“An extension of the suffering of the people”: Catholic Bishop in South Sudan on Proposed Extension of Transitional Govt

Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambia (CDTY). Credit: CDTY

An extension of the mandate of South Sudan’s transitional government of national unity will only serve to prolong the suffering of the people of God in the East-Central African nation, a Catholic Bishop in the country has said. 

South Sudan’s Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) was formed in February 2020 in line with the September 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

The world’s newest country that gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 and plunged into civil war in December 2013 had scheduled general elections before February 2023. 

An agreement between the RTGoNU and the opposition was to postpone the elections to late 2024. Another postponement has been reported, “owing to the continual delays in implementing crucial aspects of the 2018 peace agreement.”

In an interview with the Catholic Radio Network (CRN) on Wednesday, July 3, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambia (CDTY) weighed in on the planned December 2024 elections.


The general elections need to be held as previously planned so that eligible voters in South Sudan can “vote for their leaders who can provide basic needs that the current government failed to address.”

“The extension of the period (of the transitional government) is also an extension of the suffering of the people,” Bishop Hiiboro said in the interview reported on July 4, adding, “For the last four years, there has not been proper work in the country; no so much service has been done.”

An extension, he also noted, would “give us humble time to prepare the people before the election comes.”

In the interview, the Local Ordinary of CDTY since his Episcopal Consecration in June 2008 decried the suffering of the people in the country amid economic hardships.

“If you’re extending that period there must be a promise that the market will change tomorrow, people will have basics to feed on and necessary services they need for themselves,” the Catholic Church leader, who serves as the President of the Integral Human Development Commission of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC) said.

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On June 29, SCBC members called upon the South Sudanese government to seal all security loopholes and prepare adequately for the country’s elections scheduled for December.

In a statement issued at the end of their June 27-29 meeting in the Catholic Archdiocese of Juba, members of SCBC said, “South Sudan is not truly at peace. While there is no serious fighting between major armed groups, sub-national violence is taking place in many parts of the country.”

They said organizing credible elections involves many elements, including the establishment of an independent electoral commission.

Elections, they continued, must only come after the country has undertaken demarcation of constituencies, registration of voters, political parties and candidates, training of electoral officers, as well as civic education.

The Catholic Bishops also underscored the need to have in place the logistics of voting in the country that they said has poor infrastructure and communication challenges, and experiences widespread insecurity.


They described the planned elections as being part of the R-ARCSS, a peace agreement signed by the country's political parties to end the December 2013 civil war.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.