JUBA – South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir has expressed gratitude towards his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni describing him as ‘an elder brother who has never let him alone.’
President Kiir’s excitement followed Uganda’s gesture to send the highest delegation during the historic visit of the Pope to South Sudan at the weekend.
President Kiir expressed his gratitude to the Ugandan delegation at a brief meeting in Juba – marking a three-day visit. Vice President Jessica Alupo led the Ugandan delegation to Juba to welcome the Pope – whose visit to Africa – had started from DR Congo.
The Vice President returned after attending the National Prayers for Peace on Saturday at the John Garang mausoleum. The prayers were led by His Holiness Pope Francis – attracting thousands of faithful worshippers, government and religious leaders, including President Kiir and his five Vice presidents.
In his sermon, the Pope continued his message of peace, calling out to the crowds to ‘lay down the weapons of hatred’ while urging Christians to make ‘a decisive contribution to changing history.’
“Let us lay down the weapons of hatred and revenge, and take up those of prayer and charity,” the Pope preached before winding down what has been called a Pilgrimage of Peace.
President Kiir introduced Jessica Alupo to the Pope – emphasising how she was standing in for President Museveni.
Museveni has been praised globally, as the architect to the Peace in South Sudan, following his role and efforts in bringing the warring factions together- in a country that seceded from Sudan in 2011 to for sovereignty.
At President Museveni’s last public engagement in Juba, he emphasised maslaha (interests) over hawiya (identity). This was at a graduation ceremony of 20.000 forces that were drawn from different agencies-in was yet again, another first.
At that event, President Kiir made a pledge of peace saying: “I will never take our people back to war …You are not the military wing of any party. You are now the first national security organ of the Republic of South Sudan.”