In South Sudan, President Kiir, 1st VP Machar encouraged to invest in peace and people, not positions

August 16, 2019

Original Article by Charles Wote on EYE Radio News

Archbishop Robert Gosselin, of the Archdiocese of the Middle East and North Africa of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches spoke to Eye Radio in Yambio, South Sudan on Sunday August 11, 2019.

A visiting Archbishop has encouraged President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to invest more in uplifting the lives of their people and not in strengthening their individual positions within the government.

Bishop Robert said the current peace agreement is a significant test, and an opportunity for both leaders to demonstrate to the world what type of country they hope to build.

Kiir as President and Machar as First Vice President are expected to lead a government of national unity this November with four other Vice Presidents represented by the Former Detainees, and the Opposition Alliance.

The main task of the coalition government will be to restore permanent and sustainable peace, stability and security in South Sudan.

Bishop Robert is the Archbishop for the Archdiocese of North Africa - Middle East in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches.

He told Eye Radio in Yambio town that it is time the leaders show more concern to the plight of the ordinary person and not their interests.

“I will say to President Salva Kiir, [first] Vice President [designate] Riek Machar and anyone else involved in the process that, we encourage you to invest your today for the nation's tomorrow,” Gosselin said.

The parties are expected to share various portfolios in the next coalition government at the national and state level. Each party shall recommend officials to fill ministerial posts, head of commissions and other sectors of governance to President Kiir.

But the Archbishop said the only price the parties have to pay is “peace.”

“Peace is the price both parties must be willing to pay; and everyone should be concerned more with peace than power, more with the people than with positions,” he said.

“Let us build a nation that can stand strong and be a shining light in the world,” Archbishop Gosselin stated.

Kiir and Machar are also expected to oversee and facilitate a people-driven process of national reconciliation and healing through an independent mechanism per the peace deal, including budgetary provisions for compensation and reparations.

The agreement also mandates the leaders to carry out radical reforms and transformation of public financial management systems to ensure transparency and accountability.

It further stipulates that the leaders shall rebuild and recover destroyed physical infrastructure and give special attention to prioritizing the rebuilding of livelihoods of those affected by the conflict.

Archbishop Gosselin said all these are possible if the leaders forgive one another for past mistakes, and accept to work collaboratively.

He said their good intentions will be replicated in the country and it may begin to heal.

“Maybe someone had their home burned down. They don’t know if it was SPLA-IO, or NAS, or the government; they don’t know the men who did it. But in their hearts, they can choose to forgive them and choose to release them and say let ‘it go’ - and that begins the healing process,” the Archbishop added.

“But it begins with the healing process in a relationship,” he affirmed.

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