March 10, 2017 (JUBA) – A South Sudanese bishop, who presided over Friday’s national day of prayer urged President Salva Kiir to “go pray alone in a room for peace in the country”.
- The Archbishop of Juba Diocese Lokudu Loro
Catholic Archbishop, Paulino Lokudu Loro said the government must choose between peace, unity, reconciliation and justice over rape, killings and arbitrary arrests.
“Mr President, go into the room [after this gathering] to pray for peace in your country,’’ he said.
The cleric warned further warned the president, stressing that torture, corruption, raping, arbitrary arrests and tribalism would continue if the latter misused his prayer.
“If this prayer is correct, many things should happen in this country; peace, justice, love genuine dialogue and unity should happen after this prayer. Good governance, security, good economy, provision of service, we can expect then to happen after this prayer, if the prayer is correct,” said the Bishop in a mixture of English and Arabic.
The South Sudanese leader called for the national day of prayer last week and delivered his own prayer before the crowd on Friday, asking for divine forgiveness.
“I pray not for condemnation but for forgiveness. I had over my heart and body for your blessing, Guide me Lord for who you want me to be. Give me wisdom not for my merit but for your loving kindness,’’ said the president in a prepared prayer that read to thousands of his supporters at John Garang Mausoleum in the capital, Juba.
President Kiir, who had never prayed in public since assuming chairmanship of South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM), called for “the most merciful God” to redirect his deeds.
“Through my shortcomings, I have sinned against You in words and deeds for what I have done,” said the president, without mentioning any specific mistakes he committed as a leader.
The country’s First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai and Vice President, James Wani Igga knelt as the South Sudanese leader delivered his five minute prayer on Friday.
Several Christian and Muslim sermons were delivered during the six hour prayer.
“I prayer should not go in vain. Ï hope you [President Kiir] called us in this heat [sun] because you want peace. After this prayer, is the government going to choose evil?” said Bishop Lokudu.
Pentecostal Church Bishop, Isaiah Majok Dau called for “humanity in our hearts” during the prayer.
“If you are repenting today and you use to kill people, don’t kill anymore, regardless of who you are. If you are repenting today and you use to talk badly about other tribes, cease and talk about South Sudan,” added Bishop Dau.
Several prominent Christian leaders, namely retired Catholic Bishop Diocese of Torit, Paride Taban, retired Anglican Bishop of Bor Diocese, Nathaniel Garang Anyieth, Archbishop of Anglican Church of South Sudan and Sudan, Daniel Deng Bul were present.
South Sudan’s Council of Churches chose repentance and forgiveness as the theme for the event, also held in the capitals.