Report: South Sudan Police Service (SSPS) plagued by tribalism, lacks professionalism
JUBA – A new report reveals systemic tribal favoritism and a lack of professionalism in appointments, promotions, and deployments within the South Sudan Police Service (SSPS).
According to the report, from 2005 to the present, SSPS Inspector Generals of Police (IGPs) and their deputies have been appointed largely based on tribal affiliation and relationships with the president, vice president, or former IGPs – not on merit, qualifications, or experience.
“The majority of competent and experienced police officers are denied promotions, demoted, or forced into retirement and placed in the non-active list,” the report says.
Since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, members of the Dinka ethnic group have dominated IGP and senior police positions in most states, with Nuer members typically serving as deputies in what the report calls a “tribal police force.”
The report exposes the SSPS of sidelining qualified non-Dinka/Nuer officers trained in Sudan and lacking professionalism and capacity to protect public safety sustainably.
“The SSPS has earned the reputation of being a ‘tribal police force’ devoid of professionalism and expertise in policing,” it states.
Meanwhile, the president has broad constitutional powers to appoint unqualified, inexperienced officers to key posts. The planned 2024 elections will purportedly see the tribal police intimidate voters and conceal irregularities to keep the incumbent in power.
The Dinka group overwhelmingly dominates the army, police, national security and other organised forces to further their tribal agenda
Limiting presidential powers and decentralizing the police under states and counties could improve professionalism and accountability, the report recommends.
The report aligns with frequent criticism by the National Salvation Front (NAS) of the tribal domination in South Sudan’s security bodies.
“The Dinka group overwhelmingly dominates the army, police, national security and other organised forces to further their tribal agenda,” said NAS spokesperson Suba Samuel recently.
“Professionalism and true national representation in our security institutions is essential,” he added.
The report profiles all seven IGPs and deputies from 2005 onward, showing disproportional Dinka and Nuer representation in leadership positions.