Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Roman Catholic bishop of Juba calls for separation of south Sudan

The Archbishop of Southern Sudan Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro threw his weight today behind the calls for making the semi-autonomous region fully independent in the vote that will take place in less than two weeks. 

Addressing thousands of Catholics in Juba who attended Christmas Mass at Kator Cathedral on Saturday, Archbishop Loro, who presided over the sermon called on eligible southern voters to opt for separation when they go to the polls on January 9th 2011.

ArchBishop Lukudu thanked God for making referendum possible and praised south Sudan police and the security organs for providing adequate security during Christmas at the time of referendum activities.
“We are very proud of our Police and other security organs for providing security during the Christmas and referendum”, said Lukudu.

The bishop asked Christians to pray for successful conduct of referendum.

“As we celebrate Christmas now, let us continue to pray so that we are placed on a better relationship with God when we vote in the referendum,” he said.

“I want to remind you and other believers that this referendum is God’s plan for the Sudan at this very time. We went through a peaceful voter registration, despite our prediction fear and doubts about God’s ability to ensure peace,” the bishop added.

He also urged the voters to exercise their rights when the plebiscite starts.
On his part, the president of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Salva Kiir Mayardit, in a Christmas message delivered at the same church wished the people of South Sudan “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”.

He said that he did not expect to reach an agreement with the North on post-referendum 

“Our partner to the comprehensive peace agreement did not expect us to reach to this day; we are left with only 14 days for referendum day”.

Kiir urged the people of south Sudan not accept to be provocation at any cost “by enemies of peace”.

“Do not accept to be provoked at any cost by enemies of peace, exercise patience and be vigilant because enemies of peace are not sleeping” he said.

“They do not want peaceful referendum to take place on January 9, 2011,” said president Kiir. He accused pro-unity of using all type tricks to undermine peaceful conduct of referendum.

“Unionists know that the option of unity in the referendum is not possible but they have not given up, they are using all types of tricks to undermined peaceful, transparent, free and fair referendum,” he said.

The Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) leader also added that groups he termed as enemies of peace are trying their best to find mistakes in order to have the outcome of the referendum rejected.

“The enemies of peace are not only trying to find any mistake to use to reject the outcome of the referendum but they are using tricks to provoke situation so that they our response as tool to reject result of the referendum,” said Kiir.

The South Sudan President who holds another position as First Vice President in central government, also appealed to the People of South Sudan to report any one found selling voter card to undermine the referendum processes.

He instructed the police to take necessary measures against those who are selling their voter cards including non-Sudanese (Ugandans and Kenyans) who are being used by the enemies of peace.

He thanked the South Sudanese voters for electing him with over 93% in the last elections and stressed that the referendum is very important; thus he appealed to South Sudanese to turn up and vote to over 98% vote so that no one can doubt the choice of the people of South Sudan.

The Southern leader also warned against making wrong choice in the voting; that they will regret forever for the mistake they have committed.

“The upcoming January 9th is the only day on which our people would be expected to cast their votes to decide their destiny. It will be you and area vote. Nobody with there to tell what to do, it is you and vote. If you do not make right decision, it is up to you to regret it if you have taken wrong choice,” said President Kiir.

The referendum on independence for south Sudan was promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended a civil war between the mainly Muslim north and the south, where most follow traditional beliefs and Christianity.

A successful referendum could bring a conclusion to one of Africa’s most bitter conflicts, which has rumbled on since around the time of Sudan’s independence in the 1950s.