In the February 2 interview with ACI Africa. Hon. Perembata said that Pope Francis “is bringing peace to the people of the Republic of South Sudan” and that as Catholics, “this has been our prayer.”
Hon. Susan Thomas Perembata, MP for Ezo County in South Sudan's Western Equatoria State. Credit: ACI Africa
“It is the question, which they asked Jesus, ‘can something good come out of Nazareth?’ In fact, can something good happen in South Sudan? Yes, indeed, it is happening; it's going to happen that the Holy Father is coming to visit us,” the legislator said.
Reflecting on the widely shared view that the visit of the three global church leaders provides an opportunity for peace in South Sudan, Hon. Perembata said, “It is us the people of South Sudan to bring peace.”
“The leaders, our leaders, myself as a leader, are supposed to work together to forgive each other, to embrace each other such that we can talk and preach peace to the people of South Sudan,” she said.
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The South Sudanese Catholic politician advocated for the spirit of letting go of grudges, saying, “Our forgiveness here today, tomorrow, and forever will unite the people of South Sudan, and it will diffuse the tension among the people, and it will bring a strong bond among the population, and it will create trust if we work together.”
“I believe Pope is coming with the Holy Spirit. He's leading him (Pope Francis) and with the delegation; they are bringing the power of God. I'm sure the power of God is going to overshadow us, and once the power of Jesus Christ overshadows our leaders, they will work for peace,” she said, giving the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, influenced by the Spirit of God, “became the proclaimer of peace, went to visit Elizabeth.”
She continued, “I’m sure the message of peace that the Pope is bringing is going to have a lot of impact on our political leaders, on our men and women in the country, and on all social classes of people.”
The message of the church leaders visiting South Sudan, Hon. Perembata said, will help “diffuse tribalism, hatred, nepotism, killings, and we shall work. This South Sudan will never be the same; with the coming of the Pope, South Sudan is going to be a place of peace, a place of forgiveness, people working together, people loving and forgiving themselves.”
In the February 2 interview with ACI Africa, Hon. Perembata urged the various parties in South Sudan conflict to give peace a chance in honor of the global church leaders visiting the country.
“Once God remembered us like this to send the Holy Father to talk to us, and to visit us,” she said, South Sudanese political leaders need to facilitate the realization of lasting peace in the country.
The South Sudanese MP recalled the 11 April 2019 dramatic gesture when Pope Francis knelt and kissed the feet of President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar among other South Sudanese politicians.
“As he (Pope Francis) kissed the feet of our leaders one time in Rome,” she said, “Pope is repeatedly and Jesus Christ himself is repeatedly asking our leaders to unite and work together for peace and abandon hatred, abandon quarrels, and abandon divisions, and encourage all their followers to embrace peace and work together, and avoid anything that can spoil this peace.”
Hon. Perembata continued in reference to political leaders in her country, “Let them work for peace because we are brothers and sisters regardless of what has happened.”
“Let our leaders forgive. I'm sure our President has already forgiven, that is why there is a unity government, and all the leaders of the different political parties are within Juba, and they are going to attend the prayers and the visit of the Pope.”
In the February 2 interview with ACI Africa, the MP for Ezo Country urged the people of God in the world’s youngest nation “not to fight each other on the basis of religions and cultures because Jesus Christ came for all of us. Jesus Christ loved us all in heaven. There is no Catholic. There is no Anglican. There is no Presbyterian but in heaven there are children of God.”
She said the visit of the “three great leaders of the three different denominations means unity; it means that the church of Christ on earth is one, and we the people of South Sudan are all Christians regardless of our different denominations.”
Hon. Susan Thomas Perembata with Fr. Don Bosco Onyalla in Juba. Credit: ACI Africa
“The Holy Father with his colleagues are telling us to be united as Christians, as children of God,” she reiterated, and explained, “the unity they are showing us the Catholics, the Anglicans, the Presbyterians, the Muslims, the Seven Day Adventists, and other Christians (is) to work together for peace, to live together as the people of South Sudan.”
Hon. Perembata advocated for the building of a personal relationship with the person of Jesus Christ.
“We should trust in the Lord Jesus Christ; we should follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ; we should love ourselves as the children of God,” she said, and added, "We should forget and forgive our brothers and sisters who have done us something wrong in the past, who might have killed our family members.”
“We should live as people of peace; we should cultivate peace; we should work for peace in different offices where we are. We should work for peace even in the marketplaces, in schools, in gardens,” she emphasized.
“Let us work for peace and let us depend on the Lord totally and let us continue to pray for peace in Africa, and let us continue to work for peace in South Sudan, and let us also continue to pray for peace in the world,” Hon. Perembata told ACI Africa in the February 2 interview.