Kiir and Machar call for reconciliation in South Sudan
The South Sudan President, Salva Kiir Mayardiit, and his long time foe, now Vice President, Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, inn their Christmas message to the young country deeply divided along ethnic lines, on Tuesday 25 December, appealed to South Sudanese to unite and reconcile their difference as they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas.
President Kiir, on a radio programme, said “as your leader, I am calling for reconciliation among the people of South Sudan. We must return to each other and we must take full measures to overcome fears of seeking forgiveness,” Kiir added that the people “must seek healing deep down our hearts and our wounds cannot heal until we are forgiven and reconciled,” he said.
“We have signed a revitalized peace agreement which we are implementing diligently. We have taken extraordinary measures to forgive each other,” Kiir also called on all “fellow citizens to stand with me, with your government and with your country, as we drive together to restore peace and stability in our country.”
Machar, on his part, said, “I would like to take this opportunity as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to call on the people of South Sudan to begin a new page of reconciliation and forgiveness,” Machar said admitting that in the protracted conflict that crippled the country for so many years, “the fabric of our society has been destroyed and our communities divided along ethnic lines.”
Machar appealed to South Sudanese to work together “and mend the fabric of our society as we remember the prince of peace, Jesus Christ.”
The opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, SPLM-IO leader, Dr. Riek Machar was pushed into a negotiation and settlement, with President Kiir by the international community earlier in September in an agreement signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“It is my greatest joy to announce to you that the SPLM/SPLA (IO) will ensure that the agreement is fully implemented in spirit and letter and once for all end the suffering of our people,” Machar said in the Christmas message.
“In this regards we call upon our partners to have the same commitment,” Machar added.
In the agreement, President Kiir, will remain president for three years.
Hasan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos