I have been contemplating asking this question to those who follow closely the current insecurities in Southern Sudan since the end of the referendum, February 2011. Many of the generals (George Athor, David Yao Yao, Peter Gadet etc) that fought during the war of liberation have now opted on fighting the government in Juba, Southern Sudan, acusing it of lack of transparency, corruption, nepotism, graft and tribalism, just to name few. Some have rebelled before the referendum and some have opted to defect or rebel, citing all the issues or concerns mentioned above, to augment their case for revolution.
Can their claims of protecting democracy be supported by the approach that they are taking–of fighting in the bush or instead in the corridors of power that they once were a part off? Do these war lords have a case or moral ground to fight for democracy since these same leaders have not been keen at practicing the same ideals that they have chosen to fight for?
Questions are many and at times when we see these war lords/generals, recycle or rebrand themselves for the sake of wealth, at every turn of events, then ordinary citizens begin to question to motive for the long struggle for freedom. These same leaders have fought in the trenches in favour of the regimes in Khartoum and when the tide changed in 2005, with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, many have opted to join the SPLM for the sole purpose of being at the forefront of aquiring wealth or fame at the expense of the majority of South Sudanese who have suffered during the struggle and continue to struggle.
So, the question that I am posing to the world today is this: can we still call these war lords that are playing fast with the lives of many of our people for the sake of their selfish needs be called generals or just militia leaders or war lords? My rationale for arguing that they should be called war lords is that they have tarnished every meaning attached to the name general. A general in real sense is assigned to someone who has mastered not only the discipline and the art of war, but also the morals of fighting a just war, based on the integrity of the rank and not just the politics of the rank. Also, the integrity of the rank is not a momentary discipline, no matter how agrieved the situation might have been or is.