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Bishop Paride calls for forgiveness ahead of RTGoNU formation

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Sunday, August 11, 2019

Retired Emeritus Bishop Paride Taban

Emeritus Bishop Paride Taban, is urging the peace parties to embrace the religious teachings of forgiveness and reconciliation ahead of the formation of the next transitional government of national unity.

Bishop Paride says the leaders should continue to seek the support of the church in reconciling the nation.

In 2018, the Church led what was known as the Intra-South Sudanese dialogue -to try and persuade the warring parties to narrow the gap in areas of disagreements.

The religious leaders tried in vain to soften the parties to compromise their positions on governance, permanent ceasefire, and security arrangements.

It, however, succeeded in creating a conducive environment for dialogue in Khartoum when IGAD later handed over the mediation efforts to Sudan and Kenya -leading to the signing of the revitalized peace agreement.

The church has also in the past suggested using traditional approaches to resolving conflicts in South Sudan.

Bishop Paride said the church remains a neutral body which can influence forgiveness and reconciliation efforts in the country.

The renown cleric won an award in 2017 from the Canterbury for his role in promoting Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation in South Sudan.

He has also won several other awards, including the ‘Sergio Vieira de Mello’ Prize by the United Nations in 2013 in recognition for his efforts in promoting peace among communities within South Sudan.

His remarks come a few months after Pope Francis organized a retreat at the Vatican for the leaders of South Sudan.

The 82-year-old Pope kissed the feet of President Salva Kiir, Dr. Riek Machar, Taban Deng, and Rebecca Nyandeng and called on them to unite, reconcile and serve the people selflessly.

Bishop Paride believes the church can still play a crucial role in the next phase of rallying the nation around a common agenda.

He asserted the role of the church in advancing peace over the last 50 years through the Council of Churches.

Paride appealed to the leaders to bury the hatchets of the past and together embrace the challenges of the present and the future.

“The church has the heart of humanity with love, and that is what God in the heart is; being ready to forgive, ready to forget the past –which is long, and ready to build a new life in people,” he remarked.

The retired Bishop was speaking at the Vatican while traveling with members of the National Pre-Transitional Committee who were in Rome to brief the church about the ongoing peace implementation.

According to the Revitalized Peace Agreement, the next Transitional Government is expected to establish the Commission for Truth,
Reconciliation and Healing to spearhead efforts to address the legacy of conflicts, promote peace, national reconciliation, and healing, including compensation and reparation in South Sudan.

President Salva Kiir, SPLM-IO leader, Dr. Riek Machar and other opposition leaders are expected to form a coalition government in November this year to spearhead governance reforms, service delivery and unite the nation.

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