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Catholic Bishop quits Kiir ‘dialogue’ team

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Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban, a retired Catholic prelate appointed as co-chairperson for the national dialogue formed by South Sudan President Salva Kiir last year, has quit due to what he attributed to old age and other commitments.

In a letter addressed to President Kiir, Bishop Taban, said he would continue to give advice to the national dialogue committee, if consulted.

“Thank you [President Kiir] for your trust and confidence in me (…). However I hope His Excellency will understand that I am now 81 years old. I have already retired, from formal and official involvement since 2004, when I retired from the administration of Catholic Diocese of Torit,” partly reads the March 1 letter.

President Kiir formed the National Dialogue Steering Committee in December 2016, to be headed by Bishop Taban and Prof. Moses Machar Kachuol. There are 50 other members of the committee, including officials of renowned Juba-based think tanks.

In his letter, the retired Bishop said he should be ‘excused’ because he needed rest.

“I appeal to all of us, South Sudanese and I appeal to the God fearing men and women worldwide to join hands in supporting this Noble Initiative for National Dialogue,” he said.

Bishop Taban is the second Catholic leader to decline invitation from President Kiir.

At a church sermon last week, the Auxiliary Catholic Bishop Rev. Santo Laku described as ‘political’ and ‘mockery’ national prayers scheduled for Friday, March 10.

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