By Gabriel Kucdit Kachuol, Yirol, South Sudan
March 4, 2017 (SSB) —- A few days ago, Rebecca Nyandeng was interviewed by the Aljazeera TV, about conscription of child soldiers into the SPLA, military wing of the SPLM movement, led by her late husband, who is our hero and a father of our new nation, Dr. John Garang in which she asserted a controversial statement that “Red Army were food seekers in the SPLA.’
This blatant remark has not only outraged all the “Red Army but disappointed many including the Lost boys/girls and significant number of South Sudanese community in diaspora and within.” At least that is my own observation having read reactions on the social media.
However, in my opinion, though Nyandengdid may be wrong, the ineffective role played by the Red Army in this senseless conflict is a standpoint that young people, who might have not had the chance to participate in the frontline during the war and who never had the privilege to know the history of ‘Red Army’ during the struggle may be excused in case they get convinced of Nyandeng’s derogatory assertion.
Why? Because from 2006 to 2017, there is hardly anything tangible Red Army have done to show that they are the predicted manpower that were hoped to steer South Sudan to prosperity and good governance through brain work as many of them are indeed undoubtedly unmatched intellectuals, proving that Dr. Garang had pure intentions only that the Red Army have not lived to the ideal.
Praising govt every now and then in political rallies in the freedom square and in hotels without also questioning the performance of the govt is not an achievement. Perhaps, they should say that they have hidden concord with govt hence both deliberately turn deaf ears and blind eyes to the crying and sufferings of the people of South Sudan who are yearning just to get basic needs such as peace, security, good roads, improved education and health facility from their govt.
The Red Army should have been the ones, to right after the independence, to launch dis-campaign against child conscription into the army in South Sudan given their own experience of how it feels like to be in the army whilst under age. But practically, what steps has the Red Army taken to combat the same scenario of recruiting under aged young people into the army to fight political wars of interests both in the govt and IO camps?
There are no worthwhile steps taken by the Red Army to indicate that they are in solidarity with the war affected and traumatised people of South Sudan in IDPS centres, slams of south Sudan main towns and in refugee camps both within and the neighbouring countries.
There is nothing to show that the Red Army is working towards the reformation of the SPLA into a professional national army that equally respect and safeguard the rights and property of all people of South Sudan not just an SPLM party army as is portrayed by the fact that the mighty SPLA that we were all once proud of is now divided behind politicians.
What is unfortunately albeit conspicuous is that Red Army looks more like a govt parastatal used to promote vicious system that is already in place in the nascent nation. Therefore, I am inclined to conclude that the so-called Red Army and some of the Lost Boys have failed to lived up to the vision of SPLM/A for them because they were supposed to intervene as soon as the country got independence to agitate for good governance.
Even if the govt of South Sudan did not give them chance to participate in the system, they should have known that given the education most of them have received, they have the duty to creatively protect the ignorant and war traumatised population from bush generals who are thirsty and hunger for years in the dangerous bushes.
Nevertheless, I acknowledge their patriotic turn out at a very tender age to dedicatedly participate in the long liberation struggle of our country, South Sudan. In fact, I must admit that Red Army did better than we the young generation of today.
We are easily manipulated by politicians to fight against ourselves in the name of protecting or advancing selfish interest of our big belly uncles and tribal generals without questioning why we are fighting against ourselves yet we are sons and daughters of the same country, a country which has been bought with exorbitant price by our martyrs and wounded heroes and heroines, a country which have been bought with sweat of our mothers and sisters who had to collect “tayin” to the SPLA.
The author is a student and can be reached via Kucdidgab@gmail.com
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