Time Now To Domesticate Armed Forces In South Sudan

"In a small way, the recent appointment of a woman as Minister of Defence is an excellent move for the R-TGoNU. It is a pointer of the necessary reforms needed to professionalise our army for better defence of the nation". JJA

By Jacob J Akol*

There is a good reason why we must adopt a culture of having soldiers taking orders from politicians in government. Experience elsewhere has shown that soldiers serve their people bravely and very well when they are disciplined enough to obey orders from elected leaders.

I understand where we are coming from: the long culture of militarism and rule of the gun from the old Sudan to the Liberation Movement. That culture has gone on far too long, keeping us at war with each other and in chronic poverty. It must change if we are to move forward.

In a small way, the recent appointment of a woman as Minister of Defence is an excellent move for the R-TGoNU. It is a pointer of the necessary reforms needed to professionalise our army for better defence of the nation.

If we are to move forward and out of the rule of the gun, it must be understood that should anyone want to remain in uniforms, he should not be allowed to indulge in politics. In future, hopefully soon, all politicians should seek electoral office from the people in order to legitimately speak for his or her constituency as well as the citizens.

What the generals under Dr Riek Machar have just done in their “defection to President Kiir”, is being guided by the old and backward mentality based on the rule of the gun. We must get away from that in order to liberate our citizens, including the armed forces.

While the issue of nepotism has coloured this appointment of Madam Angelina Teny, wife and fellow fighter to Riek Machar, let's put that aside for now and get on with the urgent issues the R-TGoNU must accomplish in the next two to three years of the remaining Interim Period.

*Jacob J Akol is Editor of www.gurtong.net website.
 

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