Leaving other factors constant for the National army to be more ethical because many things needs time to function systematically, I would only write on the “speed” you drive your cars on the streets of Juba.
BY KON Joseph LEEK
Our dear SPLA gallant forces, we appreciate your roles right from when you started emerging to present. You used to be too protective and defensive as well as being offensive to your enemies if their aim is to destroy us/you.
In the on-going crises we very much appreciate your roles for protecting civilians though there are complains raised by some institutions that you slips a little (those are the organizations who fail to understand what you are going through-they do not see the way we do), we do understand that you are doing your best for a new Nation faced by too many man-made calamities cannot just emerge suddenly like a GOST and become an “Heaven on Earth”.
Besides all these, there is one thing we civilians do not understand from you, the way you drive your cars on the streets of Juba, speed and the overtaking. Your cars’ speed is always too high and overtakes where it is not necessary to overtake and even driving on a wrong lane.
I believe your drivers are professionals, the way they control those speedy cars explains it but what confuse me is why there is a gross disrespect of traffic laws by our brothers, you, the SPLA. That always leaves our mostly women-fearful-and-less-committed-to-laws-traffic police stand aghast with huge failure to give solutions to what the military does on the streets.
Leaving them (traffic) with thousands creative ways of solving civilians and foreigners’ problems. To some extent, we applause their (traffic) roles while admiring and pity their innocence when they are dealing with the SPLA.
Another besides the above is, if it is your(the military) car knocking the civilian’s car, it is you (military) to hasten jump out of your car and begin to threaten us unless you give-in and calm your eyes that had been rubbed and fumed by resentment.
It is not of secret, we know our own SPLA, you are everywhere with us, if it is your car that has knocked ours (civilians) or our car knocking yours (because to you, it means the same), then we just know that Lord God, our/your father has forsaken you at the times you needed him most (that moment).
Since they are “hard nuts to crack”, their persuasion would not help at all though you kneel you would just be flinging yourself down in an unexciting submissive posture of a mere supplicant that would not help because it means nothing to them.
What can only help is to “show a clean pair of heels” because once we are at hand we just know that we have got “a sword of Damocles hanging on our (victim) heads” because few minutes after they are done with you and you got some magical powers to plant your eyes on someone else’ head and you have a view of yourself, believe me you would fail to recognize your own wrecked self.
It is worse when you are a little old or weak that you would be unable to speed away, from there you would be faced with two dangerous situations, each of which is to be dreaded as much as the other; that is between risking running on the road in the cars with your feet or getting yourself arrested by them (the army).
So our dear military brothers, you are making our lives very tough on the streets that if we see your car coming on that break-neck and intimidating speed, we hasten run out of the streets fearing our lives so that one do not end up trapped between the wheels of a military car.
In the past, those times when we were still in the bush (when SPLA was still a rebel), I can vividly remember that when your car comes, civilians would eventually know that they are saved because your cars used to be less speedy and were (earlier SPLA) respecting civilians a lot, something which has a little bit changed now (if that, am I not saddened by your driving).
I don’t know if it was because there were no tarmac roads then, that you want to recover the speed you might have lost in the past or that the military were more discipline in the past than now?
If yours is to scare us, then you do not need to scare us with life-threatening-tools/machines because we know that you are no alien to them (those things that kills) for you know how to carry them but it is important to know that civilians are not akin to that life-style.
You also know well that the military comes out of the civilians and upon retiring from the military; you join the civilians, in that it is better to observe your future relationship with the civilians. Who knows after having retired from the military you would want the civilians to elect you as their president or governor
Also, most of the military mistreating us do not live in the military quarters, they are staying in civilian homes with civilians, it is quiet creepy if you think that the civilian you live at home with is better than the one you meet on the street.
If you have a problem with civilians that drives on the roads then start with the one you are at home with, that is if they have one (car).
We are soon going to join the community of East Africa who are “millets of days” since they gained their independences, those ones who have learned from their mistakes, the coupés, economic depression, rebellion, tribalism among others and now fully stands with all their four legs. They are far much different from us if we are to compare our legs’ steadfastness with them.
Unfortunately, our legs’ steadfastness have been greatly reduced by the already-existing problems that we do not need someone to tell us (because we know them all), these banes that make our legs loss-balance, these horribles that have weaken our National legs due to lack of experience that results to these made-made calamities.
We can be qualified to guide our Nation, stabilize our economy but experience is another thing (for experience is not the same thing as qualification). How do we stand out in the East Africa community? Won’t they always be viewing us as amateurs? They won’t care whether we are 9000 days since we were born, they will only care that we are another Nation like them and so with our speedy military cars, won’t it be a little set back in that community (leaving other factors constant !)
Our military has been driving like this even before 15th Dec 2013; we expect our military to be driving with care on the streets and to only speed in case of emergency such that we also know the different between when they are speeding and when they are not and it will also help us to differentiate when there is emergency and when there is not.
We want our military to also know that military is a profession of which if you are in its uniform, you are not viewed as an individual by the civilians but as a Nation hence if it is a military man in his full uniform intimidating the civilian then we shall view you as a Nation directly mistreating its own citizen.
You do not need to treat us like your enemies; we are friends, real friends. We do not have any beep between us but you want to make us believe what is not true for doing to us what is so unfortunate of you to do to us. We love you guys only that there is nothing we can do to you to show that we really love you and you are as well too busy to realize that we love you.
We want you to be a military if one glance at, you feel agitated to join.
I once went to Bilpam military head quarters to bank from there at Equity bank and made my own observation of the military of how you drive but I really saw the opposite of what you do on the roads of Juba, I guess you do that (slowly drive) to let your seniors see that you are indeed discipline.
Can you please bring that Bilpam-driving style to Juba roads without the orders from your bosses, the generals but from me, a civilian?!
It is not of recent that we saw this (bad driving) from the SPLA, the present has been there right from the start only that we were either too busy to notice or too blind to see and now that we can see/or if times come, I urge you to curve your driving style a little to the moderate one for I know that being busy is never given a leave for you to adjust yourself (you can adjust yourself while busy).
We want you to be our best friends and defenders to respect and love not our worse defenders to fear and despise.
The writer is a South Sudanese journalist living in Juba and can be reached on email@example.com