By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Rome, Italy: The much talked about S.Sudan Peace agreement has been dust binned ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to the war-torn country, which is the world’s youngest sovereign state, our Spy can authoritatively report! This is thanks to powerful and untouchable army Generals in the regime who have been benefiting from the war.
South Sudan, with a total population of only 11 million, but with over two million of its population living in Bidi Bidi refugee camps in Uganda has suffered from chronic instability since independence in 2011, spending almost half of its life in senseless wars that prey on its people’s human capital and potential.
The country was 2013 plunged into a brutal five-year civil war between forces loyal to Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar that cost almost 400,000 lives and uprooted millions from their homes with over two million fleeing their beloved country to seek refugee in Uganda and the neighboring countries.
It’s against this bloody background that Pope Francis (real name; Jorge Mario Bergoglio) decided to visit S.Sudan to forge a way for peace this February 2023.
In fact, Pope had long desired to travel to predominantly Christian South Sudan but the unstable situation in the country and his personal health had complicated plans for his visit. Despite a Revitalized Peace Agreement that was inked by President Salva Kiir and his former Vice-President Riek Machar in September 2018, with an aim of putting an end to fights, the nation is still reeling from hunger and deadly violence.
Now, the new force of violence and underground fights ignited by key faction leaders in the Country is said to be putting Pope’s visit on a hanging lane.
Our source in Juba says among the Generals that have since put Pope’s visit at stake is General Akol Koor Kuch, the Director General of the National Security Service (NSS) of South Sudan, among other top officials who have for long fought against peace clandestinely so as to continue benefiting from the chaos. Remember it’s this same General that has allegedly been commanding the murdering of Ugandan trucker drivers along the Nimule-Juba road delivering cargo goods to South Sudan, that’s according to our sources who preferred anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
It’s also alleged that Akol has been abducting innocent Sudanese, and funding armed groups to terrorize S.Sudan all aimed at thwarting peace in the youngest country so as to make people hate Kiir’s leadership. This, in the eyes of the analysts of the South Sudan crisis, say it keeps Gen Akol relevant before the eyes of Kiir by showing he still needs security services and guidance, him (Akol) being the boss of all the external and internal security apparatus, call them ISO and ESO in our Ugandan context.
With the above kind of leaders in S.Sudan, the big question remains whether Pope’s visit to this country will address the political and security crisis and bring millions of Sudanese refugees back into their motherland to participate in the country’s first-ever democratic voting for leadership.
After landing in S.Sudan, Pope Francis will meet with internally displaced persons and take part in an ecumenical prayer service at the John Garang Mausoleum in Juba, where he will also celebrate Mass on Sunday and then head to DRC, before returning to the Vatican.
U.N. experts have warned that continued political, military, and ethnic divisions in South Sudan were widening, leading to multiple violent incidents.
In 2019, Francis invited South Sudan’s rival leaders to the Vatican for an Easter summit, stunning onlookers when he knelt down and kissed their feet in a humble plea for peace.
Why The Pope Must Talk Hard To Kiir’s Stubborn Generals This Time To Achieve His Peace Dream
Last time, in his attempts to create peace in South Sudan, God’s servant reached the extent of even kissing Salvar Kiir and Riek Machar’s shoes as a sign of utmost respect to South Sudan leaders. In this, those close to him say he wanted to show them that all they needed to have peace in their country was people-centered approach rather than personal egos and show of might. However, information from Rome suggests that by now choosing to come on the ground himself is a sign that the worrying factions of South Sudan didn’t respect his intervention.
“Those leaders disappointed the man of God because as soon as they returned to the country, they started from where they had ended–conflict after conflict. Our people are living in dire conditions in concentration camps in Bidi Bidi Uganda, just because they want to remain relevant in the war. In the absence of war, for instance, some Generals like Akol Koor Kuch feel they will be of less relevance once South Sudan is at peace,” disclosed our source.
The source added thus; “As we talk now, as the Pope is leaving Rome for South Sudan, three faction leaders namely; Gen. Paul Malong, Thomas Cirillo, and Pagan Amum are in Pope’s courtyard in Sant Egidio Rome, Italy (The Community of Sant’Egidio is a lay Catholic Association dedicated to social service, founded in 1968 under the leadership of Andrea Riccardi. The group grew and in 1973 it was given a home at the former Carmelite monastery and church of Sant’Egidio in Rome, Italy). They are part of the South Sudanese community living in Rome not because of their choice but because of the actions of their leaders back home in South Sudan. So actually the Pope is inclined to ensure he finds a solution in South Sudan so that these people can return to their home country and participate in nation building of their own country,”.
Analysts say Pope this time needs to sharpen his voice, look straight into the eyes of people like Gen.Akol in front of Salvar Kiir and Riek Machar, and tell them straight in their faces to stop curtailing the peace efforts in South Sudan if he wants his visit to benefit the majority South Sudanese who are suffering. Watch the space…