Official Death Squads in Society: The Case of South Sudan
By Prof. Wani Tombe
Official death squads (ODS) are invariably, the characteristics of those human societies, in which, their mode of governance is riddled with unconstitutionalism to the extent that, the peoples are no more the sovereign. These are societies in which, the rulers behave as if they own the territorial states which they rule, and in which, these rulers are the law of the land. The rulers depend entirely on these ODS, to control the thinking and external conduct of the populace. In such societies, the notion and practice of freedom of expression is always zero. The ODS are thus made up of those human persons who in all human societies continue to prey on innocent citizens, to satisfy their murderous urges, without any regard to the nature of hurt and harm that their evil acts contribute to the moral; social; religious; and psychological; destruction of their nation.
There are many voices in South Sudan, which point to the fact that, the orgy of extrajudicial killings in Juba for example, and other major towns in South Sudan, is perpetrated by ODS belonging to various organised forces of the Republic of South Sudan (RoSS). The Minister of Interior, and others in the RoSS are quoted as admitting to the fact that, these ODS are real and they do exist in the RoSS. What does this mean? What does it mean when government ministers admit that, they have lost control of the situation, in which, the forces that they are supposed to control are now out of their control, and are being controlled by other vested interests in government, and these interests include the selected and indiscriminate killing of women, men, and children.
Are we not then, correct in concluding that, here in the RoSS, we are being led by a group of people who have lost the control of the situation? Are we not also correct to conclude that, we are being ruled by ministers who lack the moral capacities to confront their inner selves, in terms of their gross failures? These ministers have the fiduciary duties to protect us from comprehensive harm, however, here they are, complaining to us that, the policemen, and soldiers, that they were supposed to control, on our behalf, are now runaway forces. What are we supposed to do? We the ordinary citizens of the RoSS; we who are deprived of all means of checking the conducts of these ministers? We do not want violence in our society. How on earth are we supposed to remove such useless ministers from their redundant positions, and allocate these positions to some other sons and daughters of South Sudan, who can protect us?
If government ministers, publicly let-out utterances that, there are ODS operating freely in South Sudan, and if these ODS are the same people who attempted to murder some SPLA senior generals, in Juba, can these ministers guarantee their own safety in such an environment which is devoid of reasonable security? Just how can government ministers in such a situation walk with their heads high among the peoples whom they lead? Or is it the case that, the opinion of the common woman and man, in the streets of South Sudan, does not matter to these omnipotent ministers of the government of South Sudan? Why do these government ministers, think that, the rest of us, in South Sudan, are happy, and ready, to share the RoSS, with them, as corpses, in the graveyards of South Sudan? Or is it that, those who disappear, as a result of the activities of the ODS, have no graves, in public graveyards, because, they are buried, somewhere, secret, in Juba, and elsewhere in South Sudan?
I am repeating my request here again that, the security agents in the RoSS, must be made up of all the tribal, ethnic and other communities in the RoSS. There are enough pieces of evidence, which indicate that, most of these crimes of murders, and extrajudicial killings and rape and such like, in Juba, for example, are committed by ODS, composed of single tribes in the RoSS. We in the RoSS must not turn a blind eye to our reality on the ground. We know that our society is extremely primordial and tribal society. We know that the modern structures of governance within the government of South Sudan are being superimposed on tribal socio-cultural infrastructures. We must proactively device ways and means of neutralising these dangerous tribal formations so that, peace prevails in entire South Sudan. We cannot strive to build a modern multicultural and multi-tribal State, on the graves of other sons and daughters of South Sudan, just because, they belong to some smaller and militarily powerless tribes.
The government of South Sudan must by all means reconstitute all security and intelligence institutions in South Sudan, with the sole intention of protecting the interests of all the peoples of South Sudan, and not only the interests of the ruling elites in South Sudan. It is now obvious that, some of the ruling elites in South Sudan, including governments in various States of South Sudan, have turned into rivals as regards the peoples of South Sudan. The mindless murders of innocent peoples in Wau, is a clear demonstration of the fact that, the rulers have misunderstood the reason why they are there in the first place. The incident like that in Wau, cannot just be brushed aside, as a commonplace incident, that occurred because there have been a simple misunderstanding, between the peoples, and the government there. It cannot also just be brushed aside, as an incident incited by those who want to create some instability in that state.
The government of South Sudan must not encourage the peoples therein, to resort to other means of protecting themselves against their own government. The government in South Sudan must not always find causes for public misfeasance, in tribal variables. Instead of admitting their own constitutional mistakes, some of the government people in Wau, are presenting the end nasty results of the Wau incident, as tribal conflict, between the Dinka and the Fartit tribes. This is wrong. This is culpable. This is immoral, and it is evil. Why do others in government want to survive behind tribal infernos in South Sudan? Why do many others in government of South Sudan, want to consolidate their powers base behind tribal carnage and massacres?
The incident that happened in Wau, during the last few weeks, and which produced some dangerous socio-political and security problems, must be seen within the framework of our peoples, having fallen victims, to conducts and intentions, of very sick members of the ODS, within the failed, and failing security agencies in South Sudan. The perpetrators of this heinous crime ought to be seen as criminals, within the society of South Sudan, and they ought to be subjected to all our criminal laws, if there are any, appropriate for such crimes in our society. It is also worth mentioning that, such heinous crimes threaten the very existence of the RoSS, albeit that, the rulers in various states of South Sudan, appear oblivious to the creeping danger. The time has come for us in South Sudan, to tell our government that, we cannot go on like this. It is unfair for us to be bothering as to whether, we shall live to see the next day, in South Sudan, just because, our security agencies, have developed insatiable appetite, for our innocent blood. That is, we as women, men and children of South Sudan. Why should the security agencies declare war on us the poor downtrodden others in south Sudan?
As God loving peoples, we ought to pray to God Almighty, to deliver us from this ordeal that we have brought upon ourselves, by making such ruthless others as our rulers. We must pray for collective patience so that, we do not become chaotic in what we think and do. The mindlessness in what took place in Wau should be treated as an incident that has taken place, within the framework of socio-religious, legal, moral, and cultural vacuum and deviancy. However, the promoters and perpetrators of this sinful act want all of us to read into this crime, many racial, tribal, or ethnic factors. It is sad that this heinous crime took place, and that such innocent citizens have died and suffered such violations and deprivations of lives. I am compelled to say a word or two regarding this issue because, while a crime has been committed, others have succeeded in making it a politically motivated crime. They have also succeeded, in their intention, of undermining the tribal and racial integrity of these victims. However, unknown to these criminals, they have also succeeded in undermining the integrity and dignity of the peoples of South Sudan as a whole.
The perpetrators of this crime, as a matter of fact, emanates from the very South Sudan. This is a political crime, committed against the peoples of South Sudan. This is what one would like to contribute to, in the debate about this wrongful act, committed against these innocent people. I strongly believe that, some other political, religious, civic, and other societal leaders, should be held responsible for the crimes committed by these criminals, because, these criminals acted as agents of these so-called leaders. It is very right, to blame the so-called leaders and such like, for this particular incident, because, it is a very reasonable and honest thing to do, in the current circumstances, where political, and other wisdoms, are ubiquitously missing. Yes, we need human wisdom to resolve these intricate issues, in order to restore social harmony, and positive reciprocity, within the population of Wau town. We have to know that, such criminals can always commit such crimes again, geographical location notwithstanding, and those who want to undergrow this issue, from its politically motivated crime, to another dimension, should be careful, and they should put the safety of the whole South Sudan into consideration, including the safety of the entire peoples of South Sudan, who continue to be victims of these lowly criminals, in the form of police and other ODS.
I can also reiterate that, these criminals did commit this crime, to express some indignant political opinion, against their victims in particular, and against peace and security of the entire peoples of South Sudan in general. Such ODS are all over the RoSS, and innocent citizens of the RoSS, continue to suffer and die from their heinous acts whether be they in Wau, Juba or Malakal. These factual issues of tribalism and ethnicity are our curses in South Sudan. We in South Sudan, have lost the moral and intellectual capacities, to celebrate the positive glories of multiculturalism, just in the same fashions, that, other dysfunctional societies, have failed to celebrate the same, to their own detriment. Into the same abyss shall we fall, unless we refrain from following such paths?
We, in South Sudan; live in a state of nature. This is a country, and a land, whereby, the right to life; is, but, a distant remote moral echoes, of forlorn cries, of women, children, and men, trapped in make-believe modern State, saturated in fratricidal, infanticide, matricidal, and patricidal cultures; where, the silence of a grave, seems more benign, than the cruelty of life on it. We are hopeless and helpless humans, used to histories of hurts and cruelties. Is it too much to ask; or say that, what we need in South Sudan, are very stringent penal laws, regarding these kinds of crimes committed against us, by our own sons and daughters, whom we have armed to protect us, but, in their power stupor, have turned the barrels of these guns on us, and our souls are being harvested by the same guns, that we bought with our own blood, we the innocent citizens of South Sudan in Juba, Wau, and Malakal.
We also need some objective approach to such issues when they do occur in our society. It is very easy to become very emotional over such issues and begin to search for solutions to such problems within the framework of some realms outside of the legal framework and this can in many a situation result in bad developments as happened in some distant countries, such as Rwanda. One is not suggesting that, people must not be emotionally involved in such issues. Surely, the parents and relatives of these martyrs in Wau, are emotionally involved in such difficult and criminal events in which their love ones have become the innocent victims of human rights. It is also true that, some of the members of the public can become emotionally involved. However, we have to reign on our nerves and emotions when dealing with situations as in Wau so that, society can be protected from emotional reactions to such dangerous occurrences.
We have to continue to demand for criminal laws that shall protect our innocent citizens from such human savages in our society. We have to demand that, our legislative institutions ought to work hard in the process of production of legal instruments that shall allow our innocent citizens to live in peace and safety in our society without the fear and danger of murderous molestation by such criminals. One can also say that, even with such legal instruments in place, there shall continue to be some of these human criminals in circulation and we shall continue to suffer these types of hurt and harm through our beloved innocent citizens who shall continue to become victims of ODS as members of human.
I think that, whenever we are confronted by such evil acts of other human persons in our society, we need to adopt some reasonable methods of solving the problem so that we do not rekindle other dormant and volatile situations that can always lead to some social and political unrest in the country. We have to live with the fact that, in our country, we shall continue to have sick members of our society from all tribes and cultural backgrounds given the multicultural nature of our country. This is not going to be the last time such innocent and loving citizens going to suffer in the hands of criminals like the ones, the subject of this opinion. Society must now learn some approaches how to protect our innocent citizens from such people notwithstanding some legal instruments that shall be put in place for the purposes of this kind of protection of our society through our innocent citizens.
We must also learn how to use some political language for mainly political issues if we can, and we ought to be able to have such kind of ability. This is very crucial if we are not to be engaged in matches of accusations and counter accusations as regards some of the people in our society whom we think ought to have the responsibility to protect our innocent citizens from such dangerous ODS in our society. We have to recognize that, in all human societies, leaders cannot patrol all human conducts that are a result of bent morals as regards some societal members. As for these ODS in our society, there is no way we are going to eliminate them short of depriving them of their lives which is also another violation of their rights to their lives.
Our best bid is to produce legal instruments that protect our innocent citizens against such dangerous people in South Sudan. ODS are like human persons with propensities to murder others. Society does not want murderers, but it cannot kill them all because society continues to produce some new murderers, and so is the case with the ODS in South Sudan.