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We need to establish a South Sudan with the fear of God, says ECS Archbishop

May 8, 2011 (KAMPALA) - The archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) Canon Daniel Deng said that the soon-to-be-independent Republic of South Sudan should be established as a country with God fearing people.

Left to right, Bishop Samuel Enosa Peni (ECS Diocese of Nzara), Bishop Peter Munde (ECS Diocese of Yambio) and Archbishop Daniel Deng of the ECS Archdiocese of Juba (Photo: Gift Bullen Friday)

The Archbishop made this remark at all Saints Cathedral, Timbiro in Yambio County on Saturday 7th May 2011 upon his arrival in the state capital Yambio.

Sudan’s south, where people mainly practice Christianity and local beliefs, is due to secede from the predominantly Islamic north in July following a referendum.

Archbishop Deng who inaugurated the projects of the ECS Diocese of Nzara County on Sunday May 8 was received by the governor of the state Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro with some of his cabinet members and clergymen.

Addressing the congregation at All Saints Cathedral Timbiro in Yambio County, Deng disclosed that South Sudan should not allow mistakes of other nations as they have learnt a lot in the past years of the struggle.

South Sudan has been a war with the north almost continually since 1955. The second civil war, which was partly triggered by religion and the imposition of Islamic Shari’a Law to South Sudan by the Khartoum government, began in 1983 and ended in 2005 peace deal after around two million lives had been lost.

“Sudan had been in serious crisis in the past 22 years, therefore this golden chance of freedom should be for the development of the nation,” said the Archbishop.

Deng condemned any kind of division amongst the southerners more especially Christians, citing that “there is no development without the unity of the people.”

He said appreciated the warm welcome he received from government and church officials.

“It is God’s blessings since Nzara ECS diocese was inaugurated last year and have rendered projects like the clinics, bishop’s guest house as this shows that the church is close to the people” said Deng.

He urged all government officials in the south and all religious denominations “to pay more attention to the development of the new nation which needs commitments of all sides, both government and the churches.”

Bishop Deng called upon the churches to be close to and support the government and pray for the government for better services to the communities.

The archbishop hailed the achievements of the current government of Western Equatoria state under the governor Bakosoro and gave him the churches support.

“There is no leader that comes by him or herself, but all are chosen by God to lead God’s people” decried Deng.

Deng pointed out that the churches in Sudan played a large role in the conduct of South Sudan’s referendum on self-determination, in which 99% of southerners voted for secession.

“We wrote a book titled let our people choose, before the CPA and now that we have achieved our independence we shall this time write let our people be ruled well,” said Archbishop Deng.

The governor of the state Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro said it was a blessing “to have the God’s person in the state at this crucial moment where the south is heading towards declaration of independence.”

Bakosoro added that “it is the role of the government to provide maximum protections to God’s people in the state.”

Before the south’s independence vote in January Bakosoro suspended the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Western Equatoria describing them as traitors for not registering to vote due to their religious beliefs. A place of worship for Jehovah’s Witnesses was arson attacked in the run up to the vote. However Bakosoro lifted the ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses on January 29.

The governor urged Christians to pray hard for the government so that the government can provide services to the state’s communities.

“We shall always be close to the churches, for advises and guidance - so that we can rule the people well” the governor said.

Bakosoro who was once a seminarian is in favour of a close relationship between Church and state.