Home | Comment & Analysis    Saturday 29 June 2013

Proven wrong


By Zechariah Manyok Biar

June 29, 2013 - After the failed states report came out in June, 2013 showing South Sudan as ranking forth of the failed states, a friend whom I did not know before but knew me through my writing, sent me an e-mail with a link to the article I wrote in 2010. The article I wrote in 2010 is entitled: “Will South Sudan be a failed State?

In that article, I doubted the belief that South Sudan would be a failed state. Now that it has failed, my friend wanted to politely remind me that I was wrong in my prediction. I completely agree with him that I was wrong. But I will briefly show in this article what I based my prediction on and I will again make another prediction that could still make me wrong next year.

I based my prediction on the SPLM/A records of self-rule in the bush during the civil war. This logic is shown by this paragraph from the above motioned article as published by different media websites: “The fact that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/A (SPLM/A) managed to control Southerners during the war would have been a good indicator on how South Sudanese can rule themselves. SPLM/A was undoubtedly one of the most organized rebel groups over the last two decades. SPLM/A even had better human rights records, compared to the government in Khartoum. SPLM/A was able to educate its soldiers during the liberation war not to kill the prisoners of war (POWs). After the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, SPLM/A set free thousands of the POWs of Sudanese army. Those freed POWs are still alive today. How many POWs from SPLA did the government in Khartoum release? None.”

I strongly believed in what I said in that article and I still believe in it today, despite our current failed status. There are examples showing how SPLM/A could make people change within its ranks during the war. When the civil war started in 1983, SPLA soldiers thought that anybody captured from the enemy could be killed. They killed some POWs from the Sudan armed forces (SAF) before senior SPLM/A leaders, including the current President Salva Kiir, learned about what was taking place in front lines and started disapproving of it. The practice immediately stopped, resulting in the keeping of thousands of the Sudanese POWs who were set free after the signing of CPA in 2005.

Furthermore, after the SPLM/A split of 1991, the killing of members of tribes that were regarded as enemies by each side in the split took place. Many important people were killed in less than two months. But senior SPLM/A leaders, including the then Commander Salva Kiir, started condemning the practice within the SPLA and it stopped immediately.

The above examples show how South Sudanese can quickly change bad practices when they understand that top leaders disapprove of them. If words are combined with action today, then change for the better will be realized in all sectors of our society, pushing the country to a better position in the rating of next year. I strongly believe in this. Because of this belief, I will still make a prediction that South Sudan will move away from the Sudan in the ranking of failed states next year by at least one point.

South Sudanese are competitive people who do not like what makes them look bad. They will aim higher next year partly to show that South Sudan is better than the Sudan. But above all, they will aim higher in order to improve their images abroad.

We know that we will now all be seen as failed people regardless of individual’s achievements. Our leaders will now find it difficult to condemn bad behaviors of other countries without being reminded of the failure of South Sudan. I cannot now accuse Kenyans of pretending to be holier than us, like I did some years ago when they accused our government of being weak. I know they will prove me wrong by pointing out that Kenya is graded higher than South Sudan when it comes to failed states. There will be no way I will prove them wrong in such a statement.

If we try to take refuge in the idea that South Sudan is very young and we use China as the example by saying that even China which is more than 2000 years old still has bad records in human rights, then Kenyans are going to say that the irony of the example we have given is that what matters is not how old the country is, but its determination to change. If it is the age of the country that matters, they will argue, then human right records in China would have been better than those of the United States since the USA is less than 300 years old.

If, on the other hand, we dismiss every report like we often do without questioning the methodology used to arrive at a particular conclusion, then countries like Kenya whom we had been accusing of being the same with us will say that they are better than us because our way of reacting to issues show that we are not even able to differentiate fiction from reality.

We are aware now that it will be difficult for us to find excuses that will make us feel better or look equal to better countries that are not Somalia. Somalia which made our leaders angry in 2010 when Dr. Lam Akol compared South Sudan with it is just three points away from us now. So, we know now that we are not better than Somalia.

This reality will make our leaders work hard to move South Sudan up next year by one point, if the anger in 2010 meant we did not like to be like Somalia. They will achieve this by targeting at least two issues that make South Sudan a failed state and improve on them. I know Sudan will not do this because it is, as Dr. Garang once said, too deformed to reform. South Sudan will be deformed by choice but not because its leaders are too deformed to reform like ones in the Sudan.

I am aware that making another failed prediction will make me lose confidence of my readers. But I am not afraid to take risk again in making another prediction because I know South Sudanese are competitive people who do not like to be seen as failures. I will be surprised if we do not improve by at least one point next year.

Zechariah Manyok Biar can be reached at manyok34@gmail.com

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  • 29 June 2013 18:28, by jay b

    Good article Manyok, but you have to go one more step father. Why don’t you narrate also the dark side of not improving next year? Or doing so will make you upset with the happy one of not admitting RSS is fail state. I understand that, but believe me you are not going to lose none. And if so what you going to lose?

    repondre message

    • 29 June 2013 19:23, by panom lualbil

      Oh my God! My first time to see "go one more step father." Hey, are you telling Mr. Manyok to go to your step father? Why can’t you visited your step father yourself?

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      • 30 June 2013 09:48, by Msudi

        I think, Jay b,just made a grammatical mistake. What I deduced from his statement " go one more step father" should be go one more step farther.

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      • 30 June 2013 12:25, by jay b

        You got me panom but it was typo error. It was mean farther instead father, so excuse me.

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    • 30 June 2013 22:06, by jay b

      Good article Manyok, but you have to go one more step farther. Why don’t you narrate also the dark side of not improving next year? Or doing so will make you upset with the happy one of not admitting RSS is fail state. I understand that, but believe me you are not going to lose none. And if so what you going to lose?

      repondre message

      • 1 July 2013 07:58, by Mi diit

        Or South Sudan may instead go at least one step backward next year if the indicators that make it a failed state in the fourth position are not addressed. And I don’t think they will be addressed as we go for 2015 elections. Human rights abuses and corruption may increase as some big guys may want to secure their positions by any means.

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    • 1 July 2013 11:54, by Ambago

      Dear Manyok
      When talking about failed states ……..they mean real states and as such you cannot base your prediction on the SPLM/A records of self-rule in the bush. Bush governance with all records of Human Rights Abuses, isn’t really a thing to boast of.

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  • 29 June 2013 23:03, by panom lualbil

    First, not only I always love your article, you’re also a decent n intelligent person. I know you n I would like if you do it so. You were never ever wrong. S Sudan was recently called a "Failed State" due to excessive rebellion of militias backed by Khartoum. Certain fellows amongst are Omar Bashir deserves respect than. Bcoz Omar killed spla with guns of which I called self-defend.

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    • 29 June 2013 23:21, by panom lualbil

      You cant tell, Omar has proposed south to split peacefully. Although of pow, he saved lives of millions southerners whom he recently ordered to leave. Failure is with us. Election to come is now seemed to be scenarios of war, but with who? I don’t mean to evoke you but things always. In other countries, if u failed ur chance then the next will go to other.

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  • 30 June 2013 02:28, by Akol Liai Mager

    Thank you Mr Manyok for writing yet another Brilliant Article. The article is so rich of examples and advices and I particularly like this phrase; " then Kenyans are going to say that the irony of the example we have given is that what matters is not how old the country is, but its determination to change". South Sudanese must be proud of you as I do Mr Manyok.

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    • 30 June 2013 02:40, by Akol Liai Mager

      Just wanted to point 2 out of ten areas that our fellow citizens and leaders alike need to change in order for our country to move even more points on the next year list of Failed States. The first area that I want to see change at is Gun Control that include National Parliament imposing tougher laws against unauthorised usage of guns, heavy penalties such as live imprisonment.....

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      • 30 June 2013 02:51, by Akol Liai Mager

        and setting up of a National Awareness Programs to educate youth to respect or make to respect laws of the land. The 2nd area is the management of both local and national funds revenues. I would like to see that sources of raising/revenues are not over looked or misused. Example, Foreign nationals should use South Sudan Bank to transfer their money home instead of their own countries Banks that...

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        • 30 June 2013 03:01, by Akol Liai Mager

          are existed in South Sudan.Taxes paid by these Foreign Banks to South Sudan National Revenue do not include daily transfer of thousands if not millions of pounds out of the country. This would be a good revenue raiser if regulated and managed properly. It’s the human and food securities that place a country on the list of successful States and I think Mr Manyok’s article is advocating for that.

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          • 30 June 2013 09:17, by Tutbol

            >>> He is just a serf BBC who thinks he knows anything. Don’t blame him though, he wants to be the likes the jews that have been corrupting other peoples with their evils ways. our people have been entranced to be believe the jews, with their partisan evil media they usurped, but they are the greatest monsters on earth. they claimed to be the God’s people, they are evil people.

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            • 30 June 2013 12:41, by Tutbol

              It would better for our people to just learn english and not what the peoples behind the language stand for. I am not saying that people who speak english are all evils, But the media like BBC and other jews run media houses are very much evils; they don’t work for the public interests, but for their corporate houses. They are use to chanel the public opinions to where they would want to rob>>>

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              • 30 June 2013 12:56, by Tutbol

                When they are critized, they would come up with their shameless propaganda machine to traduce the ones who critized them. l wonder when self promoted journalists like Manyok will take their journalist’s prowess to the corridors of Whithall or the Whitehouse? But i am sure, they will be laugh at by guards before they can interview anyone. This idea of letting kowtowing the likes>>>

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                • 30 June 2013 13:06, by Tutbol

                  >>> of these corrupt media house to influence our peoples governance is a big no brainer.

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                  • 1 July 2013 07:38, by Nyesi Ta

                    Twisted journalism which amounts to cham (nyesu), period. This are the type journalists African leaders want.

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