You have probably heard the adage above many times. Well, if you have grabbed a copy of yesterday’s issue of No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper or you have been following what has been transpiring in South Sudan closely lately, you probably would know about the deployment of the 753 battalion of SSPDF force for peace mission in Eastern Dr. Congo as part of East African Community Peace Corps.
The latest development is that the troops are allegedly rebelling in Yei; although official information from the military administration says that they are in Mundri awaiting processing of travel documents for entry in to DR. Congo.
Prior to the battalion’s sendoff for their journey by President Salva Kiir and Defense Minister Angelina Teny; activists and opposition leaders, including MPs, questioned the legitimacy of the deployment. They asked why the government rushed with the deployment without the August House’s scrutiny. Their rhetoric point to some foul play up the sleeve. One of the outstanding concerns brought forth was the mode and amount of salary to be paid.
Now rumors about the remuneration (reportedly USD $1,000) have been purportedly sliced in to half, or not being paid has sprouted up. Why is that so? The forces are supposed to be in Congo already. Why are they still stuck in Mundri? The official communication is that their Congo entry delay is due to travel documentation.
But the question is, why weren’t the documents processed before they left from Juba? Is the HQ of SSPDF in Mundri? How could you deploy a soldier without paying his/her pocket money? What can they leave for their families before traveling? How do you expect them to survive while on mission in the field? The forces have been undergoing training in preparation for the mission. And their date of travel was long set. How can someone come around and claim issues of processing – be it salary or travel documents?
There are just too many questions to be asked. Rumors may be rumors. But they are often sparked by something. Government officials have been known for dillydallying when it comes to contentious issues concerning welfare (especially where money is involved) for its own armed forces, civil servants, and the citizens. Too many times, senior officials whether in the military or public service embezzle funds or delay services at will. None of those found to be guilty has ever been punished. This must stop. It is time we see real change in this New Year.