April 26, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — In a letter written to Dr. Riek Machar Teny, South Sudan’s First Vice President, Chairman and Commander in Chief of the armed opposition faction, SPLM/SPLA in Opposition, a senior politician cites serial concerns of Tribal Dominance in the main armed opposition army.
Dr. Oyet Nathaniel Pierino, a former University Lecturer, SPLM/A-IO representative to the National Constitution Amendment Committee (NCAC) and a former governor under the SPLM/A(IO) 21 states, cites tribal dominance within the armed faction and wants the chairman to respond accordingly.
“Two (2) months ago, you sent Lt. Gen. Dheiling Kheah, the Director of Military Intelligence of SPLA-(IO) to National Police Service Rajaf Training Centre to prepare the Service personnel for possible unification.” Reads Dr. Oyet’s concerns letter in parts.
“I raised with your Excellency reports and concerns of deliberate demotion of confirmed ranks of officers from Sectors Eight (8) and Nine (9) of Eastern and Central Equatoria Command respectively and up to date, there is no any remedial action taken to address the matter.” Hon. Oyet continued.
According to Hon. Oyet, demotion from training centre of officers ranks as high as colonel to NCOs and men have caused serious disturbances and commotions.
In addition to demotion of officers, Oyet also raised concerns of assigning officers from other regions, especially from the Upper Nile and mostly from Machar’s ethnic Nuer tribe, over the local forces in Equatorian region.
“Moreover, assignments of other officers, NCOs and Men particularly from other Sectors of Upper Nile region over these forces further worsen the matter.” Oyet said.
Tribal Dominance in the Military
Another issue of importance concern Dr. Oyet would like to be addressed is the issue of tribal dominance in the top ranks and files of the SPLM/A-IO army;
The Nuer soldiers form the dominance majority in the army of the SPLM/A(IO), and initially of South Sudan until December 2013 when President Salva Kiir introduced his tribal militias, “Mathianganyoor”, to replace the national army; however, Dr. Oyet believes that their representation in the top ranks and files of the SPLM/A-IO is out of proportion which he estimates to be over 90%
“Secondly, pursuant to requirement of the Agreement (Article. 2.3.), pertaining the necessary unified forces of the Military; the Police, the National Security, Prison, Wildlife and the Fire Brigade Services, I am raising another point of critical concerns regarding the current composition of SPLA-(IO) Command Council and Structures namely” Hon. Oyet said.
“Chief of General Staffs (Nuer), Deputy Chief of General Staffs for Administration (Nuer*), Deputy Chief of General Staffs for Operation (Nuer), Deputy Chief of General Staffs for Logistic (Nuer), Deputy Chief of General Staffs for Training (Equatoria), Deputy Chief of General Staffs for Moral Orientation (*), Director of Military Intelligence (Nuer), Director of National Security Services (Nuer), Inspector General of Police (IGP) (Nuer), Director of SPLA-(IO) for Logistics (Nuer), Director of Prison (Nuer), Director of Custom (Nuer), and down to ranks and files. Etc.” He continued.
“Your Excellency, the Command Council of the SPLA-(IO) is comprised over 90% one nationality as indicated.” He further stated.
According to Hon. Oyet, this means the outcome of Security Arrangements for Necessary Unified Forces of military, police, national security, prisons, wildlife and fire Brigade services shall be composed as such at the top and possibly down the ranks and files.
“This is a cause of alarm as it is inconsistent with the text and spirit of the Agreement and the relevant laws regarding diversity, inclusiveness and national representation.” Oyet continues.
The Strategic Defense and Security Review (SDSR) mechanism is already working on a White Paper for reforms of the security sector as per the Agreement which shall inter alia ensure the national character of South Sudan in the armed forces.
Dr. Oyet calls on Machar to act upon his request despite attempts to frustrate efforts that are meant to resolve such matters.
“While I am aware of attempts to silence and frustrate these concerns, I appeal to you Excellency to treat this matter with due considerations and accord the attention it deserves.” He concludes.