Merely hours after the visit of prominent Nigerian cleric TB Joshua to South Sudan, international dignitaries have spoken out with renewed fervor about the imperative need for peace in the East African nation.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, sent out a tweet in the early hours of Wednesday 13thNovember 2019, shortly after the Nigerian pastor’s late-night departure from Juba.
“The U.S. will re-evaluate its relationship with the Government of South Sudan and work to act, “he wrote, insisting that peace was compulsory for the world’s youngest nation.
Hours later, a group of US Senators – including Cory Booker and Marco Rubio – called for Pompeo to appoint a Special Envoy to “engage the region and help coordinate Western partners in pressing both parties to find a viable way forward.”
On Thursday 7thNovember 2019, President Salva Kiir and his rival Riek Machar held a meeting in Uganda where they agreed to extend the deadline to form a unity government for an additional 100 days.
Tuesday 12thNovember 2019 – the day a unity government was supposed to be formed – ended up being a day of prayer as TB Joshua arrived in the nation and led President Salva Kiir and his cabinet in prayer for South Sudan’s peace at the Presidential Palace.
In addition to the reactions from the US Government, Pope Francis – who famously kissed the feet of the rival South Sudanese leaders in the Vatican City – met with the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressing plans to visit South Sudan together.
“We discussed our shared passion for peace in South Sudan and agreed that if the political situation permits the creation of a transitional government of national unity, it is our intention to visit together, “Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury tweeted.
South Sudanese have been vocal on social media since, expressing hope that TB Joshua’s visit may finally yield fruit in the ongoing peace negotiations in South Sudan and thus an end to the suffering meted on its people by the instability.
“Peace has no price,” Joshua told the crowd he addressed – in a message broadcast live on televised on the state-owned television (SSBC) – stressing that South Sudan’s leaders must “overcome their differences”
Ihechukwu Njoku is a freelance Nigerian journalist…