, 14 February, 2020 / 1:25 AM
With just over one week to the formation of a transitional government of national unity in South Sudan, a Catholic Bishop of Yei has called upon Christians to pray for peace during the ongoing negotiations between conflicting parties in the country.
“The period of the extension of the peace agreement is coming to an end and I think our responsibility is prayer so that the ceasefire holds and the negotiations continue in peace,” Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe told congregation that gathered at Christ the King Cathedral in Yei on Sunday February 9.
Formation of South Sudan’s transitional government has been slated for February 22.
Signed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa in September 2018, the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) provided for the rebels to join the transitional government and the settling of a number of disputes, including the number of regional states the country should have and their boundaries.
However, President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar missed to establish a power-sharing government in November last year, agreeing in a meeting that was mediated by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Sudan's interim leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, to push back the formation of the new administration by 100 days.
Bishop Tombe expressed optimism that the unity government would be formed on the latest deadline of February 22 saying, “We hope that this (formation of government) will not be postponed again.” He was quoted by Radio Easter of the Catholic Diocese of Yei, a Yei-based radio that is part of the Catholic Radio Network (CRN).
The South Sudanese Prelate observed that the formation of the government “depends on the goodwill of all those involved in causing war in this country and all the efforts of those who are trying to bring peace to South Sudan.”
“I urge that you continue to pray for peace in this country for ourselves. We are asking for God’s protection. We pray that nobody spoils the efforts of those who are trying to help bring peace to South Sudan,” the 76-year-old Bishop appealed.
He further encouraged Christians to make prayers for the safe of the whole country.
“The peace in South Sudan cannot be complete if one state is at war. If other states are not in peace then there is no peace in South Sudan yet,” he said.
He added, “We pray for peace not only for Yei River state, but the whole nation. Let all states in this country be peaceful so that the government is formed in a peaceful atmosphere. We ask the government to continue in the spirit of dialogue and negotiation.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa