Religious leaders unite for peace in South Sudan's historic elections

By Joseph Omagor

Religious leaders from Uganda and South Sudan have joined forces to pray for a peaceful general election in South Sudan, set to be held in 2024. Chaired by the Catholic Archbishop of Gulu, John Baptist Odama, the dialogue aims to quell the persistent gun violence plaguing Africa's youngest nation.

As preparations intensify for the groundbreaking 2024 elections, a South Sudanese delegation engaged with the Acholi Religious Peace Initiative, led by Archbishop John Baptist Odama. The religious leaders, including Placido Popo Martin, Director of Caritas Archdiocese of Juba, emphasized the need for collaborative efforts to curb violence.

In a call for international support, the religious leaders urged embassies to serve as communication forums.

They appealed to the governments of Uganda and South Sudan to actively work towards eliminating political and tribal conflicts, both in the lead-up to and following the crucial elections.

Sheikh Musa Kelil, Northern Regional Assistant to the Mufti at the Uganda Muslim Council, stressed the importance of unity.

"We must come together to eliminate political and tribal conflicts, fostering an environment of peace and harmony," he said.

Amid electioneering preparations, Odong Stephen Latek, the Resident District Commissioner of the border district of Amuru, emphasized adherence to existing legal frameworks.

Latek called for forgiveness and continued round table dialogues to ensure a peaceful electoral process.

Archbishop John Baptist Odama, leading a seven-member delegation, is set to deliver these recommendations directly to the South Sudan Embassy in Uganda and the Ugandan Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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