“Forewarned is forearmed”!!
By Deng Riek Khoryoam, South Sudan
June 26, 2011 (SSNA) — The disarmament exercise, which started today this morning and still continuing, is highly welcome since we are an itch away from the July 9th. The period during which this exercise will last is said to be 9 days, as I understand from some people within the system – but I hope it does go on till they achieved what they intended to achieve when they first thought of it. I personally think this is a good move and a bold decision taken by the government at the right time since South Sudan’s Independence Day is just at the corner now, with only 11 days left before 8th of July.
This, presumably, is done as part and parcel of the preparation for the independence celebration, which will be attended by several heads of states, diplomatic corps and other dignitaries from around the world. This day will go down to our history as a day during which our flag was hoisted high in the sky and as birthday for all South Sudanese from all walks of life and equally important, their friends in struggles – who will come to appreciate what they helped midwifed when they pressurized the two parties to ink the accord a couple of years ago. Of significant importance, is the fact that the government of Southern Sudan has invited some senior officials from Obama administration to attend the ceremony in their position as one of the main guarantors of the comprehensive peace agreement, signed during the tenure of George W Bush. I hope he (Bush) has been individually invited to the independence celebration and that he does attend!
And as we now know, America’s struggle to tightening their grip on super-power-position has created more enemies than friends across the globe. They have planted many enemies for themselves in the name of fighting terrorism and now they (the Americans) are enemies to everyone in Arab identity—–and in the end, the innocent American citizens are made to pay the ultimate price for their leaders’ decisions back at home. Thus, they become easy targets everywhere and at anytime from those seeking revenge instead of going for Bush or President Obama at the white house for a cup of coffee, tea or better yet, a beer!. This is true and I can give good examples on request! Perhaps, these are provisos set by American officials in order to attend the Independence Day celebration so as to boost the morale of Southerners to whom this day belongs.
Juba as we all know (or for those in Juba), has become a safe haven for international thieves, criminals and all sorts of bad things one could or couldn’t imagine. It imports everything (food stuffs, and now fuel etc) from foreign neighbouring countries to an extent that it also imports international prostitutes, thieves and criminals in exchange for recognition and friendships founded on shadowy grounds only. This has been made simple by the easy-border-entry into the Country without any headache through crooked ways. Worse yet, government’s inertia to control or restrict border points and border entry by allowing only those who posses valid (or legal) travel documents, has caused havoc for the locals. As a result, the innocent civilians are or have been paying the ultimate price, just like in the America’s example briefly narrated above, as these criminals kill people and loot their’ properties at will and at gun point.
I think the citizens of this beautiful city called Juba will hopefully, at the end of this exercise, breath in relieve; for even though not all those in possession of illegal arms or weapons will be disarmed but at least it shall have attained a certain level of achievement. The SPLA military police, the police, prison, wildlife as well as other security organs have conducted themselves well during the first day of the exercise with no reports of harassments and other abuses, except those who might not have cooperated with them. They (soldiers) shouldn’t be blamed for this because everyone or every citizen is expected to comply with them and cooperate till the exercise is over. If you talked rudely to them and they responded back with something else, they may not be necessarily wrong – they are right on that line. We are not doing them a favour, neither are they doing us a favour; they are trying to remove all the harmful substances that could harm us, and it’s their duty to protect us from any physical harm and ensure our safety and security so that we live in a free and peaceful environment.
This is where they deserve thumb up in appreciation for what they have done today, and will continue to do over the next few days to come. I think we should learn to give credit where its due and to pat somebody’s shoulders if he/she does something good in the same way we criticize them when he/she goes or does something wrong. This is to avoid being accused of one-sidedness and being biased! I personally appreciate what the organized forces have shown or done today and urge them to maintain that spirit throughout the whole process.
In conclusion, the organized forces ought to stamp out these criminal gangs or armed robbers operating in Juba by doing what they did today while remaining vigilant day and night to watch out for these people. Let us accept the plain truth that most of these criminals and armed robbers are our own sons and not necessarily foreigners alone. One foreigner told me that these foreign armed criminals get or buy weapons from South Sudanese because they can’t bring them from their countries. I tend to believe this because it makes perfect sense! So they get the weapons from within and not from without!! Having appreciated the conduct of our men and women in uniforms, I think it’s also good to remind them to continue respecting and observing basic human rights to the end of this exercise—–that is how you earn respect and credibility in the court of public of opinion.
South Sudan cannot and will not be a safe haven for Alshabab elements or other wrong elements whose primary objective might be to see to it that they cause havoc during that would-be-peaceful celebration where even a yet-to-be born baby shall be celebrating too in his/her mother’s womb. We should not forget about Kampala bombing of last year in July. Remember, not everyone in the neighbourhood is happy about us breaking away; so as we celebrate on that day, they may want to celebrate differently by indulging in bloodbath activities. We should not also forget about other incidents, which had happened elsewhere in the continent. “Forewarned is forearmed” as that English adage goes. Take care and be vigilant = safe!
The author lives in South Sudan and can be reached for comments at [email protected]