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Sudan Tribune

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South Sudan’s police must learn from mistakes – minister

October 13, 2011 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s new Interior Minister Alison Monani Magaya said Monday that the police needed to admit what mistakes had been made the past in order to develop the force after the country’s independence in July.

“[We] are now in sovereign country responsible to protect the destiny and aspirations of the people of South Sudan”, the minister said.

“We need to know your challenges and successes since you took over as police commissioners, we need to admit that there were things that went wrong and it is time to rectify them,” Magaya told police commissioners at a workshop in Juba.

Over the six years of self rule from 2005 until independence this year many South Sudanese lost confidence in the ability of the police to protect citizens, with some believing that some police were in league with criminals and not doing enough to curb crime.

On these public negative perceptions Magaya said “whether these negative perceptions are incorrect or exaggerated, there is no doubt that things are not what they should be in the South Sudanese Police Service.”

Magaya used the two-day meeting with South Sudan’s 10 state police commissioners to announce his intention to reform the police service. Also present was Magaya’s deputy Salva Mathok Gengdit and the Deputy Inspector General of South Sudan Police Services.

Magaya thanked the police commissioners for their good attitude.

After a 22-year conflict between successive Khartoum regimes and former rebels, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), South Sudan declared its independence on July 9, 2011 a following a landmark referendum provided for in a 2005 peace agreement.

Senior officials of South Sudan Police Services (SSPS) said the two-day workshop was to brief the regional police chiefs on new strategies and also to allow them to get to know their new boss. The function also saw police commissioners presenting their security situation reports.

Many high ranking police officers and related advisors attended the workshop.

Addressing the top hierarchy of the service and regional commanders Magaya said he expected the police to provide him with answers to questions over allege corruption and the efficiency of the force as a mechanism to improve the police services.

Magaya, however, said there were still many excellent officers in the service who are prepared to lay down their lives in the service of the nation as occurred in Jonglei state during fighting in August.

The minister said the problems confronting the service were responsible for the low morale in the service leading to ineffective and inefficient service delivery.

Magaya stressed that “nothing would help the image of the service more than all of them resolving to expose the bad lots in the service and ensuring that they undergo reforms.”

Magaya stated that there is goodwill from the international community towards South Sudan but the country’s image needed to be improved through a reformed police service. Many South Sudan police officers were formally in the SPLA.

South Sudan’s president, Magaya said, had given him to “transform the police service into a professional police force. To do this, it entails plans and vision; we need to mobilise citizens to be part and parcel of these changes, nobody should be left behind.”

It is expected that once the mobilisation process is completed, an action plan shall be developed to implement the findings.

Magaya reiterated that “one person cannot accomplish all these outlined activities. It is needs collaborative efforts to transform the police service.”

Magaya’s immediate priorities to reforming police services include:

  • Reforming the structure of police organisation both at ministry level and Police Headquarters.
  • Revisiting the police act, to see to it that it is in conformity with the new dispensation of the South Sudan government.
  • Screening police manpower/human resources, review promotions looking into seniority, skills and knowledge in the police service.
  • Financial management: efficient proper system and accountability so that resources are not wasted or looted.
  • Training to the police forces, as lack of training is the cause of all the problems impeding effective police service. Permanent infrastructure needs to be established.
  • Improve the welfare of the police, any effort to move forward, it is imperative and pertinent for motivation within the police services.
  • Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), there is high need to computerise most of the activities conducted by police, special in areas of human resources and financial management.

(ST)