October 30, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has resumed attending church services following a nine-month absence after a senior priest criticised his administration during a service, saying he was responsible for the “mess” in the country
- South Sudanese president Salva Kiir stopped attending church services after he was offended by comments made by a senior priest in January (File)
Kiir, who attends the English mass at St Theresa’s Cathedral in Kator when in Juba, told the congregation on Sunday that he had stopped attending church for prayers after hearing the priest’s comments in January.
However, the president however said as head of state he accepted the mistakes levelled at him, although he was not responsible.
“The priest should have come or called me for advice on any particular matter, instead of launching [a] personal attack in the church during the mass. The door of my office is always open to anyone. The priest should have used such avenues. I am open for any discussion on national matters”, said Kiir.
He explained that a he had recently been approached by a bishop, who had asked him why he had stopped attending church services.
“I told the bishop the reason for this absence for prayers, but now I have decided to resume attending church services”, he said.
The president said he had also stopped attending wedding parties and funeral prayers as some people used the occasions for political purposes.
“I also stopped attending wedding and funeral parties, but I will start attending them [again] as well, although they are used for political campaigns”, he said.
Sudan Tribune was not able to independently verify what the priest said during his sermon that prompted the president to stop attending church.
The church has declined to comment on the matter.
Critics of president Kiir’s administration claim the priest spoke about a number of corruption and sex scandals which have embroiled some government officials, describing them as “evil acts” for which those involved should be punished by God, regardless of their political status in society.