By Miyong Kuon
The Holy Father arrives on Friday in Juba. He already declared an opened Air Holy Mass on Sunday at Freedom square.
Will Vatican’s seriousness to see peace restored in the country met with responsibility, or will politics squander this opportunity once again
While the nation is poised to welcome the Papal’s peace message for the world’s youngest country, citizens and leaders at all levels have significant roles to play. Still, the two principals bear the most critical responsibilities for a fruitful outcome.
In South Sudan, people are eager but also anxious. They want peace and harmony. Indeed the nation will smile when the two principals emerge smiling from the state’s House together with Pope.
His official visit to Africa and specifically to South Sudan is historic. It could be a defining moment and the beginning to an end of the crisis in South Sudan if, and only if, leaders adhere to Papal’s peaceful call.
In the country, no one else but President and his vice Presidents declared to keep the peace once the Holly Father prayed for the nation.
Therefore, leaders now have a window of opportunity to put the people first and forge a new and fresh political will.
The two principals can call on citizens to unite behind them. But this chance comes once and will all be frittered away if not taken seriously.
So, with Holly’s Father in town, leaders should allow political space with tolerance among each other and jump over the hurdles preventing the implementation of the peace agreement.
South Sudan is young and profoundly in danger of food shortage because of flood and war, yet, the country is not on the radar. But the coming of the Pope is an excellent opportunity to put the young nation back on the world’s map and among Christian populations.
Sunday, Juba will wake up in a different city, knowing Pope will attend a Holy Mass in the world’s youngest capital.
His message may not be a game-changer, but there is hope and confidence that he will transform the hearts and minds of the leaders. His coming is already blowing fresh air into the troubled nation.
Holy Father’s presence in South Sudan for the first time is profound. It could wash away any particles of hatred and unite the country.
Everyone feels a sense of ease, peace, and reconciliation. However, peace is not the responsibility of leaders alone. Everyone must play a positive role. Smoke only simmer where there is fire.
South Sudan achieved independence ten years ago in 2011. However, two years later, conflict erupted, killing ten of thousands; hundreds became internally displaced persons while millions sought refuge in neighboring countries. Leave the past and build on a brighter future, and it can start now.
Country leaders should take advantage of the Papal’s visit, but the citizens must unite to call for lasting peace and leave politics to the politicians. Whether you support Viva blue, the Oyeeh red, or any other political party, South Sudan must come first. Regardless of your tribe, religion, creed, or party, put South Sudan first.
Then, when citizens form a collective voice, people can unite leaders to implement peace and restore stability in the country.
Miyong Kuon is a South Sudanese political commentator. He is currently working on his Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership UNO/College of Saint Mary Omaha, Nebraska. He can be reached at: Kuayak@gmail.com