By Mabior Philip www.borglobe.com
(Borglobe).... - JubaMembers of the semi-independent Legislative Assembly yesterday noted with utmost concern that the pay-scale of soldiers was grossly not equivalent to the duty with which they are charged, that referendum funding should elevate the payment of the army.
Construction of security roads was cited as one of the leading aids for the army and Southern Sudan organized forces, to efficiently provide security during the vote.
“It is disturbing that whatever the SPLA receives does not equate to any grades of the Public Service”, Twich East representative Deng Dau Deng said.
The members noted that if the National Congress Party delays or denies the referendum for the people of Southern Sudan in January 2011, the House will have to decide the fate of the southerners with the defense of the army.
“But how do we ensure that this particular army will help during the referendum”, said Deng, former Chairperson of the War and Veterans’ commission. “The assembly should establish a committee to set up a structure if we are to have an army that will protect the referendum”.
The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning David Deng Athorbei, asked the assembly to approve about 319,546,000 Pounds for the SPLA and in the Supplementary budget 2010, but MPs insisted on knowing soldiers get the little they deserve in time.
“If we don’t know that the salary of the SPLA is on regular basis, how do we ensure this army will ensure security of the people”, Abiemnhom representative said. “If there is an abrupt outbreak of war, then it would be very difficult”.
The army officially said most of their services were lacking, but they had hoped a new budget would elevate the pay structure. “It is true we don’t have allowances but we hope with the new budget we will have allowances”, Kuol Deim Kuol, the military spokesperson, told a press briefing last month.
The Undersecretary in the Ministry of Veterans and SPLA Affairs, where the army policies are made, had told a press briefing that the army was less paid because of limited resources. “We always try to balance between what we have and our forces”, he said. “The Ministry isn’t denying anything to the SPLA; we are always asking the and the Commander-in-Chief”.
MPs pointed at why the army pay was not compartible with public service grades. “If you see a watchman in civil authority and you compare, there is a big difference and this watchman would run away if it is a serious thing and the soldiers sacrifice their blood”, Martha Akuany noted.
However, some soldiers after the deliberation confided to Borglobe that some of them were not getting the already assigned monthly salaries. “The problem is that there continues to be no payment of this small amount”, a soldier whose name is with-held on request said.
“They told us since September to wait for deployment and the accountants have powers not to pay until the deployment”.
Southern Sudan is four months away from a sensitive vote that will possibly separate from the dominantly Islamic north.
The SPLM threatens that should her peace party renege on conducting the referendum, the southern Sudan Legislatively assembly may be forced to declare independence unilaterally.