Will Maj. Gen. Lual Maroldit ends corruption within the Tiger Division?

Posted: June 2, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

The Appointment of Maj. Gen. Lual Maroldit to Head the Tiger May Mark the End of Corruption in the Tiger Division

By David Deng Chapath, Kampala, Uganda

red-army-procession-in-aweil-sept-2016

Red army procession in Aweil, Sept 2016

June 1, 2017 (SSB) — On May 18, 2016 , Memoscar Lasuba, a journalist working with the Eye Radio reported after he had an interview with the Presidential Advisor on Military Affairs, Daniel Awet Akot who told him that the SPLA payroll has more ghost names than actual soldiers. The reason for the Ghost names being maintained on the payroll as General Awet intimated to Memoscar Lasuba on that day is due to the lack of proper registration.

As observed above by General Daniel Awet Akot, corruption in South Sudan is a major challenge in management. And in fact, corruption has now shifted the country economy from being an integrated and self-sustaining system during economic boom period of the year 2006 to 2012 to being a disintegrative and self destructing system that is heading to economic collapse.

Among all the sectors in the country, the sector that is most hit by current economic crisis is the National Army, the SPLA. This is due to the lack of financial oversight for and within the SPLA, which constitutes a major organizational weakness and creates opportunities for corruption as it has been observed by Enough Team Edited by Jacinth Planer January 2017 in its report on South Sudan Military entitled: Weapons of Mass Corruption How corruption in South Sudan’s military undermines the world’s newest country

The deficiency within the army caused by the lack of oversight and accountability does not stem primarily from a poor legal framework, underdeveloped institutional capacity, or lack of knowledge about international best practice in financial oversight. The deficiency stems from willful, systematic obstruction of financial oversight.

Hence, as pointed out by Enough Project already referred to above, the cause of corruption in the Army in South Sudan owes its roots to the fact that tens of thousands of names of ghost soldiers were added to army payroll in at least two main ways— (1) By more senior level administrators looking to justify the high military budget allotment; and  (2) Through military reintegration cycles when the artificially high force sizes were added into the army as part of settlement agreements to entice military adversaries to agree to a peace deal.

After adding such a huge number of non-existing soldiers, the corruption in the system prevents any necessarily review and verification by an independent party to ensure that the numbers are an accurate reflection of the true force size that is joining the army.

After entering the ghost soldiers to the payroll, the majority of the commanders who benefits from such ghost names are the ones sustaining corruption in the SPLA as they protect ghost names. For instance, when the external third parties demand for verification of the names on the payroll of the SPLA, they may assert, without having to provide proof, that they are bringing into the SPLA a certain number of soldiers in a number of given counties, often in remote areas.

This is because there are political, reputational, and economic incentives for military commanders to inflate the number of soldiers they claim to contribute to the national army in a peace settlement following conflict, which has led to the SPLA being turned into employment but not professional job.

Therefore, majority of those who join the SPLA, join with intention not to defend the country but to remain as standby in order to become a substitute for ghost soldiers when things become tough due to the demand for accountability. While some work in private employment and only receive salaries at the end of the months.

All the above problems have also been experienced in the Tiger Division in which Major General Lual Maroldit has been appointed to head. I have hope that the appointment of Major General Lual Maroldit to head the Tiger may mark the end of corruption in the tiger division due to the following reasons—

He is one of the generals who hate corruption. For instance, when he was appointed and given authority to lead Tiger Division, the first discovery he made was that there were many ghost names in the payroll. What he has done now is to ensure that before money is given to the true owner, the owner must produce documentary evidence to show that he or she is a true owner.

Such a move has sent a shockwave across the world of the ghost soldiers or beneficiaries from the ghost names. And as a result, the beneficiaries from the ghost names recently reached the extent of slaughtering a chicken in front of his house in form of magic so that they scared him to accommodate their corrupt practices but he did not give in so the ghosts remain ghosts.

In addition, immediately after his appointment, he recently came to Uganda to buy food for the soldiers in the Tiger Division. This shows that his interest is to see that the welfare of the SPLA Members in Tiger Division is improved. In addition, his action teaches us that the major role of the authority is to protect the welfare of his or her subjects.

Furthermore, what makes Lual Maroldit an effective General is the fact that he hates corruption and because of that he has an element of humanity. This element of humanity makes him to be a man of good heart, a character that South Sudan currently needs badly.

In summary, I would like to advise him to keep up the good work. He should not fear of magic because good work defeats magic. It is important that Major General Lual Maroldit has discovered the fact that one of the killer diseases in South Sudan is corruption and by declaring the war against corruption, the SPLA is going to be one of the strongest army in the world. This is because professionalism and self-sacrifice that have been left to corruption will be promoted.

NB//: the author is South Sudanese student residing in Uganda and can be reached through: dengdavid00@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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