There is a worrisome trend whereby accused politicians manipulate religious leaders in facade of peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and atonement for their sins/atrocities. This is so true particularly when such leaders are perceived as wielding enormous influence on a segment of our society. These religious leaders have to make a difficult decision especially when politicians request an audience with the congregation but for Dr. Riek, the First Vice President, from news reports, he was warmly invited by the church leadership without a regard to the victims whom he vented his anger, venom and frustration on.
Due to the leadership’s reluctance to come out and explain to the congregation before Sunday today, there was a heightened tension at the church culminating in arrests and resignation of a Pastor. I think this pastor is a sacrificial lamb because I really doubt the decision of that nature would have been sanctioned by the pastor, Joseph Maker, the first casualty in this scandal. That what usually happens to subordinates.
The allaying of their concerns and politics inherent in this should have been priority prior to this Sundaysermon. The church leadership chose to wish a crisis of this magnitude away and expected a different outcome than what it had authored.Governing by crisis after crisis is the culture of this church. As a result of not learning from previous incidents, there was a commotion and outrage again at the church today.
Interestingly, the church leadership is somehow astute that was why they chose Bishop Nathaniel to preside over the prayers because they knew they had erred intentionally or inadvertently and since he is a widely revered, preeminent, influential and charismatic in the church as well as a highly regarded member of Bor Community, they calculated that all would listen and respect him. My intuition is that if the church leadership had addressed the issue, coupled with Bishop Nathaniel presiding over the prayers and the involvement of influential community leaders, that desire would have placated the disciples and the communities.
And these political leaders have shot to prominence according to standards, perceptions and aspirations espoused by each community though these communities are not watertight in support and ideologies that they draw from.
Practically and tentatively, or community members tend to listen and obey Makuei Lueth, Malaak Ayuen, Kuol Manyang, Deng Dau, Aguer Panyang, et cetera whereas members of Twic East are likely to act the same toward Dr. Majak Agot, Ms. Rebecca Nyandeng, Mabior Garang and Aguer Panyang though recently Aguer may not be Twic East darling due to what they perceived as skewed ministrial appointments and allocation of counties. It’s difficult to think of leaders whom citizens would listen to in the middle and that is why we have been polarized because of extreme and unflinching position each community has taken.
Eminent persons like Dr. Rev. Stephen Mathiang Kuc would be very helpful in inspiring and convincing people to seek peace and the need for justice, peace and reconciliation. I visited him in his office in Nairobi where he was the Executive Director of Church and Development (C&D), I found him to be very knowledgeable, intellectually rigorous and all-rounded as well as my deceased cousin Rev. Peter Yuang Mach who was a real genius. The same would be said about late Mark Akueen, Mark Atem and Garang Thieel.
The followers and the communities have changed in a big way and you ought to be aware of this for oblivion will breed militancy and fragmentation of your flock right at your sanctuary and Mading Akech Ngor unflinchingly exemplified the repercussions of hands-off leadership and he was praised as an icon by the vastest majority of his community members. Ironically, the church leadership should seek forgiveness and atone for its sin even after resignation. Laissez-faire and setting communities against each other at Emmanuel Parish Church can never be the culture. Believers cannot afford highly venomous and toxic environment; arm yourselves with the Bible, philosophy, logic, politics, humanity and knowledge of current issues like our own Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. God helps those who help themselves.