, and is a member of the worldwide ecumenical network.

As a fellowship of 193 members comprising Churches, National Councils of Churches (NCCs), theological and lay training institutions, and other Christian organizations in 42 African countries, AACC is a continental ecumenical body that accounts for over 140 million Christians across Africa.

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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]