“Set aside individual interest”: Catholic Archbishop to South Sudanese Lawmakers

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin of Juba Archdiocese in South Sudan. Credit: CRN

The Catholic Archbishop of Juba in South Sudan has called on lawmakers in the East-Central African country to “set aside individual interest, and prejudice” and work towards improving the living standards of citizens.

On March 27, the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (T-NLA) resumed its second session for the year 2022/2023 after months of recess.

Speaking at the opening of the parliamentary session in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin said that ordinary people in the East-Central African nation “have suffered enough” and urged them to work toward halting the “bleeding” resulting from violence at the level of local communities.

“Set aside all individual interests and prejudice and work towards improving the living standards of all people in this country,” Archbishop Ameyu said during the March 27 session that was held at Freedom Hall in Juba.

He added, “South Sudanese have suffered enough and it’s time to make peace prevail in the country for the citizens to enjoy the dividends of peace.” 


The South Sudanese Catholic Archbishop said he found it regrettable that inter-communal violence has prevented the people from enjoying the “dividends of their fight for independence.”

“South Sudan had acquired her freedom at the highest cost but it is still bleeding badly, especially through inter-communal and intra-tribal conflict,” he said, and lamented, “After independence, we are still killing ourselves trying to live and to get power by force.”

The 59-year-old Catholic leader who started his Episcopal Ministry in March 2019 as Bishop of Torit implored that God transforms “our hearts” and gives South Sudanese the grace to foster “love, unity and forgiveness so that we may truly be reconciled.”

The Catholic Church leader further implored members of the three arms of the government find inspiration in the Holy Trinity, fostering the collaboration that exists between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

“We pray for the three arms of the government, Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, that they may reflect the unity of the Holy Spirit of one in three and three in one in action but not in subordination,” he said.

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The Archbishop of Juba whose appointment to South Sudan’s only Metropolitan See was resisted by some clergy and lay faithful of the Archdiocese through multiple protest letters assured the lawmakers of his continued prayers for God to “grant you wisdom to deliberate on matters of national interest.”

“I pray for protection and good health as the lawmakers embark on the deliberations of an agenda for improving the lives of citizens in the nation,” the Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese since his installation in March 2020 said.

He prayed, “Protect us Lord in all that we are doing with thy most gracious favors.”

He further prayed that God liberates His people in South Sudan “from the spirit of violence so that we may resolve our problems through dialogue and constructive debates in the parliament.”

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.