Juba, 28 February 2019; South Sudan Roman Catholic Bishops have finally given a public indictment of the Kiir government and about the forms of the current Revitalized Peace agreement broke by Khartoum. The South Sudan Catholic Bishops gave the stern statements after concluding their three days Bishops meeting in the capital Juba. Archbishop Paulino Lokudu Loro, the head of South Sudanese Roman Catholic Bishop said the current form of Revitalized Peace agreement has not addressed the root causes and the core problems of the people of South Sudan rather it centred on handing power-sharing percentages to the negotiating leaders.
Archbishop Paulino Lokudu further said the current peace with its current model will not endure, therefore they called upon the South Sudanese peace parties, IGAD and friends of South Sudan to collaborate to find a new model which will address the root causes. In other words, the Bishops are calling for a fresh phase of negotiations.
Archbishop Paulino further expressed his dissatisfaction with the current phase of implementation which doesn't address human rights abuses while the regime continues to inflict pain on its citizens with impunities, Little has changed in terms of national wide murder, rape, sexually violent, looting and continues the forceful occupation of civilians land and properties.
Archbishop Paulino Lokudu urges the government and opposition parties to release all the prisoners of wars in their custody and he wants the president to engage the stakeholders to bring an end to the current surge of fighting in Yei River state. The Bishops issued new called for genuine peace that must include the inclusions of the traditional leaders such as chiefs for reconciliations and national dialogue to yield meaningful outcomes. Further, they also want the current national dialogue be used as a vehicle to facilitate inter-tribal dialogue.
The bishops also resolved that there is an urgent need to settle the issue of the current status of the 32 states and their boundary, this is unprecedented voices that represent the people of South Sudan, but it remains to be seen whether the president will listen to these voices of wisdom as Michael Makuei already fired back harshly.
The Archbishop assures the nation of their readiness in assisting to usher in the parties which are not part of the current peace agreement.
For his part, the outspoken auxiliary bishop Santo Loku says, "the issue of good governance and practice to listening to the constituencies for a better agreement is a big issue" The auxiliary Bishop Santo said they have written about in their letter the issue of 32 states and they need it to be addressed immediately because it is one of the root causes of the conflict, and he says the current peace will not hold because the agreement was drafted by Sudan and Uganda, only the warring parties were forced to sign it without listening to the people affected. Bishop Santo also says the agreement did not address the issues of rampant corruption and institutional reforms.
After the South Sudanese Roman Catholic remarks, South Sudan's belligerent information minister who doubled as government spokesperson, Michael Makuei, says, “ I am really very sorry and disappointed to hear such comments from renowned religious sect, I am saying this because, to our strongest belief that the agreement addresses the concerns of the people of South Sudan, it is for reform, it fights corruption, it is for democratic transfer of power”.
Justin S Kwaje