Examining the Rational of funding USD 6.7 million on battalion heading to DRC

By Kiden Stela Mandela

In what appeared to be billed as commitment to regional security and stopping the spill-over from insurgencies in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to South Sudan, the Ministry of Defense and Veterans Affairs backed $6.7 million to fund special battalion of South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) to DRC. This is contrary to the reality on the ground that our own country also has the worst insurgencies and insecurity in some parts or territories; which need the capabilities and manpower of the nation’s armed forces to combat, and get rid of. And this can only be done if the defense is modernized to withstand the threats of the insurgencies in the country through programs and funding commitment of such kind which is badly lacking.

It’s morally right to support regional peace and security but the decision to do so should be weighted to factor in the most pressing issues that need consideration first. In this case our defense forces should be built and modernized to keep the stability of the country in sustainable manner first. Then that will legitimize going to play combat mission in foreign countries or international bodies.

The decision to fund special battalion to DRC defies logic that our armed forces are not better prepared domestically to perform such mission; instead the money should be diverted to rise up their salaries, buy more uniforms, logistics requirements, food rations, quality trainings, and improvement of the barracks where they are stationed.

The government should not be in rush to fix the problems of the neighbor yet the same issues here are not resolved. This is like a carpenter who fixes the neighbor’s broken doors leaving his own unfixed.

For instance, Uganda when President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni took over from Obote government in 1986, the country’s defense system was totally weak and reduced to militia. But the Museveni’s government invented good leadership to fashion and transform the guerilla warriors into the modern army.

And tasked them to keep domestic peace and security in which they managed serious Joseph Kony of Lord Resistance Army’s insurgencies. Today Uganda’s army is well equipped and prepared to response to foreign mission. They are in Somalia fighting Al Shabab terrorists under African Union mission, they went to Congo sometimes back, and recently again. And they also came to our rescue in 2013, when the rebellion erupted. For them to reach where they are now, it had taken them years and with lots of resources.

So the government of South Sudan should revise such decision, and consider its defense interests on internal matters or threats facing the country. If it’s the issue of insurgencies’ spillover at the border with DRC, our troops can be stationed in our territory at the border. And then they coordinate information sharing between the two governments. Our defense system needs to be transformed to defend the country both internally and externally in case of invasion, and insurgencies.

Comments are closed.