South Sudan can’t rely on foreigners for security, structural and institutional reforms

South Sudan (SSB) – The assumed task of the Regional Protection Force has been overrated by South Sudanese who are fed up with security challenges, and who want to see real reforms and security guarantees for all citizens in the country. That being the general perception, there is nothing in the document that says the Force will help in institutional reforms, security sector reforms and structural overhaul of the governance in South Sudan.

What the Force will do is to help provide security to the most vulnerable population, Government’s Installations, foreign embassies and give extra protections to areas that might have been out of the reach of the South Sudan’s organized forces. All the other things that would make the country livable: agricultural production, safe return of the internally displaced persons to their homes, limiting powers of the Government through judicial independence and safe return of refugees need South Sudanese to do some works on their own.

To begin with, Regional Protection Force has a mandate, and the commanding officers will be confined to the black letter rules of conduct, and will work as stipulated in the peacekeeping mission Document. The noise people make about rejecting or wanting the Regional Protection Force deployed in South Sudan has little to do with the necessary changes that the country need. Mind you readers, extra security is what the proponents of the Regional Protection Force had in minds, and nothing beyond that.

Had South Sudan made crucial improvements in the last two years of the talk, the Force would have been scrapped altogether because it come with financial cost, a huge burden that has to be shouldered by the United Nations and super donors who want to see a stable South Sudan. The way Government’s Representatives and members of the armed oppositions twisted the importance of the Force indicated that some of them don’t fully understand how the world operates or the forces under the auspices of the United Nations work.

Secondly, Rights Groups need to join the Peace caravan, and start working with partners in the Region and around the globe to make sure real Peace in South Sudan is implemented, and reforms are put in place before the highly anticipated general election is conducted. There are so many gaps that politicians in the Government and oppositions on the run exploits when their own interests are not met.

The better way to bring South Sudan back is for people to organize themselves into Groups, target areas that need extra attentions, draft the kind of frameworks that need to be in place, present their papers to the Government as well as to the Peace monitors who would be traveling in and out of South Sudan. Staying idle, and not being part of the process means a situation like the one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or the Somalia situation is brewing.

Just like the way the Comprehensive Peace Agreement(CPA-2005) was owned by people in the marginalized Regions of the Sudan, citizens of South Sudan need to take charge of the restoration of Peace in their country. Whether one is a pro-Government or member of the armed opposition, there is a greater need for citizens to step up and join the rebuilding of South Sudan. The negative impacts of the current civil war have been felt by all South Sudanese around the world, so should the rebuilding be every citizen responsibility.

Thirdly, it’s almost two years since the security arrangement was agreed upon/entered into between the SPLM-IG and the SPLM-IO. Since then, a lot has happened in the South Sudan; other armed oppositions have emerged, soldiers from organized forces have deserted service and moved to villages, and some SPLM-IO rebels have either quit to countryside or rejoined the Government under other shoddy arrangements.

Meanwhile, some loose forces that are not part of any security arrangement presents a major threat to lasting peace in the country. If anything can be done, then it is an inclusive initiative that would cover almost every opposition, eliminate fear for Groups that can disturb peace or rundowns that can interrupt economic activities in South Sudan’s remotest areas.

For instance, armed civilians from newly created 32 states do clash along the new states’ boundaries, and they often use big mortar shells and heavy artilleries. If armed civilians, without a central command can engage themselves in such manner, how can presence of Regional Protection Force in Juba or major towns make any difference without reforms?

Fourthly, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan need to attract diasporas, ask them to volunteer in various ministries, pay them none, but provide accommodations only. Why South Sudanese diasporas? These educated youths have been nurtured in the first world education, they know where to find information, they can connect South Sudan with the rest of the world, are capable of being given tasks, and following through with all the parts.

The Future of South Sudan – By USAID Africa Bureau – South Sudanese children, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

In support of this proposal, majority of the people who are very active on the social media can actually help in reforms and restructuring of the institutions, and ensure that services are delivered accordingly. The reason being, if money is involved, then people with no skills or functional education that can change the country may find their way into those special programs, and not offer the worthwhile services. Simple things like records keeping, keeping track of contracts, assessing the works done by private contractors and making sure that Government’s accounts are not compromised can best be dealt with by people who know the importance of ethics in serving the country.

The mentality that light skins people: white, brown and yellow are the smartest, and are capable of doing anything need to be discarded altogether. None from the same colleges and universities can outsmart South Sudanese who went to school with them. For the interest of the country, South Sudanese just need to embrace themselves, seek knowledge and import technologies from around the world.

Lastly, but not the end, there have been reports about the overcharging of Government’s accounts, and money lost for services never delivered(Dura Saga). Earned degrees aside, and practical education on the table and at work. There are select people in South Sudan who are very sensitive about hearing diasporas returning home, they need moral orientation, and extra protection be given to returnees. A living example is State of Israel, their diasporas transformed the country into a superpower in the Middle East.

Next door, hardworking South Sudanese economic-migrants in Egypt, SUDAN and refugees in neighboring countries need to be lured back home. They cannot be there forever, something ought to be done, and done now. Precious times have been wasted on worthless things; fighting endlessly and off-shoring of money that should have been spent on hospitals, farming, roads and schools.

In summary, South Sudan doesn’t want to be in the same situation like some countries that have no capacity to pay civil servants, build hospitals, construct major roads, produce their own food, manufacture household products and safeguard their nationhood. It is a matter of prioritizing programs that are essential for the nation’s economy, adopting a system of government that would work best for the population, providing adequate security for all the citizens in the country and catching up with rest of the world.

One of the many reasons as to why nations with foreign peace keepers fail is because the whole thing become a business for foreign governments, some corrupt politicians profit from international nonprofit organizations that take in donations, and in the name of providing services to the needy people. Please reread the article with heart and mind fully at ease.

The main reason some of us writes is not to impress anyone, but to inform members of the young generation and advise people in leadership positions to make decisions that are bigger than themselves. To the anti-change/reforms, governments come and go, but defined lands live forever. Your country, your pride wherever you are in the world.

This report prepared by Mayak Deng Aruei for PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers