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Security Bill wrangle is a misconception 1-3

By Buot Manyiel Buot

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious, but it cannot survive treason from within, for the traitor appears not as a traitor explicitly, but speaks in accents familiar to citizens and wears their faces and their arguments clandestinely. They appeal to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. They rot the soul of a nation and work secretly to undermine the pillars of the nation, infecting the body politics so that it can no longer resist”. Philosopher Cicero 106-43 BC.

It is once said that media is such a powerful tool that it can make innocent guilty and guilty innocent. Media if it chooses to, can indict government institution in the court of public opinion.  The current onslaught of media propaganda towards security bill has already wrongly indicted national security institution in the court of public opinion as repressive and undemocratic.  Sudan-Tribune website is spearheading smear campaign against National Security Bill of South Sudan and is echoed by some media houses including certain civil society agencies. But I think the debate should be responsible and democratic and must be based on our laws.

To those who vehemently oppose the Bill, you are not traitors so to speak, but you hold wrong impression propelled by false believe that security bill should have been transparent and democratic in letter and spirit. However, such ignorant sentiments are motivated by wrong culture of South Sudanese- they don’t read! To better comprehend what is contained in Security law, just pause to give yourself time to read, conceptualize and understand the content of security law. You will come to realize that the security mutation is meant for the good of the nation. Furthermore, legislation of any law is not crafted out of abstract, but based on some other earlier law of similar content. When concerned stakeholders were tasked to draft the security bill, they conducted study tour to make comparative analysis of other nations’ security laws, whereupon, they picked what is relevant within the context of South Sudan. It therefore follows that the Current security bill of South Sudan was born out of such procedure. Therefore, there was no need to urge the President not to sign it into law.

Conversely, before the passage of Security Bill by National Legislative Assembly, when it was overly delayed, there were voices within public arena, including civil society agencies and some opposition figures that South Sudan will be better placed if it passes security bill into law to regulate conduct of security operatives. When the bill was passed, certain MPs raised procedural matters as the reason sufficient to invalidate the law. They also launched an initiative to discredit the bill and incite public against the government. These forces of arrogance, crusaders of propaganda, who launched staunchest negative critique of the bill, should understand that omnipotent and all-knowing mentality is long gone, when the likes of Adwok Nyaba and Lam Akol think they know everything. The two are now spearheading negative mobilization against the bill. 

On the global stage, we will come to know that France, Israeli and Russian security laws require severe punishment ranging from the death penalty or life imprisonment for treason or assistance to the “enemy,” to terms of confinement ranging from 5 to 15 years for espionage, unauthorized contact with foreign agents, aiding and abetting a crime against state security and unauthorized disclosure of information by a public servant. Interestingly though, in those Countries outlined above, there is no statute of limitations regarding unauthorized disclosure of classified information. Yet, they are good democracies and vanguard of human rights.  

The government of the Republic of South Sudan, after seriously alarmed by the atmosphere of mutual jealousy and mistrust prevalent among the political actors at the increasing cost of their awkward efforts in debate to agree on a compromise, decided to appeal to members of the public to read and analyze the contents of security law, before reaching to unwarranted conclusion. The dynamic force behind the move was to educate the public that Security Bill is reorganized attempt of the service to operate according to functions and responsibilities with explicit established mechanisms to coordinate their activities and work within legal ambit. 

As a matter of fact, the defense doctrine of our National security is inherent in our traditional strategy during liberation up to the time of independence. The Citizens, reeling from ravages of war, believe that national integrity, national unity and national sovereignty are paramount requirements of our defense and security doctrine. Our security law is based on that conviction. So, there is no need for alarm.

The ongoing media offensive against the law of our spy agency is to a certain extent a healthy political debate if it doesn’t annotate political motivations. Such debates should be measured, matured and geared towards common interest. It should not be abused. However, in order to protect its vital interest and that of the nation as a whole, the security service should consider the following course of action:  Investigate matters relating to mutual hostilities. Examine aspects of the law perceived to be controversial and make introvert flexibility. Launch discreet initiative to educate members of the public on the performance of the intelligence and security services. The service should also make special efforts to counterbalance negative propaganda through appropriate mechanism and to neutralize anti-bill activities. The idea is to curb ongoing smearing of national security agency institution.

 

To be continued in the next issue ---

The author is reachable via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or  0926829403

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