By Paschal Norbert
MBABANE, OCTOBER 12, 2021 (CISA) – “Your Excellency, our humble presence here is to add our own voice for peace, and if needed to collaborate in efforts that will see this country resolving differences peacefully and creating an environment for order, development and promotion of justice. The Catholic Church feels profoundly involved in this enterprise and she hopes for its ultimate success,” said Rt Rev Sithembele Sipuka, the President of the Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Conference (SACBC).
Bishop Sipuka together with Bishop José Ponce de León, the Bishop of Manzini, in a meeting with His Excellency Sipho Cleopas Dlamini, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini on October 7, in Mbabane, also appealed to the government to uphold the dignity of the human person amidst the challenges the country is facing.
“The tremendous challenge of the present times that we hear about, (i.e. violence, destruction of property, use of excessive force by the security personnel, deaths, toy–toying in schools, etc) are not only a threat to EmaSwati but also to the whole Southern African Region. It is worth noting, Your Excellency at stake is also the dignity of the human person, whose defence and promotion have been entrusted to us as leaders by the Creator, and which every person must do his or her best to uphold and defend. As many people are already aware, the present situation does not seem to correspond to the defence of this dignity,” opined Bishop Sipuka.
“In the context of these sad experiences that the kingdom of Eswatini is going through and their negative impact on the life of the citizens of this country, the Catholic Church strongly affirms the possibility of overcoming the obstacles that prevent a solution to these experiences. The confidence about the possibility of overcoming obstacles is based first on the peace-loving character of EmaSwati for which this Kingdom is known,” added the Bishop.
Bishop Sipuka said that SACBC believes that the Kingdom and its citizens will resolve the present challenges and urged, “Their Majesties, the three arms of government, civic groups, and every individual, to be convinced of the seriousness of the present challenges and make efforts inspired by solidarity and love that will help in building a just and a peaceful society.”
The SACBC are on five-day solidarity and pastoral visit to the Catholic Diocese of Manzini. Bishop Sithembele Sipuka was in the company of the two secretaries of SACBC; Fr. Hugh O’Connor, the General Secretary and Sr. Phuthunywa Catherine Siyali, the Associate Secretary, and Bishop José Luis Ponce de León, the only Catholic Bishop in Eswatini.