SSPDF must be free from tribalism
By Samuel Maker Amuor
South Sudan Peoples’ Defense Forces (SSPDF) was a dream of all South Sudanese that has come true. It has come into pose at the right time in the history of our beloved Country. SSPDF should be an army that is destined towards making this nation a better one for all South Sudanese. In spite of being anteriorly known as SPLA, the time is reap for the now SSPDF to make a permanent paradigm shift of indiscipline behaviors that it has been demonstrating in the former SPLA attire to becoming a disciplined peoples’ army.
We are not ready to hear again the reports of rape, looting of civilians’ properties, and targeted killings labelled against former SPLA and SPLA/IO. A conventional SSPDF, which was formerly SPLA from now onwards, should always have the sense of patriotism. We the citizens need SSPDF to be a well-trained national army that is mindful of the rule of law in the Country. A peoples’ defense force that supports democracy in the Country. An army which does not encourage ethnic divisions. The army whose attention is not totally drawn by political wrangles or differences. The army which respects civilians and willing to perish in defense of its citizens, constitution, and territorial integrity of the Country. An army that is always not a problem, but a part of solution to unfavorable national situations. Only then can we unanimously worship SSPDF!
Past scenarios must not repeat themselves. All gone incidents that occurred in 1991, 2013, 2016, and others, must be kept aside or permanently forgotten in SSPDF span. Such vicious phenomena have done a great destitution to this Country. They happened because of the former SPLA being divided on tribal basis and fought a power struggle fight. Former SPLA was like a political or party army as it has been always murmured on the streets across the Country by some citizens. It was an army of individuals, they said. Is it the proof answer to why it split whenever senior SPLM politicians had political differences? SSPDF must work for the progress of our beloved Country, distant itself far away from the politics of the Country. SSPDF of this time must be nonpartisan as enshrined in our Country’s constitution. It is less concerned when it comes to politics. Let the present moment of SSPDF bring us national cohesion of purpose, stability, prosperity, and tribalism free South Sudan. Past tribally fueled or power struggle conflicts must not again be triggered or even echoed. It is time now for SSPDF to do something that can wipe the still shading tears of agony on the faces of suffering innocent South Sudanese!
Transforming SSPDF to conventional army that puts the nation above any tribal or individual interest should not be a nightmare. Transformation of our army must include but not limited to the following; First, SSPDF soldiers have to be sound in mind and trained well, both practically and theoretically. They must be given an in-depth military drills whether in the Country or outside the Country regardless of the cost. Because strength of the nation is always measured based on how its men and women in arms are trained with high discipline, and full logistical needs assured. Second, Salaries of SSPDF soldiers have to be augmented to the motivating level. Simply because well-motivated or equipped soldiers can nationalistically perform their duties as required by the constitution without forgery or malpractices. They can heartily vow to do something better to their Country by all means. But, a poorly motivated soldier can do the opposite. Who knows whether or not our own soldiers who are permitted by the laws of this nation to protect the citizens, are the ones that turned unknown gunmen in the Country to kill people and get something from them? These killings must come to an end. Third, rotational deployment of SSPDF soldiers must be prioritized. The psychologically healthy months for soldiers to stay in one deployment place are 3-6 months. There are reasons to this. Soldiers get bored as a result of living in the same environment for long, and as such, they can easily become mentally unsound which can in turn signal a negative impact during their national duties. It is worth recommending that soldiers should keep adapting new areas of their deployment in assuming their national responsibilities. Forth, Recruitment has to be done in a manner which equally encompasses all tribes of South Sudan without discrimination. Fifth, national army barracks must be built distanced from the city or towns. This is to avoid interference by the army to take up duties/responsibilities that are for law imposing agencies. And so on and so forth.
Prospect of peace in SSPDF tribalism free epoch. For total peace to manifest itself in our beloved Country, there must be a discard of tribal attitude by the SSPDF soldiers. Now guns have gone into the hands of civilians across the Country. This is the fact free from denial and it elicits the question that, why are guns being held by those who are not supposed to hold or use them? Is it the same army we have, the men and women in arms that give weapons to their civil populations to fight each other on tribal basis? Or do these civilians have authority or capacity to purchase arms and ammunitions from other nation (s)? You know well the best answers to these questions. One thing appears clear and true that in every an independent Country like South Sudan, a national army alike SSPDF should make sure that all arms and ammunitions are in its control and possession. Is it hard for SSPDF to siege all the weapons with which our civilians always kill themselves? Therefore, we the citizens of this nation have suffered more than enough. We need SSPDF in its capacity as a peoples’ defense force to take off all the guns from civilians’ hands. And to effect this means being a tribalism free people’s defense force!
The author is an activist against tribalism in the Country. Founder of an online and offline operating ‘South Sudan anti-tribalism platform’. He is effervescent for a tribalism free South Sudan!!! Join us. He is reachable via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +211924493641