Nyandeng: We must repent

Nyandeng: We must repent
Rebecca Nyandeng, Vice President for Gender and Youth Cluster (photo credit: Ikilass Henry/The City Review)

“If my people who are called by my name [will] humble themselves and pray and seek my face, turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sins and heal their land.   Now my eyes will be open and my ears will be attentive to their prayers that are made in this place”. Those were the words of the Vice President for Gender and Youth Cluster, Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, as she quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 of the Bible to call South Sudan to repentance and reconciliation to champion both national and regional peace.

Speaking at the opening of the synod of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan at the All Saints Cathedral in Juba yesterday, Nyandeng said it was the responsibility of all South Sudanese to manage the prevalent peace and avoid any instability that has gripped the neighbouring countries.

“When we were negotiating in Addis, I gave the same Bible verse because our country is wounded and we have to seek the face of God. If we repent, as the Bible says here, God will heal our land. God bless you, God bless our country, God bless our leader, President Salva Kiir Mayardit,” she added.

Only hope

According to Nyandend, with political turmoil in Ethiopia and Sudan, and Kenya’s uncertain fate ahead of the elections, South Sudan would be the only hope for the East African region if prevailing peace remained viable.

Nyandeng maintained that it was only through repentance that God could deliver South Sudan from all sorts of political snags and economic issues.

Dr John Garang’s widow said the qualities of a good leader must include knowledge of God, the word of God, and love. She said that the best leadership qualities of a good leader were found in the Holy Book but in people who were not attentive to the verses.

[”If you put], God, on top of everything, second is the word of God, and then love, and all those good things in the Bible are tools. If you arm yourself with (them), you will never go wrong. Your feet will be guided, your tongue will be guided, your eyes, your soul will be guided, and you will never fear anything. A country gets sick when a leader does not have tools of life” she articulated.

She called on the youth to work hard and ensure peace is sustained in the country to benefit the entire Eastern African region.

 “Jesus Christ has shown me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. When I went to America, I was telling them that South Sudan does not have anything except this peace and we don’t want this peace to be destabilised, ” Nyandeng said.

“The region is having a problem, starting with Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya going for elections. We don’t know what will happen. If we keep this peace, it will be the only light in this region at this time. “South Sudan will be the bridge that people will walk on,” she explained.

Not returning to war

At the 98th United Nations General Assembly in September 2021, Vice President Nyandeng promised the world that South Sudan was ready to turn a new page.

She said the country would not return to war and would work towards peace, development, and prosperity.

Nyandeng said the country was “on the path of nation-building” and endeavouring for the implementation of the revitalised peace agreement.

“I want to assure our friends and partners that we are determined to never go back to war. “We must replace the destruction of war with the productive use of our vast natural resources and national assets for the good of our people,” she said.

She said it was the dream of the international community for peace to thrive by establishing a United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) at independence to support the peace process and foresee nation-building.

The vice president added that the pledged support later became a riddle as it was withdrawn, leaving South Sudan deficient in the need for nation-building.

 “However, after the outbreak of the war, that vision was abandoned, and priority was placed on protecting civilians and providing humanitarian assistance. As a result, support for capacity building of the statue was terminated,” Nyandeng stated.

Nyandeng criticized the dependence on humanitarian assistance amidst the vast fertile land that could be productive if used for agriculture.

“It is a painful and shameful situation for a country endowed with vast fertile land to be regarded as poor,” she added. 

“We must ensure peace and security in the country and double our efforts to support our people who want to return, and are returning, to their areas of origin, for them to participate fully in nation-building and contribute to building food security in the country.”

She called for youth and women to be given total support by developing their skills to discourage further feuds.

“To fulfil the vision of our liberation struggle, we must use our oil revenues to fuel economic growth through investment in agriculture,” she said. 

“We will invest in infrastructure to connect our rural communities to the markets. We need the public and private sectors, including foreign investors, to join hands in turning South Sudan’s potential wealth into a reality.”

Glass remains ‘half-empty                                 

She however highlighted a gap in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) the creation of state and national bodies and public financial management reforms thus calling for dialogue.

“However, “the glass remains half-empty” in implementing a permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements,” she said, noting the urgency of a unified army.