Clerics promoting violence in South Sudan, says VP

South Sudan’s vice-president, James Wani Igga

(JUBA) – South Sudan vice-president, James Wani Igga has, in an unexpected move, accused the clergy of promoting violence in the young nation by allegedly spreading hate messages.

Igga, while addressing the congregation at All Saint Cathedral Church of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan in Juba Sunday, claimed some said some clergymen were orchestrators of violence.

“Some clergymen have resorted to preaching against personalities in this country. They misinforming believers that President Salva Kiir and the government are bad,” he was quoted saying on Sunday.

The vice-president did not, however, name any of these clergymen he accused.

South Sudan descended into violence on December 2013 following political disagreements within the country’s ruling party. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 3 million.

According to Igga, the violence in the country could have ended by now if some church leaders desisted from misleading the people.

He dismissed claims by some clergy men that the government had failed in its mandate to protect the population during this civil war.

“They [clergy men should not mix politics with religion,” Igga stressed.

The church, despite the vice-president’s utterances, is also known to have played positive roles in efforts to end the five-year civil war.

In February, for instance, Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church declared 23 February as a day of fasting and prayer for the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

The Pope, in a message, appealed to those who are faithful to seek spiritual intervention by fasting as well as praying for peace. The Pontiff also invited non-Catholic faithful to play a part in the search for peace in the two countries and around the world.

(ST)

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