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WAU - 7 Apr 2014

Wau bishop says peace initiative to be extended to state level

Bishop Rudoloph Deng, the head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wau, says that the reconciliation initiative launched on Saturday in South Sudan’s capital city will be extended to the state level as well. 

The bishop is a member of the National Committee for Healing, Peace and Reconciliation, one of three institutions that launched on Saturday the National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation (NPPR).

Though the platform includes two government-linked bodies – a parliament specialized committee and a government-established peace commission – the committee on which the bishop sits is comprised of church leaders who have announced themselves as independent.

Archbishop Daniel Deng, the chair of the committee, said on Saturday that the government had ‘no hand’ in the new national platform and affirmed the role of the church in leading the initiative, while the South Sudanese vice president expressed some reservations about the plan.

The bishop of Wau, speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Monday, said that the reconciliation effort aims to address the “deep, deep harm that has been done and broken relationships, in order to mend, in order to heal, to mend and to forgive, one another.”

He described the national reconciliation platform launched on Saturday as “one level of the whole effort to reconcile the citizens of South Sudan with their brothers and sisters,” adding that more efforts would take place at the local level.

“We are preparing to launch in all the counties up to the level of boma to prepare the people to engage in deep dialogue about the wrongs and the good things that they experience in their lives,” he noted.

According to Bishop Rudolph Deng, the plans for the initiative were inspired in part by the experience of South Africa. He said the platform’s leadership are seeking support from South Africans with experience in reconciliation and peace-building.

“We are waiting for support from our brothers and sisters from South Africa in order to come, as it were, to coach us and to educate us on how to proceed in conducting this process,” he said, noting the South African reconciliation process took many years. 

The bishop encouraged South Sudanese to engage in a ‘sincere and honest dialogue.’

“Whether it is motivated by religion or by good African traditions, it is a lot better than shooting at one another, than hating. It is the way to be human, to be offended and to forgive, and to ask for forgiveness, that is the deep way forward,” he said.  

Photo: Bishop Rudolph Deng (Gurtong)