By Malek Arol Dhieu
You may think Pope Francis’s visit is a simple thing, but it is not, believe me. It takes trust as a price for Pope Francis to visit a country. Do you know how expensive trust is? A one-legged country can’t afford Pope Francis’s visit.
How many countries are at war in Africa, but Pope Francis has not visited them. South Sudan’s war is not as atrocious as those taking place in other countries because of unsophistication of weapons.
When Pope Francis invited President Salva Kiir Mayardit, FVP Dr Riek Machar Teny, VP Taban Deng and VP Nyandeng de Mabior to have their feet kissed, it took him time to magnify South Sudan’s war and the peace agreement being signed to make sure he prayed for durable peace to prevail in South Sudan.
Back to South Sudan, the leaders committed themselves to the full implementation of peace agreement. President Salva Kiir Mayardit keeps promising not to take South Sudanese back to war meanwhile FVP Dr Riek Machar keeps compromising any chapter of the agreement which becomes a bone of contention. This is how the implementation is being pushed.
Enemies of peace try hither and thither to destroy peace, but not even a single signatory threatens to withdraw from the agreement. People say give credit where it is due. H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit sacrificed his youthhood and took up arms to liberate South Sudan; a decision he has never regretted for! Many liberators had shown rainbow colours, but he had only one colour; the colour he has retained to date.
Before Dr John Garang de Mabior received a call to serve in heaven, he chose Salva Kiir Mayardit as the next president to take Southern Sudan to where “ern” would be cut out from ‘southern’ and “Republic of” added to become ‘Republic of South Sudan’. When John Garang tragically died, absentminded liberators almost caused chaos wanting to grasp power, but one liberator who had listened carefully to John Garang told other liberators not only to follow the hierarchy, but also to open the book of John Garang’s prophecies.
This way, Salva Kiir Mayardit came to power as the President of Southern Sudan and First Vice President of the Republic of Sudan. As critical as the 6-year interim period, Salva Kiir Mayardit never gave up canoeing Southern Sudanese across the river of referendum until 2011 when South Sudan was declared independent from Sudan; an achievement which accredited Salva Kiir Mayardit the first president of the Republic of South Sudan.
This followed an accreditation of him being the first elected president of the government of Southern Sudan in 2010 when elections were conducted; an achievement which made SPLM a much more dominant party.
As obvious as the fact that a child learning how to walk often slips over, South Sudan slipped two times; slips whose injuries are the cause of Pope Francis’s visit.
These slips (2013 and 2016 wars) could not revoke the sovereignty of South Sudan. An agreement to flatten the plateaux of these political misunderstandings (slips) was reached in 2018 and the Revitalized Transitional Government of the National Unity (RT-GoNU) was formed. This is how we got here!
The visit of Pope Francis is a monumental milestone in the implementation of peace agreement as His message of peace testifies. Pope Francis unlocked the door of trust and oneness which are the key characters needed among the signatories to propel the agreement to its end. On the same note, a door of embracement was also unlocked for South Sudanese to see themselves as one people belonging to one beloved nation.
So, Pope Francis’s visit was already a 10-fold solution to all what is needed to see South Sudan settled. The credit goes to none other than the Champion of Peace, the Chairman of the mighty dominant party, SPLM, and the President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit. May the Lord through Pope Francis borrow for him wisdom of King Solomon to serve the South Sudanese People. Thanks.
The author is a medical student, University of Juba.
By Malek Arol Dhieu