By Malek Arol Dhieu
It is easier said than done to graduate the Unified Forces, but now that it has happened, what has remained only is one more push to call it a ‘full implementation’ of the agreement. Because of this, the parties that are signatories to the agreement deserve an unconditional appreciation for reaching the mouthwatering milestone of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.
Graduation of the Unified Forces is one thing, but maintaining them to remain a national army is another! The worry of whether the forces would be graduated or not has now faded away, but it was shortly replaced by the worry of whether the forces would have their salary increased and paid monthly or would follow the footstep of old soldiers who receive their salary three or four times a year!
If the government pays no enough salary to these forces, then more trees are going to be cut down for charcoal which has been the laborious salary of the Mighty SSPDF, more citizens are going to be robbed of their property, more people are going to be killed by unknown gunmen, more animals are going to be illegally killed and more rebellions are going to occur. If all these are detrimental to the growth of this beloved country, then more efforts should be exerted to tie the army with a short rope.
It’s awkward that no South Sudan’s soldiers wear a blue helmet somewhere in Africa as peacekeeping forces because they are being perceived as ethnic soldiers who fight on tribal lines. But with transformation and thorough refinery, they would be the most desired peacekeeping force to operate in warring countries.
The transformation of the army begins with the transformation of army commanders from those commanders who consume soldiers’ money and food items to those commanders who say ‘enough is enough’, what we have consumed when we were SPLA is enough to make us survive until tomorrow.
Another form of transformation is to select a diversified team of close protection so that the soldiers do not see themselves as ethnic soldiers, but as national soldiers who can protect anyone. The deployment of soldiers, whether in oil fields, hotels, checkpoints or borders, should also be diversified to help in killing tribalism, unfairness and indecisiveness.
Take an example of the National Security Service; the Head of NS will soon be hired by other countries to give lectures on how best security personnel are trained to maximize their sole duty. Our hats are always off for our National Security Service.
Broadening “Be unified forces, don’t be uni-fight forces”, I want the forces to remain united to protect the nation against an external aggression instead of fighting themselves when one leader falls out with another. Professionals carrying out one heavy duty can’t fight themselves whatever the anger, I see no reason why the army divides itself whenever it sees individuals disagreeing.
Whether it originates from those individuals or the army itself, one thing should be clear; what gives rebellion space is the easygoing of soldiers to fight behind those who rebel. A drum can’t be beaten by one person and the drumbeat attracts people to dance, meaning one person can’t beat the drum of war and, war takes effect! What promotes it is the underpayment of soldiers together with delay in payment!
The author is a medical student, University of Juba. He can be reached at email@example.com or +211922332811.
By Malek Arol Dhieu