By Junior William Deng
August 11, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — In twentieth century, Southern Sudanese were one people who were not capable of revolution, it couldn’t be fathomed very well by our local peasants what a revolution is but down the line colonization and its consequences of partitioning and scrambling for the great African continent, swift strategies such as Christian missionaries, forceful occupation and collaboration of colonizers with African tribal leaders welcomed the beginning of African Morning.
As we were busy learning hard in our huts, local markets and in herd camps, Western Continents particularly Russia was consumed by reign of terror forcing elites to opt for war and liberalization. This reason informed Russians to wage war against their local leadership of Emperor Nicolai II- the Tzarists and the Germans. On September 1917 one Vladimir Lenin, a Russian revolutionary leader wrote: “there is only one way to prevent the restoration of the police state, and that is to create a peoples’ militia.” His letter got heeded and a Council of People’s Commissars was formed on January 28, 1918, unfamiliar and a new arrival into bolshevism comrade Leon Trotsky was made the commander of the Red Army. Lenin and other comrades called for mass joining of diverse people to the Red Army who eventually ascended to victory.
The Kremlin victory became an epitome of many revolutions later in the world. As we read the beginning of the Red Army, we deserve to know a few about the RED T-SHIRT CONSCRIPTS in Juba. This is where our revolution took off from, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) revolutionary armed struggle May 16, 1983. Some of the war principles applied by Russian leaders were immediately became part of our revolutionary principles; for instance, the principle of collectivization of adults, children and material resources for war. Many comrades left their homes and gave up everything in their possession for NEW SUDAN- the living ideology that still is, has got South Sudan today though incomplete. So in 1986 all units of the Movement got communication from our revolutionary Chairman Dr. John Garang to collect children of about 9 years old and above; many children were collected from Bhar El gazal and Upper Nile, as many as 25, 0000 aided to travel by zonal commanders: comrades Daniel Awet Akot, Kuol Manyang Juk and Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon. There were other zonal commanders who were tasked to mobilize and collect children but history did not put them in the category.
Since the beginning of inflow of conscripts or recruits, there were many young comrades in Koryom, Muormuor Kazuk and Zalzal, among them 629 individuals were sent to CUBA for politico-military leadership training, all together got initiated with this famous name-RED ARMY. Cuba project paid off with great dividends. In cognizant of the letter of comrade Lenin, among those who went to Cuba came back to join the rank and files of the Movement, they replaced old commanders and commanded the Movement until 2005 when we attained Madaraka (Self-rule) from our historical master and enemy. The Red Army fought very hard alongside its leaders and fought the last Jallaba out of South Sudan, something the Russian Red Army did when they drove out the last white Army in Russia and Nazi’s Germany Forces. Those who were extremely young Dikidik and Marekrek dispersed in disarray in 1991 when the SPLM/A revolutionary friend and patron comrade Mangistu Hailmariem got removed by a new revolution of comrade Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. Many among them went to Kenya and others remained in New Sudan, however, their suffering was no more when some of them were resettled in America.
As I could remember, Red Army would be the leaders of South Sudan today as proclaimed by their revolutionary convictions and the anointment by the leadership other than being tossed around and groomed into a mobile enterprise of bourgeoisie and kleptocracy rule in Juba. The remnants of the Red Army founded Red Army Foundation in Juba 3 years ago and the purpose was only to create a charity organization christened to champion for the welfare of the Red Army war veterans, their widows, children, disabled and the entire nation, in general incredibility, it is largely turned into a business enterprise and political wheel-borrow by its leadership and Juba regime.
The leadership has left the ideals for its formation and began to engage in solitary lifestyle doing rent-seeking with Juba regime. Their pursuit for the wellbeing of veterans through writing of projects, building rehabilitation centers, and lobbying for grants from International Community has waned weirdly and today many veterans, orphans and the general public they fought for are suffering under the hands of their fellow revolutionary comrades. The Foundation has not been received well by its members who believe a lot need to be done and doing that needs visionary group among them, those who cannot be swayed or rented by acrimonious leadership of Juba based dictators. There are many wounded heroes and heroines of the Red Army loitering and marauding on the streets of all cities in South Sudan, some of them are sick and need help, widows of their fellow comrades spend nights queuing for dollar in humid nights and more unacceptable is that some of these widows are doing transactional sex for survival, many of them are abused, exploited and beaten something contrary to what killed their heroes.
The Red Army Foundation irresponsibility is daunting though it is expected to be helping in nation building particularly governance issues. The leaders and the entire Foundation should be providing internal and external checks to the government on issues of good leadership such as accountability, economics and security. There are members of the revolutionary Red Army in various institutions of government who can provide good leadership; for instance, in National Legislature and Judiciary. It has got members of parliament who would be milestone in achieving democratic governance but many of them are submersed in the ocean of executive political violence. They are responsible for not directing the country into the right direction, some of them runs their duties behind the scene for fear of being vocal. It is in parliament where national vision is written and put into work by various institutions but the lack of the repertoire to do it is mindboggling.
Accountability both political and financial is not in their school of thoughts because many among the Red Army are enhancing corruption, they are the conduits for loot plans designed by their bosses. The nature of stealing from public coffers in South Sudan is the highest in the Great Lakes Region which has dwarfed national growth which is also a causal factor in the current conflict; the Red Army Foundation should have been doing accountability or carry out campaign and public awareness about the bad and dangers of public stealing instead of looking for commercial benefits from the ruling elites. There is evidence implicating its leadership that recent works of the Red Army Foundation is farfetched from the norms or ideals of the revolutionary Red Army or that of the Red Army Foundation.
The Red Army has a duty to protect and responsibility to recognize the importance of independence but it is not the case. Many among them allowed their tribes to prevail over their conscience of protection and recognition of the independence. They have forgotten their mass collectivization was premised on the reality of bringing the independence to every citizen of South Sudan something they would enjoy but cannot as a generation. Many have joined Riek’s rebellion and many have remained and chose the dictatorship but many among them are killed every day by unknown gunmen or ambushed on their trips by hungry and poverty ridden angry bandits. It is impregnable citadel to understand why they have lost glory of being national seeds, heirs and heiress of the country. All these happened because the Red Army Foundation has lost its vision and direction as Bible professed, where there is no vision people perish!
Every good thing the Red Army Foundation intended to do is watered down by being mechanical in the pursuit of wealth and economic redemption. They mobilized many young women and men to celebrate nothing on July 29. 2015 every year. The celebration went as usual; nothing new apart from flattering Gen. Malong Awan and many December 16, 2013 heroes. Another danger of this Foundation is the fact that, they complement the horrors of Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) – regime machinery for annihilation and a “Tribal Think Tank” (TTT) on the national governance and peace process in Addis Ababa.
They protested the Proposed Compromise Peace Agreement echoing the letter of Jieng Council of Elders; the bad aspect of this protest is that, they should have given an alternative to the peace other than noising and copying their comrades in war, their nags in co-leadership with Jieng Council of Elders and failure to provide alternative in this crisis make them more or less dangerous than all the tribal councils. Recently in Bor, members of the Red Army Foundation organized and forced people to attend a rally attended by many political brokers dubbed as “Rejecting proposed Compromise Agreement”. The Red T-Shirt crusaders do not represent the best interest of the revolutionary Red Army or that of the Red Army Foundation. The Red T-Shirts are bad symbols; they reflect dangers of the same organization, it is not desired that innocent citizens wear those T-shirts and promote business enterprise guised in the Foundation. The benefits of this enterprise are personal and only enhance disservice to the Nation. Big no for the Red T-shirt Crusaders, they are not the Seeds of the Nation, rather they are the seeds of discords. They need more conditions for germination; otherwise we may risk developing a wolf in a sheep skin.
In conclusion, the Red Army Foundation, the revolutionary Red Army or the objectives of the foundation remain in place. The problem is the leadership; ways and strategies in place don’t reflect the holy purpose for which the organization was formed. I saw that leadership has crossed its border with political institutions and the desire of “let us get rich” has underwhelmed it prosperity. This leadership malaise may lead to nationwide protest against the Red Army Foundation. Should dissension continues, a necessary change is evolutionary!
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org