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Christian clerics set to engage public on upcoming general election

The Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) on Thursday launched a project to sensitize about 1 million South Sudanese in the country and those in refugee settlements on the upcoming general election.

Justin Badi Arama, the Archbishop and primate of the Episcopal church of South Sudan said that they will send teams to undertake civic education within the country and to refugee settlements in neighboring countries.

 “The ECSS proposal on elections seeks to contribute to a peaceful, credible transition and the underlying factor that underpins it is the fact that the elections will be conducted in a fragile and insecure context characterized by conflicts that have profound historical roots including intercommunal violence, cattle raiding and boundary conflict that take the form of revenge killings,” Arama said during the opening of the two-day consultative meeting at ECSS Guest House in Juba.

The consultative meeting is being attended by civil society organizations, church based-organizations and members of the diplomatic community.

“The project is designed to prepare citizens to participate in the transition and elections in a context where there are myriad and grave human rights violations, a weak economy that cannot guarantee well-financed elections, very high proliferation of small arms and light weapons among civilians and weak justice system that is not able to guarantee effective prevention and management of election related conflict,” Arama said.

Emmanuel Ira, the country director for Pax South Sudan said that the church leaders are taking ecumenical approach to address critical issues related to peace and elections, adding that South Sudan needs peace for development. 

Christian Bester, the country director for Samaritan’s Purse said that his organization hopes for sustainable peace in South Sudan, adding that there is need to complete the transition period in peaceful manner.

“With the election looming, we are praying and standing with the church in South Sudan to see peace come, we are praying for the transitional period to come to an end with celebration, stability and peace,” Bester said.

Bol Diu Gok, the director of conflict resolution and social cohesion at the national ministry of peacebuilding said that the country has been torn apart by crisis and time has come for citizens to realize peace.

 “It is always in our prayers for our country to be in peace, we need to have fair and credible elections then we move on,” Gok said.

Michael Adler, the U.S Ambassador to South Sudan said that fair and peaceful elections are the best way forward to put South Sudan in good relations with Washington.

“It is our conviction that the best way forward to actualize the foundation of values in our relationship is for South Sudan’s leaders to act with urgency and in a conservative and inclusive manner to take steps necessary to  hold credible and peaceful election in December 2024,”  Adler said.

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