By Adia Jildo
A member of parliament in the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) representing Gogrial East County at the national parliament has set a Seventh Day Adventist Church ablaze in his constituency over the weekend.
Salva Mathok Gengdit, a military officer who is now a lawmaker, told No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper in an interview that his action was legit despite the fact that he is a lawmaker and knew of the law.
He claimed that the church was causing more harm than good to the traditions and customs of his community.
“I am a lawmaker and what happened to my community is beyond” he said. “The Adventist Church is fighting our identity. What makes us to be identified is what they don’t want” Mathok added.
Mathok said the church has caused immorality in the community as the church members convert young women to the church claiming they were sent by God.
“In Dinka, when a girl spends one hour away, she is told to get back to where she came from or she accepts the punishment so that she does not repeat it again,” he cited.
He further cited that the church is against the making and drinking of local brew which represents the identity of the Dinka.
“White stuff is what blesses our marriages; this is what they do not want. They want us to drink the Bazungu (whites) drink while Gogrial community ruled out other drinks except the white stuff” Mathok listed.
He assured of taking further steps to save the identity, culture and tradition of his community as he had done before.
“I know I am a Member of Parliament. I know the constitution talks of freedom of expression, freedom of religion. That is not the way” he argued.
“What we were fighting for 21 years was our identity from the Arabs (Muslims) we fought for this because we were not Arabs or Muslims. We are Africans, non-believers and the war led us along the roots of fighting for our identity” he said.
He urged the church to move out of the community before he would take other alternatives.
“The way forward is for this church to move out of Gogrial East County then we will come to make dialogue with the commissioner of the county but if not, all this church will be burnt down, I assure you” he further warned.
Meanwhile No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper could not immediately establish contact with the Seventh Day Adventist church administration for reaction on the attack against their denomination.
The South Sudan Transitional Constitution provides for the freedom of religion, peaceful assembly and workshop.