Launch of new DDR programme calls for renewed debate on ensuring security in South Sudan
Following decades of civil war South Sudan achieved independence from Sudan in mid-2011 as the culmination of a long peace process. Both the Government of South Sudan and international donors consider a successful Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) program a prerequisite for successful stabilization, peace and development in Africa’s newest nation state. In spite of the challenges encountered during the first phase of DDR (2005-2012) and the meagre results achieved, a second phase DDR for some 150,000 personnel is now to start the 15th of April. It calls for an evaluation of past experiences and the prospects for a successful DDR program in the future.
This report written by Jairo Munive explores the DDR programme in South Sudan 2005-2012; in particular how it has evolved, what the major challenges have been to its implementation and, finally, what can realistically be expected from renewed efforts to disarm and reintegrate fighters vis-à-vis security imperatives on the ground.
The basic argument presented is that standard DDR programmes – or rather the conventional peace and security templates that characterise them – are not fit for purpose in a context like South Sudan. This is so because achieving security in the country goes beyond DDR and is not related to the ‘rightsizing’of the South Sudanese Armed Forces/ Sudan People’s Liberation Army nor to the ‘reintegration’ of combatants. Rather, as the report argues, it will depend on a serious engagement with the following twofold task: firstly, to comprehend and eventually change the basic structures and mechanisms of armed mobilisation prevalent in South Sudan and, secondly, to understand and adapt security sector reform to a political environment that is constructed in terms of potential for violence and threats of destabilisation.