After End of South Sudan’s Transitional Period, Church Leaders Urge Commitment to Peace

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (left) and Vice-president Riek Machar (right) shake hands at the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in September 2018. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Members of the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) have, in a collective statement, urged the parties to the September 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) to commit to ensuring peace following the end of the transitional period.

On August 4, South Sudan's unity government announced a two-year extension of the post-civil war transitional period, which is set to end in 2023, in a new roadmap.

In a statement obtained by ACI Africa Tuesday, August 6, SSCC members say politicians in the East-Central African nation need to be consistent in the implementation of the peace agreement and foster “effective leadership”.

“As parties to the agreement have agreed on the road map to a peaceful and democratic end of the transitional period, effective leadership must be exhibited among all the parties to the agreement,” representatives of church leaders in South Sudan say.

They add, “We strongly urge the parties to the agreement as they reaffirmed their commitment to genuine implementation of the R-ARCSS, to deliberately double their effort in ensuring the dignity of the people, build and sustain peace and stability through delivery of peace dividend, promotion of peace and good governance and human rights and alleviation of suffering of South Sudanese.”


The peace agreement signed in September 2018 in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, lays out power sharing between the government side – the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) – and the main opposition (South Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition – SPLM/A-IO), the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), Former Detainees (FD), as well as Other Opposition Parties (OPP). 

Last month, the European Union (EU) and Troika Counties said the South Sudanese government should immediately demonstrate significant progress towards implementation of the outstanding elements of R-ARCSS, in accordance with the deadlines set out in the Roadmap

In their September 6 collective statement, SSCC members present a balance-sheet of the implementation of the peace agreement signed in 2018. They say, “The implementation of the R-ARCS has been generally slow and extremely inconsistent.”

“This is because there is insufficient confidence and trust among the parties to the agreement,” the representatives of church leaders in South Sudan say. 

They continue, “There has been persistent deadlock with regards to power sharing within the unified army command and continued armed conflict or violence in many parts of the country. Cattle raids have led to a high number of casualties.”

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SSCC members further highlight what the revitalized transitional government of national unity set to achieve during the just ended transitional period, saying it was expected “to address the humanitarian crisis, reform and strengthen effectiveness of the public institutions, deliver transitional justice, draft a permanent constitution, and conduct credible elections within the agreed implementation schedule.”

They regret the fact that “inter and intra-tribal conflict has increased throughout the country due to multiple factors including competition over water and land, competition on livelihood.” 

As a way forward, the church leaders in South Sudan say, “The parties should think beyond the implementation of the peace agreement, and lay the groundwork for a good system of governance that prioritizes the needs of citizens.”

“Let the vision of the country be made clear by highlighting the collective and harmonious work of the revitalized transitional government of national unity,” SSCC members say, adding that “South Sudanese deserve committed leaders that have security, welfare and prosperity of the people at heart.”

“Let us all be mindful that the future of the country, marred with uncertainties lies entirely on us,” the representatives of church leaders in South Sudan say in their September 6 statement, and continue, “We are overdue to put ourselves on the right path and learn from our past and present experiences.” 


“It is up to our leaders to make the decisions to bring an end to the pain and turmoil that we witness every day in our lives,” SSCC members say.

On August 30, South Sudan graduated over 21,000 new troops that are to constitute a unified national army, police, and other forces of security as part of the implementation of the country’s R-ARCSS.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony that took place at Dr. John Garang Mausoleum in Juba, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin said the first batch of unified forces need to do their work to protect people of South Sudan.

“We pray that they do their work with honor and integrity,” Archbishop Ameyu said during the event that was presided over by the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir.

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.