By Rev. Daniel Amum Odwel
It is understandable that escalation of war within one party called SPLM was political in its nature, which resulted from leadership rivaling and the question of transformation of party from guerrilla mentality to democratic institution. Out of phobia from principle of party and his in circle group they resist the call for transformation and transference within the party. They started to accuse those who wanted the transformation as '' Garang Sons'' (or Son of Nyadeng). This phobia deepened the mistrust among SPLM elites. Indeed, the president Salva hearkened to unwise advice given by his in circle group to dismiss those who champion the question of transformation within the party. Up to this level it was still a political matter as Archbishop Daniel Deng Bol put it in his assertion.
When war broke out in Juba, the government army called SPLM massacred one ethnic group known as Nuer, who were ordinary people and were not soldiers. Can Archbishop Rev. Daniel Deng Bol justify that the killing that occurred in Juba was not an ethnic cleansing or it was not an ethnic war between Dinka and Nuer? Another simplest example was that the SPLM stormed PoC in Bor targeting Nuer, can Archbishop explain to the entire world the implication of that wild act carried by the SPLM. Could you be given convincing reasons why so called SPLM acted in that manner?
It is not wrong to conclude that the SPLM is military wing for the Dinka to eliminate all Nuers, whom they think had massacred Dinka in Bor in 1991. So what happened in Juba was kind of revenge from Dinka against their enemy, this was why Archbishop Rev. Daniel Deng Bol was silent about the massacre and he never challenges the shameful act carried out by the government against its own people.
Archbishop Rev. Daniel Deng Bol, you forget your spiritual role as the President of Anglican Church, whose members are from 64 tribes in South Sudan. Indeed, when your one sheep underwent tribulation and agony, you supposed to challenge the oppressive system that terrorized your subjects. To me it was better for you to just keep quiet like before instead of exposing your true weakness color. All the bad things which happened in South Sudan, occurred as a result of vacuum in the church leadership, because you never stand with the oppressed but with the oppressor.
The church was meant to speak on behalf of voiceless people that are being killed by their own government. When the tragedy occurred in Juba, church was dormant that implies it was supporting what government was doing against its people.
Archbishop Rev. Daniel Deng Bol, when President Salva Kiir instituted the formation of the 28 states that was the beginning of real war among the tribes in South Sudan. What was your position in that regard to the wrong calculation made by President Kiir with his in circle group for the benefit of one particular group within South Sudan society? The consequence of creation of 28 states, made the war in South to become officially tribal war for survival which I and you can't deny. And it is no longer between Dinka and Nuer, but it becomes between Dinka and other communities which their ancestral lands was given to Dinka community by wrong creation of 28 states. This is the fact Archbishop Rev. Daniel Deng Bol
The only thing we can do if we are true church of Christ that never support our ethnic groups in expense of others, we should come out clearly to challenge all giants problems imposed on our subjects by the government without compromise. Indeed, the government position can be shaken and they will not take any wrong decision without putting in consideration or thinking that watchdog which the church will expose them.
Archbishop Rev. Daniel Deng Bol can you examine 2 Chron.19: 1-3, in which the Prophet Jehu Son of Hanani went to meet the King Jehoshaphat in his palace and reprimands him that it was not right for him to help those who are wicked and to take side with those who hate the Lord, what he did brought the Lord anger on you. But God reminds the King Jehoshaphat of good things he did by removing all the symbols of the goddess Asherah which people worshipped and you have tried to follow God's will. This passage given us clue that the church has full right to challenge any leader that misleads the people to go astray.
In 1 Kings 18: 14-19, the King Ahab tried to accuse the Elijah as the '' worst troublemaker in Israel'' but Elijah responded to the King Ahab that the King Ahab is a troublemaker, because he disobeyed the Lord's commands and worshipped the idols of Baal. This assertion again gave us clear position to the church in the matter affecting the people it serves.
Jesus spoke to the leaders of his time that anyone who cause these little ones to lose his faith (his life, and properties), it would be better for such a person (or leader) to have a large millstone tie around his neck and be thrown into the sea (Mk.9:42). This statement is a clear indication that any oppressive leaders will face the consequences of their evil actions against innocent people.
Jesus Christ condemns the Teachers of Laws, Pharisees and the leaders of society in his time, and termed them as hypocrites, because they were not doing what God entrusted them to execute. So in this juncture, the church has full right to challenge malpractice carried out by leaders in their society. Why? Because they are representatives of God in the society (see Matt. 23:13-28).
The responsibilities of the church are to repudiate bad government policies and challenge the government to observe human rights, to feed the hungry, to provide shelter to the homeless and take care of the people regardless of their ethnicity or beliefs. They need not to hide when people are suffering, because God will hold them accountable more than those pagan or animists.
To understand the position of the church on challenges pressurizing it subjects, let us examined Martin Luther King Jr. Who was an American Baptist minister, activist and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement? The best known role he played was the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs, also combating racial inequality, and expanded his focus to include opposition towards poverty and the Vietnam War. Therefore, his outstanding advocates brought justice in America societies, even though he lost his life. But his slogan remains fresh in the minds of people that said '' I had dreamed that one day White and Black will live in one place''.
Moreover, let us look at the aim of John Calvin's political theory that was to safeguard the rights and freedoms of ordinary people. Calvin favored a combination of democracy and aristocracy. He appreciated the advantages of democracy. He argued that to minimize the misuse of political power there should be a system of checks and balances. Finally, Calvin taught that if rulers rise up against God they lose their divine right and must be put down. State and church are separate, though they have to cooperate to the benefit of the people. Christian magistrates have to make sure that the church can fulfill its duties in freedom.
To me, Archbishop Rev. Daniel Deng Bol you are ordained by God to take care of his flocks in the Country He entrusted you, you were supposed to do your mandatory role without falsified assertion that will lower your position in the eyes of believers. Personally, I failed to grasp your statement that war was not between Nuer and Dinka. It is not fake reiteration but it is a reality that was imposed on two communities by wrong leaders who wishes to maintain their positions through tribal line.
If the church failed to say the truth where will people go to find it? We should be objective and genuine in our expression, knowing that we are representatives of the body of Christ and not our ethnic group. We shouldn't fear to criticize wrong things carry out by our ethnic communities whatsoever the consequence may be. By telling the truth and approaching issues directly, we will save our beloved Country South Sudan.
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