JUBA – Vice President for Gender and Youth Cluster, Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior, on Tuesday warned government officials against meddling in church affairs.
Nyandeng’s warning came after some church leaders accused government officials of interfering in their affairs.
“We are not supposed to interfere in the religious affairs because it remains in the way and the church will not interfere with the government in the wrong way but to correct them,” Nyandeng said.
Nyandeng was speaking during the reception of Justin Badi Arama, Primate Episcopal Church of South Sudan at All Saints Cathedral Church on Tuesday.
Nyandeng said South Sudan is a secular state where religion has separated the state.
“In the SPLM and when we were struggling we separated the two, the state and the religion and it is there in our constitution. Separation of the state and the religion and I don’t what bring these two together,” Nyandeng said.
“Our constitution says that we have separation of religion from the state and we are sitting here discussing issues of religion as government members.”
The widow of the late founding father of the nation said Bishop Ruben Akurdit to write an apology letter after an attack in January on a church compound in Bor town but he refused.
“When Bishop Akurdit was asked by President Salva Kiir to write a letter of apology and he was saying that no. I was shocked because he is the one who tells us to forgive one another and teaches us the Bible and why would you be standing in front of me to tell me to forgive one another when you refused to write a letter of apology,” she asked defrocked Bishop Akurdit during January meeting at the office of President.
The Episcopal Church of South Sudan split in August 2020 when Primate Justin Badi Arama, defrocked Bishop Reuben Akurdid accusing him of canonical disobedience for turning down suspension a year earlier.
Akurdid has repeatedly rejected his defrocking and fought his way back to the throne in the South Sudan High court.
In August 2021, High Court Judge Lawrence Jaja ruled that the church should sit down and solve the case through the ECSS tribunal court, a decision Akurdid immediately rejected and vowed to carry his own cross saying the “road to heaven doesn’t go through Juba” making the ECSS church crisis even more complicated.
Tension has since remained high with Jonglei authorities expelling Bishop Akurdit and his Arama-appointed replacement, Bishop Moses Anur along with others from Bor in January after an armed youth group loyal to Akurdit attacked the church in which two people were injured, including one of the bishops.
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