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Episcopal Church of the Sudan issues independence day manifesto, The Church of England Newspaper, July 29, 2011 p 5. August 2, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Sudan.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Episcopal Church of the Sudan has pledged its support to the fledgling Republic of South Sudan, offering its assistance in building the civil institutions necessary for the success of the world’s newest independent state.

On 9 July the House of Bishops of the country’s largest Church released a pastoral letter congratulating the South Sudan government on achieving independence. “We now have a real government,” the bishops said, noting these were “great achievements which must be recognized, celebrated and guarded carefully.”

Independence was not a panacea, however, for all ills. Border disputes with the Khartoum government remain a flashpoint for conflict, while the Lords Resistance Army’s depredations continue in the southwest.

The bishops identified three areas of particular concern for the new country: “Achieving peace and non-violence; Promoting unity by reducing tribalism; and Promoting equitable development through effective decentralisation.”

The first step in building peace was for those “who have taken up arms” to lay down their weapons and “join in the building of the newborn nation.” The second step was to foster respect for the rule of law and equality before the law.

The Church would do its part towards working for “greater justice, peace and reconciliation in South Sudan” by bringing its national presence to the table to help mediate conflicts between the various militia groups and “promote non-violence and peace at community level through its pastoral role in trauma counselling, local-level mediation and the promotion of the Ten Commandments to discourage factionalism and the formation of civil mercenary groups.”

The Church would also do its part to end the curse of tribalism.

“Corruption and nepotism give birth to tribalism. Corruption is more than bribery or embezzlement of funds; it includes abuse of power or authority for private gain. The appointment of people to positions based on family or clan or other ties is also corruption. These trends work against unity and undermine the tenets of the Constitution. We believe that appointments to all positions should be based on merit. Similarly, the misuse or theft of public or church money is also corruption. Fraud, that is the illegal acquisition of money, goods or services, is also considered as corruption. We call on Sudanese people to reject tribalism, nepotism and corruption.”

The Church would also do its part to “fight against poverty, ignorance and disease. We will work with the Government in the provision of services that contribute to fighting and eradicating the above vices.”

However, the bishops encouraged the government to set in place an “economic system that is based on equity which means a fair system that provides equal opportunity for all and protects the poor from being manipulated or exploited by the rich. Enabling the full, equitable and integral development of all our people will be the final proof of value of independence.

“We are all responsible for ensuring that the new Republic of South Sudan is built on a strong foundation,” the bishops said. “If we strive in earnest to adhere to the principle of the Body of Christ, no one and nothing can hold back or hinder the people of the Republic of South Sudan again.”

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