As southern Sudan moves toward becoming the world’s newest nation this July, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) workers in the war-torn region see people’s jubilation in the outcome of January’s vote for independence – and a sense of the challenges in store, including poverty and financial instability, and a war-shattered infrastructure. Of particular importance is the need for the constitution to give voice to all ethnic groups, notes Peter Tibi, executive director of Reconcile Peace Institute, an MCC partner organization.
Sudanese church leaders vowed to hold the government accountable for recognizing the voices of all people. “Your church is alive and well…. We are witnesses,” said Catholic Archbishop Palolino Lukudo at a gathering between the government of southern Sudan and the Sudan Council of Churches in October.
Says Leroy Willems, an MCC Sudan representative who lives in Juba, “People are looking ahead with hopes for a better future.”