A delegation of Bishops and other religious leaders from South Sudan have praised Uganda for hosting close to one million refugees fleeing conflict from their country.
The team which met Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda at the Office of The Prime Minister in Kampala on Wednesday 20th December 2017, said they were in the country to visit refugees in the camps, express their appreciation to Uganda and press for enhanced support to help end the war in their country.
“We have many neighbors in the region, but it is Uganda which understands us better. We want to thank President Yoweri Museveni and the people of Uganda, especially the host communities, for welcoming our brothers and sisters who have fled our country to seek refuge here. Thank you for your hospitality,” said Rt Rev Peter Gai Lual Marrow, the moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan who was leading the delegation.
The Bishops’ visit to Uganda was coordinated by the Uganda Joint Christian Council.
Bishop Gai Marrow appealed to the neighbors of South Sudan, to deepen their efforts under the frame work of IGAD—the Intergovernmental Authority on Development—to support initiatives that will bring sustainable peace to the young nation of South Sudan.
He said as church leaders, they are working with communities to promote peace by changing the narrative from conflict and animosity to the one of unity, reconciliation and peaceful co-existence.
Addressing the Bishops on behalf of President Museveni, Prime Minister Rugunda said that Uganda takes it as an obligation of good neighborliness to welcome those who are fleeing danger.
“We know that no one chooses to be a refugee. Today it is South Sudanese, tomorrow, it could be anyone of us—infact, yesterday, it was Ugandans seeking refuge around,” Rugunda said.
The Prime Minister stressed Uganda’s commitment to work in the context and solidarity of IGAD to support the peace process in South Sudan.
“We view what is happening in South Sudan as an unfortunate development, but which is temporary. The people of South Sudan have suffered enough and deserve peace. Everybody should play their rightful roles to ensure that the hopes of the people are not dashed even more,” Dr Rugunda said.
Dr Rugunda thanked the church leaders for championing peace, and called on all stakeholders in South Sudan to be brought onboard to make a contribution to the future the country wishes to see.
“Peace cannot be meaningful and sustainable, unless all the key playrs are brought on board. South Sudan belongs to all people of South Sudan. Uganda stands in solidarity with the people of South Sudan to determine their destiny. A peaceful South Sudan is beneficial to the whole region, promotes trade and investment and helps to clean up the image of Africa,” he said.