A move in the right direction by President Kiir

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220px Salva Kiir MayarditThis past week two things were happening in the country that are of great significance for the people of South Sudan.

The first of the two was that the country was marking three years since the outbreak of war on 15th December 2013. The other event was the announcement by President Salva Kiir of the start of a process of national dialogue.

Whereas there is nothing to celebrate in remembering the events of 2013, since it led to the death of thousands of people and the displacement of millions of others, it is important to remember that day and try to learn from the events that happened then. The people should use commemoration of that event to ask themselves why it happened and then resolve that something like that should never be allowed to happen again.

The second one is an event that everyone who cares for the well-being of South Sudanese ought to appreciate and welcome. The president announced to parliament that there will be a three-tier national dialogue process, which will start at the grassroots, go to the regional and then to the national stage.

The president said that the process, to be patroned by himself, will involve all rival political parties and groups in the country. He announced that the process will be steered by a team of eminent personalities who are expected to be neutral.

Reconciliation cannot happen where people are not willing to ask for forgiveness

One thing that stood out for me was the fact that the president asked for forgiveness from any one he might have wronged in the past. This highly symbolic gesture by the president ought to be emulated by everyone in the country.

Reconciliation cannot happen in an atmosphere where people are not willing to ask for forgiveness. Even those who have not raised their hands to kill someone or to hit someone should ask for forgiveness on behalf of their kith and kin, or their fellow countrymen, who have done so.

That is what God expects of them since this country is founded on God, as the national anthem acknowledges.

In 2nd Chronicles 7:14, God says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”.

Here, God was speaking to the Israelites. Yet, the same words He spoke can also speak to the South Sudanese today. A lot of evil things have happened in the land. Innocent people have been killed, property has been destroyed and millions of people have been displaced from their homes.

Things that break the heart of God

These are things that break the heart of God. God is not pleased when He sees people who are made in His own image being killed and made to move from their natural place of habitation.

The evil that has happened in South Sudan has brought collective guilt upon the whole land. The only way to atone for this is through asking for forgiveness from each other and from God.

That is why the decision by the president to ask for forgiveness is a good example that all South Sudanese should embrace. The president may not exactly say why he is asking for forgiveness. The important thing is that some evil has happened in the land and someone ought to repent for that.

What the president did was a move in the right direction. The president has played his part. Let each and every citizen of South Sudan play their part also by starting the process wherever they are. This is an opportunity that each of them ought to seize to seek for forgiveness from one another, and from God.

Only then will God be able to heal the land and make it to prosper again.


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