Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 25 May 2012

Is the shoot to kill order of interior ministry effective?


By Deng Zachariah Chol

May 24, 2012 — Back in the days of liberation struggle orders from above were no jokes. Not anybody would dare to ask what above means or who was issuing such strong instructions that are not subject to any question. All said in the name of above was implemented regardless of any reservations some people might hold against particular decision. The field commanders known at the time as independent area commanders had the final say on anything in areas under their direct command.

Came the period of comprehensive peace agreement during which some of the former area commander found themselves in the seemingly civil-military administration system. The six years of interim period a mix of military and civil administration. No boundaries have been drawn such that rule of law and democracy takes the lead instead rule of guns remains enforced.

While most people appear uncomfortable with rule of guns and advocate for rule of law, little seems to be taking effect, leaving most people in limbo. Those do not want to be seen as sabotaging peace and stability reluctantly decided to protest in a dignified silence while those who appears as “hard headed” people and wants to talk about rights have seen themselves thrown behind bars number of times and warned to keep quiet once released, myself being example.

However, with rule of guns replacing the rule of law the situation continues to deteriorate with senior government official coming out openly to complain about development in the town. Security situation is bad with recent headlines in the newspapers reminding us that violent crime is alarmingly on the increase in the country. Murder, rape and robberies have crept into suburbia and even small villages in the country.

In the past, incidents of crime in the country were mainly sporadic theft cases. But recently, there has been a gruesome shift to more dreadful and horrible crimes. No one has to be reminded of the tragic criminal cases of recent. Interestingly, the vast majority of these crimes are perpetrated by foreigners who abuse our hospitality. The officers and personnel of our security services should of course be commended for their hard work and devotion to the protection of civilians. They are keeping us safe.

However, the sharp upsurge in crime and criminality and the presence of a catalogue of violent criminal cases in the courts is a cause for concern. The shoot to kill’ launched by the ministry of interior in collaboration with the National Security Council with a view to put an end to crime and criminality in the country is a fundamental development. Its significance cannot be overemphasised; as this country yearns for peace and we must on no account allow undesirable elements to jeopardize the peace and stability we have been enjoying for long.

The message that the launching of ‘the shoot to kill sends a clear message if you have been looking for a place in South Sudan to export your criminal enterprise, the knot is so tight now that this country is increasingly becoming impenetrable. However, for ‘shoot to kill’ to succeed, those who are tasked to direct the activities of the operation have to execute their functions as envisaged by the president; the general public is also a fundamental stakeholder. How effective is the order needs to be seen since it has been said, time and again, that enhancement of public safety is the responsibility of every member of society.

It is not restricted to uniformed men, nor is it restricted to the armed security man at his night guard post. It is obvious that we will be bound to remain at the mercy of the eventual consequences of this shift if we do not put our houses in order. And this is all the more reason why the government is not relenting in its resolve to contain criminal activities in the country. In fact, the authorities have not been found wanting anyhow, as they spare not even a moment in safeguarding the security of the citizenry. This is manifested in the current wave of arrests of alleged criminals by security forces, which brings to light the reinforced effort in the general crusade against crime in the country.

What is required from the general public is give as much information on crime and criminality as possible. We should stop harbouring criminality in our own backyards and expose criminals and their nefarious activities with alacrity. In addition, South Sudanese and non-citizens alike must know that the constitution is the supreme document of our country. It has set down principles by which we should conduct ourselves. Therefore, any person or group of people who put themselves above these principles are performing acts of criminality and will be punished.

Deng Zachariah Chol is an independent writer. He lives in Juba and writes extensively on peace and security matters. He holds master degree in peace and conflict resolution from Kampala International University. He can be reached at dzaki123@yahoo.com

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  • 25 May 2012 19:19, by Tribe

    Deng Zachariah,
    Was it a justifiable act to shoot and kill an innocent Kenyan lady( a teacher at John Garang High)for the reason that her cafe driver did not hear the whistle that signal the lowering of a flag? answer that and i will clearly see your position.

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