Politicians “should not divide people”: Catholic Archbishop in South Sudan

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin of South Sudan's Juba Archdiocese. Credit: Radio Bakhita/Facebook

The Catholic Archbishop of Juba in South Sudan has urged politicians in the East African nation to avoid causing divisions among citizens amid reported conflicts at camps for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Juba.

In an interview with ACI Africa, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Mulla Martin said political leaders are free to visit people in their communities but not to incite them violence. 

“No one should divide our people along political lines; our people must be united. Politicians should come to our communities but they should not divide the people,” Archbishop Ameyu said during the June 18 interview. 

He added, “I will always send the message of oneness, unity and peace among our people; our people must not be divided because we have one faith and one baptism and we are united by God the only Father”. 

The South Sudanese Archbishop who was responding to the question of political division among IDPs at the United Nation Protection of Civilians (POC) camps in Juba said he is planning to visit the site where the Holy Father was previously scheduled to visit to pray and share the word of God with the IDPs before the ecumenical trip was postponed.


As the Archbishop of this place, I had already visited the Holy Trinity Parish, which the POC operates under because it’s normal that the Archbishop should first visit the Parish,” the 58-year-old Archbishop said, adding, I know in the POC there are some kinds of divisions that have been caused because of political affiliations.”

Archbishop Ameyu told ACI Africa that “the Church doesn’t affiliate itself to politics but always works for the unity of the people.”

“We must be reconciling with one another and that is the message of peace,” the Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese who doubles as the Apostolic Administrator of Torit Diocese said.

During the June 18 interview, Archbishop Ameyu also reflected on the Rome Peace talks that were to start in the next couple of days, saying that he hopes they will realize reconciliation among the political leaders in the East-Central African nation.

“We hope that the peace talks going in Rome should bring all the three leaders to have reconciliation between them so that our people can truly reconcile with each other,” Archbishop Ameyu said in reference to the members of the opposition alliance, that is, Thomas Cirilo, Paul Malong, and Pagan Amum.

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The Archbishop added, “There is no difference between our politicians because the only constituencies that they have are the people of God. If they wish these people good it means we must work for peace so that the people who are our constituents should always be in peace.”

“We need to practice our political maneuvers when the people are at peace,” he said.

In February, the leadership of the Rome-based lay Catholic association dedicated to the provision of social services and arbitrating conflicts, Sant’Egidio Community, met with South Sudan’s President to discuss the peace process in South Sudan.

Earlier, on 5 November 2021, President Kiir announced the resumption of the Rome peace talks with the Holdout Groups after he had earlier suspended the peace process following the 16 August 2021 bus ambush along Juba-Nimule highway in which two Catholic Nuns alongside three other civilians lost their lives.

In March 2021, opposition parties in South Sudan announced their intention to recommit to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed in December 2017.


In a joint declaration issued 8 March 2021, the representatives of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU) and South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) agreed to recommit to CoHA, the Rome Declaration and the Rome Resolution, which would constitute the basis for subsequent political dialogue.

Patrick Juma Wani is a South Sudanese journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. Patrick holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) in Uganda. He has over 7 years of extensive experience in leading the development and implementation of media, advocacy, communication and multimedia strategy and operations, with an excellent track record of editorial leadership, budget management, and stakeholder outreach. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.