Pope Francis



The South Sudanese opposing parties credit the persistent efforts of Pope Francis and his prayer for peace in the formation of a joint declaration. The Sant’ Egidio Community in Rome mediated the Agreement.

In the South Sudan civil war that began shortly after the country’s independence in 2011, hundreds of thousands of people died. The conflict was primarily between the forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and the rebel groups led by former Vice President Riek Machar.

The “Rome Declaration” signed by leaders of the government of South Sudan and the opposition groups is a tangible and positive sign of hope in the youngest nation’s arduous path toward peace and stability.

The South Sudan Peace agreement is signed in Rome.
The South Sudan Peace agreement is signed in Rome. A photo by Willian West from Upsplash.

The parties, who set January 15 as the day on which a new truce is to come into effect, said in the Declaration that they were humbled and profoundly inspired by the constant “spiritual and moral appeal for peace, reconciliation and brotherhood of Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury” and other leaders of the Church.

Pope Francis and The Vatican City

The Vatican City
The warring leaders of South Sudan meet in Rome to sign The Peace Declaration intiated by The Pope. A photo by Alex Holyoake on Upsplash.

Pope Francis has worked relentlessly for unity in the newest nation in the world, even hosting its warring leaders individually in the Vatican last April.

In April 2019, the Vatican arranged a peace-building conference for the political leaders in South Sudan. Pope Francis knelt to kiss the South Sudan’s president and opposition movement leader feet.

“It is enormous. We reply to the Pope’s modesty, love for the South Sudanese people, and unfailing efforts to call upon us to bring peace and end this conflict. All parties answer this call of compassion, modesty, and goodwill that indeed disgraces us: how can we fail to bring peace if peace drives us to do so? And that’s our tranquility. Who is fighting this war? South Sudanese, among themselves,” said Benjamin. 

Turning to the root cause of the dispute

Barnaba Maria Benjamin, head of the South Sudan government envoy, was grateful for the favorable and free environment provided by Sant’Egidio Group. For the first time, they discussed the root causes of civil conflict in Sudan, and it permitted the concerned parties to answer fundamental questions without any coercion or discrimination. “We signed this Rome declaration when South Sudan’s government agreed to discuss the root causes of the problem. It cannot solve the problem without addressing the root causes,” he said.

He said that now solutions to critical problems relating to elections, frontiers, good governance, accountability for committed crimes, management of resources, corruption fight, and all inadequately addressed issues in the 2018 Agreement are to be identified.

Benjamin answered why his delegation in Khartoum refused to sign the Agreement of 2018, which he said was raised but not adequately discussed. He also said the Sudan government was pushing its agenda on the parties to make a hasty agreement on Juba’s oil resources. In the coming months, the talks will begin to pave the way for permanent peace with the introduction of a collective plan of Sant’ Egidio.

Nigerian Prophet TB Joshua holds prayers at J1, South Sudan, on November 12, 2019.

On Tuesday, November 12, 2019, the famous televangelist Prophet TB Joshua visited South Sudan. The presidential palace prayers were to be conducted by the philanthropist Prophet TB Joshua, and arrangements were on top gear. “Indeed, he will come to hold prayers for peace tomorrow. He’s going to J1 to pray for the leaders,” presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny said.

Salva Kiir for peace
The president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir and Prophet TB Joshua from SCOAN, Nigeria in Juba. A photo By Faith Sanyu for AOTR.

Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly known as TB Joshua, is a renowned Nigerian Prophet, televangelist, and philanthropist. He is the founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), and owns the most-watched Christian television networkEmmanuel TV‘ with more than 500 million viewers around the globe.

TB Joshua gained notoriety in South Sudan as he prophesied a failed coup against President Salva Kiir before the start of the 2013 war. Kiir then sent a high-level delegation to Nigeria to invite the Prophet to offer him a consultative role in the South Sudanese government.

President Salva Kiir invited TB Joshua to South Sudan eight times but in vain. Eventually, the Prophet saw it fit to honor the invitation on November 12, 2019, as directed by God. “I was waiting to hear from God about the requests, and this time God said ‘yes,’ and here I am,” says the SCOAN cleric.

The Prophet noted with concern about how outsiders couldn’t come to South Sudan without travel obstacles or barriers as he also faced challenges during his travel to the world’s youngest nation.

Prayers for the peace of South Sudan
Nigerin Pastor Prophet TB Joshua meets His Excellency Salva Kiir at J1 in South Sudan Juba. A photo By Faith Sanyu for AOTR

“It is time to put your differences aside. Whether a man wants it or not, God is going to bring peace in this nation, and it is already happening. If I am a Prophet, this will not go without fulfillment,” said TB Joshua while addressing the leaders present at J1 in Juba, South Sudan.

“I would like to thank the man of God for coming and disapproving the world’s perspective that the streets of South Sudan are littered with dead bodies and that there is no life in Juba. Now that the man of God has come, I believe peace is around the corner,” said His Excellency Salva Kiir when addressing the leaders at J1, South Sudan, after TB Joshua had finished his speech.

The South Sudan peace declaration in Rome on January 15, 2020, signed.

On Sunday in Rome, the Republic of South Sudan and the Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) signed a peace agreement that will be effective on January 15. “This initiative will bring peace for the people,” Sant’Egidio Community Secretary-General Paolo Impagliazzo.

The Pope call for peace in South Sudan
The South Sudan Peace Declaration is signed in Rome. Photo: Upsplash.

Peace talks in Rome mediated by the Sant’Egidio Catholic community, opposition groups, and the South Sudanese government has committed to ending conflicts, seeking political mediation and providing humanitarian assistance to all South Sudan citizens.

Dr. Sunday De John, Opposition Alliance communications director, hopes this will pave the way for a long-awaited visit to South Sudan by Pope Francis. “We have acknowledged the cessation of hostilities. There will be no conflict between opposition forces and government forces. The Agreement means relative protection, forgiveness, harmony, reconciliation, will prevail, and it would allow the mobility of local and international tourists as early as February, like His Holiness the Pope, “De John said.

“It’s something they can’t forget because Pope Francis works so hard for them in their country,” Impacliazzo said.

Benjamin said at a conference on January 13, ” No one built Rome in one day, so with our tranquility, we restore it.” He said it is essential that Sant’Egidio monitors the enforcement of the Agreement. He also said South Sudan’s government is committed to “inclusiveness,” which he called “the foundation of South Sudan’s future.”

Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Former Head of the presbyterian Church of Scotland, and all the religious leaders who have fought for the same cause, through their constant spiritual and moral appeals for unity, reconciliation, and fraternity have humbled us. The two parties have expressed their will, under the auspices of Sant’Egidio, to promote political dialog to encourage further unity and stability.

We are here to admire the untiring efforts of his Saints Pope Francis since he called the leaders of our country to ask them for peace. The Pope, Archbishop Welby, and Rev. John Chalmers, former moderator of the Scottish Presbyterian Church, sent Christmas greetings to the South Sudanese people, wishing the peace accords to be enforced quickly.

“May the Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, illuminate and direct your steps along the path of goodness and honesty, and satisfy our desire to visit your beloved country,” the message says. Pope Francis, who has no international trips planned for 2020, has repeatedly expressed his expectation that he and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will visit South Sudan this year.

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