National, News

Fix peace before elections-Cleric

By Bida Elly David


As South Sudan prepares for its first elections in December this year, clerics have called on political leaders to first fix the peace agreement to pave way for a safe transition to democracy.

The cleric’s development came on Monday during a Catholic youth conference organized by the Archdiocese of Juba.

Youth chaplain of Catholic Archdiocese of Juba, Fr. Kang Linus said that conducting elections on the eve of violence and tribalism is not holistic.

He noted that most elections fail due to political disagreements triggered by lack of consensus and tribalism.

“We in the church try our best to allow people to vote wisely and to select leaders wisely so that they can lead this country forward because, in most parts of Africa, we always see a lot of demonstrations and a lot of fighting because people don’t want to accept results,” Kang said.

Fr. Kang called on citizens, particularly young people, to desist from political or tribal influence during elections, urging them to vote for leaders based on capability.

“These big politicians come, and then they lose. They give young people money as a bribe, thus causing chaos and making them vote blindly. So I think young people have to be smart and vote smartly. They should not allow anybody to influence them,” he stated.

He said the voice of the church has been one preaching for a peaceful election. “Let young people really not allow themselves to be deceived.”

The cleric added that if the government accepts elections, let people have the freedom to vote for their own leaders without political, cultural, or personal influence.

Furthermore, he called on the leaders to accept failures during elections and asked the Lord for another chance, saying conflict destroys and angers the Lord.

Kang discourages tribal and political mobilization to wage attacks against others, saying forgiveness and reconciliation should be values to unite people.

“They shouldn’t allow people to divide themselves because, in most cases, we have tribal issues coming in. We see people voting for leaders according to tribal lines. They mobilize people from certain tribes to attack another tribe. Let’s try to be one. Cohesion is very important,” Kang emphasized.

Moreover, the youth chaplain stated that the Catholic Church remains committed to helping the government by preaching peace for the country to have good elections.

“It is not by saying with the mouth that we have elections, but how are you preparing the citizens for them? In terms of other things, we only advise the government to be responsible in the coming elections,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fr. Alfred Mawadri, a missionary priest, urged the government to have a positive programme that transforms the country into a peaceful environment.

“For a stable country to reign, there must be peace. And if there is no peace, even if we might not have elections and then people might erupt into another war, it is good to help people understand and embrace peace,’’ he said.

Alfred said that wishing to have elections without faith in God becomes a challenge to the Holy Spirit.

“We embrace peace and move together as one nation, one country, and then we shall talk about holding a peaceful election; if we are not prepared for peace, the election might not be fruitful,’’ he said.

He stated that a successful election is when the government prepares the people by advocating for peace through forgiveness and love.

“What the country should be doing is peace education; this will be very important. And I believe the country can still do great,” he said.

He called on the government to involve agents of peace to help them proclaim unity among the people.

“If they dispatch the agents of peace, such as the civil society and the political society, we will work together as agents of peace building so that people are prepared for the election,” he hinted.

He added that peace is a priority for the stability of the country.

“We have to take it seriously that we need peace. And surely there’s a kind of relative peace, but we need more.”

Last year, Cardinal Stephen Ameyo Mulla also urged leaders to demonstrate efforts towards ending conflict and embark on advocating for peace.


Comments are closed.