President Kiir directs new army chief to unify forces, stop desertions
South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Monday tasked the new army chief to reorganize the SSPDF into a unified national army and find out why soldiers are deserting their posts and deployments.
Speaking during the swearing-in of the newly appointed officials, Kiir said that security is paramount for peace to hold across the country and asked the new security chiefs to ensure stability in the country.
“To my two Generals, (Gen.) Santino Wol, you have been brought into this position, and this is a big position among all your peers, because if there is no security, no army, then there is no nation,” President Kiir said. “So, Santino you have to find out what is fragmenting the army. Find it out. You people bring me a big parade and demand money, this is greed for money.”
Kiir added, “When we were fighting the Arabs, there was something called a foot parade. When you would ask commanders about the foot parade, they would send you a good list saying they have an army, but when the enemy would attack, they would be the first to call for reinforcement.”
During the same function, First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, asked the new appointees to read and internalize the peace agreement and the constitution.
“My advice to all of you is that if you have not been grounded in the two books, the constitution and the peace agreement, please go through them because the mistakes which get committed is a lack of looking at these two books. For the Generals, the third is the laws that established that institution-whether the SSPDF or National Security. They will guide you.”
The newly appointed minister of presidential affairs, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, speaking on behalf of the newly appointed officials, said they will work for the president and on behalf of the people of South Sudan.
“I take seriously the statement of my colleague, Hon. Martin (Elia), that as servants of the government under your leadership, we work for the president on behalf and for the good of the people of the Republic of South Sudan which we have promised today before you,” Dr. Marial said.
Cabinet Affairs Minister, Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro, said since the formation of the transitional government, this is the third minister in the office of the president.
“Mr. President, since the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity was constituted, it is barely one year and two months now and in the period you are not happy and have changed ministers in the presidency, this is the third minister,” Minister Lomuro said.
He said it is a very serious indication of the president’s discomfort and advised his colleague that, “this office needs a lot of stability because a lot of changes have occurred. You see all of us must work for the president and with the president. There is only one president and if he is not happy there will be changes.”
Lomuro concluded by saying the newly appointed officials must work to regain the confidence of the international community and the people of South Sudan.