South Sudanese Archbishop Opposes Envisaged Adoption of New Time Zone

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu of South Sudan’s Juba Archdiocese.

The South Sudan government has announced plans to change to a new time zone, a move that has been criticized by a Catholic Bishop in the East-Central African country who says that the change will disrupt activities in the country.

In an interview with ACI Africa, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu of South Sudan’s Juba Archdiocese has suggested that the nine-year-old nation retains its present Eastern African Time (EAT) because the new time would “disrupt” protocols.

“I think we should retain time with our community of East Africa because we have already joined the parliament of East Africa and there is no need to be in the Central African Time (CAT) zone,” Archbishop Ameyu told ACI Africa Tuesday, January 19.

Plans are underway for South Sudan to change its time zone by setting the clock back 1 hour on February 1, the government spokesperson has said.

According to the minister of information, Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan will change its offset from UTC+3 to UTC+2.


The change will be effective at 00:00 (midnight), when clocks will be set back 1 hour to 23:00 (11:00 p.m.).

“The current time zone is not our actual zone; we are in longitude 30 and the difference between the Greenwich time of the UTC and the longitude is every 15 minutes is one hour,” Michael Makuei, the government spokesperson told the press after January 15 cabinet meeting.

South Sudan has been operating using the old-time that was adopted in Sudan before independence.

In the interview with ACI Africa, Archbishop Ameyu expressed worry saying, “We in South Sudan are more connected to East Africa in terms of flights and other procedures. Everything will be totally disrupted with these changes.”

He added, “It would be good for South Sudan to retain the East African Time (EAT) because we have common issues with the East Africa Community and that would help us to adjust to the Vatican Time especially during the timing for the election of Bishops and other major events.”

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According to the Archbishop, time is sacred. “It is consecrated to God and it should change with seasons but it does not sound good just to change time simply because we would like to change to a one-time zone.”  

He further said, “It is for the first time I hear that the people would like to change time in South Sudan and I don’t know the reason for changing to a different time zone. I hope the political leaders have justifying reasons.”