South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has turned to God and thought for forgiveness for his sins. It is reported that during the last week’s a national prayers held on Friday in the capital Juba President Kiir made an emotional plea to God and South Sudanese for forgiveness for all the sins he has committed as President of South Sudan.
“I humbly repent and ask for your loving mercy and forgiveness.” President Kiir said during the National day of prayers taking many by surprise.
The National Day for prayers was declared by the President Kiir himself as a day for all South Sudanese to repent and forgive each other in preparations for a National Dialogue expected to begin soon.
President kiir asked God during the prayers to not condemn him and not punish him, but to forgive him and give salvation.
“I pray that you may not bring condemnation and punishment, but forgiveness and salvation to the people of South Sudan,” President Kiir said during the prayers
President Kiir told the crowd at the National Day of Prayers that he has sinned in all ways possible, he had sinned in thoughts, in words and also in deeds, that he failed to do what is right.
“Most merciful God, through my shortcomings, I have sinned against you in thoughts, in words, and deeds by what I have done and what I have failed to do,” the President said.
However many observers have warned that South Sudan’s proposed National Dialogue might not succeed or achieved required results of restoring peace and stability in the war-torn Nation due to lack of participation from President Kiir’s arch rivals and key stakeholders in any peace process, including the main armed opposition group, the SPLM-IO lead by Riek Machar, in addition to newly formed rebel groups from the Equatorial region.
The African Union Envoy for South Sudan Alpha Oumar Konare called last week for South Sudan’s proposed National Dialogue to be lead by a “neutral” personality in order to achieve required results, calling on all South Sudanese, from armed opposition, to civil society and the government to take the opportunity and participate inclusively to bring peace to their country.
However, South Sudan’s Minister of information Micheal Makuei told the media yesterday that Kiir’s government would not accept “inclusive dialogue” and would not allow any other rebel groups or opposition groups that are opposing the regime to participate in the National Dialogue, raising concerns about success of the whole process.
The National Day for prayers was attended by church leaders in Juba, government officials, security forces, civil society organisations, and civilians mainly from President Kiir’s Bahr al-Ghazal region, as many civilians from other regions are said to have boycotted the prayers as being a political “mockery” to war victims.
Bishop Paulino Lokudu who is the Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Juba the highest Catholic Bishop in South Sudan attended the prayers.
The Bishop told President Kiir to follow on his words and prayers as he made during the National Day for Prayers in order to be taken serious and to be seen as genuine, saying it was President kiir himself who called everybody for the prayers in order to prepare the country amd people for the coming National Dialogue.
“We have been invited to this National Prayer for Repentance and Forgiveness by the President. I very much hope, and I believe that the majority of us….. came to pray.” The bishop said
The Bishop called on President Kiir to commit this time to his words and promises he made during the National Day for prayers, saying the country and the people will be waiting to see what next step the president and his government will take after their calls for forgiveness and national dialogue.
“Your Excellency, I want to question you; why did you call this people to the heat here like this; are they coming to choose evil or to choose peace?”
The Bishop added that the president’s next action would prove to the people whether the Salva Kiir and his government are genuine in his calls for forgiveness and national dialogue.
“Our government, which way are going to take and what is the government going to do after this prayer?” asked the Catholic bishop leading the prayers
“We expect peace, Justice, forgiveness, genuine dialogue, good governance, security, rule of law after this prayer. We expect after this prayer an end to; raping, torture, arbitrary arrests, corruption, tribalism. These things will continue if this prayer is misused.” concluded Bishop Paulino
Civil war engulfed South Sudan in December 2013, just 2 years after it’s dramatic independence from the Sudan.
Disagreements over who should be leader of the country’s ruling SPLM party turned violent when President Salva Kiir took the then Vice President Riek Machar’s bid to contests against him for the party leadership as a coup attempt, violence broke-out leading to a full blown civil war.
A peace agreement was signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August 2015, however the IGAD mediated agreement fell apart in July 2016 when fighting broke-out again between forces loyal to President Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar, Kiir accused Machar of planning a second coup again, this has lead to new violence that have now spread country wide to previously peaceful regions of Equatoria and Western Bahr al-Ghazal, more and new rebel groups have also emerged.
The UN has accused the warring parties of Human rights abuses, of committing atrocities amounting to war crimes, and also warned of ongoing ethnic cleansing and a potential for Genocide.