Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 3 January 2011

Will independent South Sudan be like Somalia?


By Zechariah Manyok Biar

January 2, 2011 — We have entered 2011 and there is strong indication that South Sudanese are going to vote for secession, starting from Sunday this week. That means we will now turn our focus on the future of South Sudan, or whatever the name of the new nation would be.

As part of the focus on the future of our new nation, the first question that I will try to answer is whether or not an independent South Sudan will be like the current Somalia. One could be tempted to dismiss the possibilities of the comparison of South Sudan with Somalia immediately, but that would be too quick a judgment. The correct answer is not yet clear even though we believe we will not be like Somalia.

South Sudan, on the one hand, will not be like Somalia if we follow the principles of democracy that brought us this far. These principles may not be what we mean as we say them, but they are the foundation of our forthcoming nation. These principles put the choice of leaders in the hands of the people. That was how the majority of the current leaders were chosen in 2010 even though some candidates contested the results.

On the other hand, South Sudan will be like Somalia if we return to the old way of doing things in Sudan. This old way of doing things is coup d’état. When leaders take power by coup, they disregard the views of citizens because citizens do not have a say in who should be their leader when leaders take power by force. They just accept what the powerful man or woman says.

Coup d’états often create chaos before the situation is brought under control. Sometimes, coup d’états create long term vacuums, resulting in lawlessness like the one in Somalia. Power vacuum that resulted in the current lawlessness in Somalia was caused by the car accident that severely injured President Siad Barre on the evening of May 23, 1986. Even though President Barre recovered within one month and resumed his reign in Somalia, the accident had unleashed a power struggle among Somalia senior army commanders, elements of the president’s Marehan clan, and related factions, bringing the country to a standstill.

The power struggle created two factions in Somalia: a constitutional faction and a clan faction. The constitutional faction was led by four army generals opposed to President Barre and the clan faction was led by President Barre’s members of his immediate family. The government was now divided into clans.

Due to the worsening conditions in the country, rebels of the United Somalia Congress (USC) led by General Mohamed Farrah Aidid attacked Mogadishu on January 26, 1991, ousting the government of President Barre. Somaliland then declared its independence in May, 1991. The clan-based war then followed, resulting in the current chaos in Somalia.

We in South Sudan can only avoid the above history if we are not power-hungry to the point of forgetting the principles of democracy that brought us this freedom.

One may argue that the current government will not lead us well in the independent South Sudan because it has many short-comings. Therefore, it should be removed immediately after secession. I agree that our current government has many short-comings, but there is no guarantee that anybody in the same government would turn South Sudan into a Paradise by usurping power. Leaders who take power by force often care less about people. They care much about themselves and their inner circles. We must be careful about their intentions.

We must understand that coup d’état is the outdated practice internationally. International community this time opposes any leader who takes power by force. The only fruit that a country under such a leader reaps is sanction, leading to weak economy and starvation. We must avoid this kind of practice if we are to keep peace and build our new nation successfully after secession. Democracy must be the only way of changing leaders in the independent South Sudan if we are to avoid Somalization in our new nation.

Zechariah Manyok Biar, BA. Edu., MACM, MSSW. He can be reached at manyok34@gmail.com

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  • 3 January 2011 10:30, by Lokorai

    Dear brother Zechariah,

    Thanks so much for this piece of work at this time; it came at a crucial time and look forward for you to write like that.

    You surely know that our major trouble is us, not the other side, and pray that our leader will put behind their differences immediately after independence and build the nation.

    Again thank you!


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    • 3 January 2011 10:34, by thieleling

      Your cowardice fears and anxieties are too theoretical. There is no evidence a coup is on the way. Why shiver prematurely?

      Please, let the real men talk after January 30, 2011. Away with cowards!! It is time for you to shut up ladies of corruptions. The moment of the truth has come. No more theories v.s evidence of corruptions anymore in south sudan after the Referendum passes successfully.

      The people of south sudan will constitute their government, and their way of life. Then, they will tell their leaders what to do. But the corrupted mentality and tribal mental attitude have to cease to avoid any confrontation before the Republic of south Sudan kicks off.

      Dude, you are definitely a bought bad onion in the south sudan. Please, don’t dirty the people of south sudan with your unfounded conspiracy theories of the so-called violence coup, prematurely!!!

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      • 3 January 2011 12:46, by Mach Achiek


        If you don’t have anything to write please better stay off. Manyok is talking about democracy, he is not promoting or defending anybody’s leadership. Beside that each and every one of us is entitle to his/her opinion. Why bark at him for no reason?. Open your brain this time kid.

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        • 5 January 2011 06:43, by Nyachebe


          In reality no one wants to see the new born nation plunging into Somalism or civil war, and for God sake is forbidden. But, it’s not about power greedy or takes over. People of South Sudan have suffered thus much and wanted to see a visible change in terms of democracy, poverty eradication, public equity share and equality in all level of government institutions. If I am not wronged, 90% of ministers and their deputies (DG) are from one tribe; and to rightfully proven my point read the link below from Sudan tribune’s about the just GoSS Presidential decree appointment. Again, 90% of the newly appointees commissioners are from the same one tribe, and what a democracy government!

          Like I said coup detete is forbidden for the God’s sake, but moving through the same path of 6 years a go can be disliked even by a small baby though he/she can’t attempt any coup detete. People of South Sudan are just demanding their natural right and that was what pushed them took their arm struggle against Khartoum. People of South Sudan can’t/ couldn’t, and will not afford another Arabinization in the future nation. To avoid Somalism in the future nation such points must be implemented:

          We need to call an earlier election with in 6-18 months right after independent in which time South Sudanese will elect whom ever, and which ever party they favoured to lead them.

          We need to ensure that power is balanced at various levels of governments.

          Corruption is totally condemned and who ever found practising must be brought to book.

          Nepotism, tribalism, and favouritism are left to devil acts.

          Whom you know kind of hiring policy is degenerated.

          Professionals and scholars are recognised and given full packages.

          Developmental projects are implemented rather falling to the hands of hand picked illiterates.

          In reverse; people of South Sudan will have no choice but to ask for a second liberation from with in South Sudan, and this is not a coup detete if that is what nightmares you Zachariah!!! It’s something a civilized person wants to have enjoyed all over the world, and I think you are among the civilized ones.


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      • 3 January 2011 19:40, by LL Reuben


        You are a freakish senseless moron. There is not much that can describe your behavior, accept that your brain is way back a century from today’s. Even your favorite term coward, I doubt if you really know its meaning.

        When the war intensified in the 90s you run to the enemy only to come when the peace was signed, and claim with straight face that you not the coward. That’s a joke man, you need a reasonable brain otherwise you will stay confused through the rest of your life.

        How can someone who endured through tough times of the war be a coward if your brain was functioning normally, you silly baboon? Obviously in your inept understanding of the society, you think when your tribe man takes over the leadership in the South everything will automatically turns perfect.

        Then what about their chaotic behaviors of the 90s? Did you take them all to see psychiatry? Or do you think Ngundeng and Wurnyang will guide them...yeah like when they turned wild against one another in the 90s killing themselves like bugs while riding on wisdom from Ngundeng and Wurnyang.

        I don’t get you people who change like weather always. Before you were saying the South will not hold itself together if it separated from the South. Today you’re telling people that you were the brave one who liberated the South. Then, how do you explain the fact that you’re still fighting within to get to the top leadership position. Doesn’t that means you were not with the South during the war? Or is it alright to reap what you didn’t sow as usual?

        For those wondering how the South will do after the separation, well look into the SPLM and the SPLA, doesn’t it looks like it is congested with naïve demagogues and awkward high ranking primitive militias. That will be the PROBLEM of the New South Sudan country period.

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        • 3 January 2011 20:08, by LL Reuben

          if the South separated from the North!

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    • 3 January 2011 10:44, by thieleling

      Thanks brother Lokorai,

      You are right. The persistent tribal mental attitude or severe selfishness of some leaders is the main problem in south sudan, dating back to 1983.

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  • 3 January 2011 13:11, by James Okuk Solomon

    Zechariah Manyok,

    It is good to theorize but let’s have the first thigs first in our hands as the best evidence to rely on. In my view you should have hold your tongue a bit until mid January 2011 when the direction of South Sudan becomes clearly known and endorsed by the international community.

    Right now all our eyes should be focused on the referendum excercise itself and whether it will really land us safely on the land of independence. By then it will be the right time to ask this rushed question of yours: Will independent South Sudan be like Somalia?

    It is not a secret that you are agonizing with your uncle, Dr. Lual Deng (Diing)the Sudan Oil Minister, about the possibility of South Sudan independence. It is also coming out that you are afraid of Dr. Riek Machar and his group (parralled government) in Southern Sudan, especially in the context of independence.

    Surely, all will come into the open later but right now the only priority worry some of us should have is whethere the 60% qorum needed to declare the secession of South Sudan will be reached, especially given the current corruption going on with the sale of a good number of refererendum card by hungry Southerners themselves, in addition to the negatives of illiterate rate during the ticking of the referendum ballot papers.

    Let’s hope for the best of the referendum results first before we wish the bad luck of Somalia to South Sudan. Let’s consider the Indian provers that saya: It is not over till it is over.

    Dr James Okuk

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    • 3 January 2011 14:12, by Genuine Leader

      Dear Mr Manyok Biar.

      I think you figured out the general picture of south Sudan current administration situation and some important points that south Sudan government suffering today and entire south Sudan facing as well.
      Before I figure out some points here.
      I would like to know from you,
      do you meant that majority leaders of south Sudan government was been elected by majority people in 2010 or do you mean majority leaders of the world been elected by majority people in 2010?. Let me know later if I mistake you or get rush in my answer.

      If you mean that’’ southerners leaders was been democratically elected by majority people or voters in last April election?

      It could be really clearly that you are totally out from south Sudan political atmosphere in particular and Sudan in general.
      because if you are Sudanese affairs concern one as I use saw some your articles, you should be satisfied by Carter center reporting about Sudanese last April election both in south and north. Or otherwise you are hiding what you know about our affairs in south Sudan and trying to run around to appease some master in Juba by omitted facts and polishing lies and transformed them into facts.
      My prism of our new state in term of democratic implementation is this.
      how could simple ordinary citizen could own free choice and express his/her own opinion in term of democratic practice? who will awareness them?, if intellectual one like you who know the betternes of democratic and educated in world number one democratic nation call USA haven’t own independent mind expression and still influence by some masters by downplaying or omitted facts and polishing lies and short-comings of Goss and transferred them into facts for any unknown reasons for preaching biases belong to Goss.
      That is my answer Mr. Bair if you mean the majority leaders of south been elected for last April election.
      concerning coup de’tat.
      I am really agree with you ,no. coup de’tat nor tribal conflicts wanted in south Sudan.

      coming to Somalia point of Barre and Aidid.
      Mr. Bair don’t distant Somalia lesson from south Sudan right now unless our leaders could issue soon comprehensive change of power greedy attitudes for entire nation south interest.
      A. I am really prism because if any Goss official working purposely and intentionally stolen nation money or of if not yet stolen planning to steal nation money, how do you think Somalia be still very far away from Juba beyond our exist imagination?
      B. what you think’ if senior member from SPLM belong to SPLM liberation council pillage the budget of repatriation that affected delay of many southerners to advent into south Sudan, do you think Somalia still very far away from us.
      B. what could you like to say or to justify facts you omitted in your rhetoric article ’’ if your master promise you that’ he will not choking you nor fired you , if all Goss officials proxies Ugandan or Kenyan and hiring foreigners to run their businesses instead of hiring sons of south Sudan land to benefit from them?.

      C. How could you justify ongoing suffering of martyrdoms, heroes and braveries families, their fathers and mothers sacrifices easily and unexpected forgotten by our Goss leaders despite thugs and cowardice enjoy today fruition of freedom they sacrifice for.
      , do you think Somalia atrocity still some kilos meters away from juba.
      what you say about nepotism in south Sudan, if some clan employed while the still in studies and some clan even not get chance even cable to fill position.
      I don’t want to mention a lot but please be realistic to situation.

      Genuine Leader, future leader war without border if’ unity expose onto spla

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  • 5 January 2011 03:17, by Bol Deng

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    This argument should not surprise us because we South Sudanese has understood ourselves for so long during the South and North Sudanese war. Additionally, when people with difference thinking capacity merge in societies,there should be more to argue ahead of our time.

    We Have witnessed these for longtime that most of our people want leadership base on their tribes or power greed in which some power greed used their own people against the progress of the nation. I and many South Sudanese knew these and this argument must be made clear other we can turn simply to Somalia coin because democracy was the one which cause the lives of our generations.

    For Thieling and Solomon Okuk, if you are not encouraging democracy in the South Sudan,then i doubt whether you will lead our country until death. This is true and you must understand this issue,better promote democracy.

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  • 5 January 2011 09:42, by Lokaku

    A coup de’tat? God forbid! What will turn South Sudan into another Somalia is tribalism, nepotism, corruption etc. that are currently being practised by the current Government. For goodness sake, can somebody tell H.E Salva Kiir that there are other tribes in South Sudan other than Dinkas? We do not want to be like another Somalia Mr. Kiir! The sham elections of April must not also be repeated in South Sudan.

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  • 5 January 2011 12:36, by Joseph Milla Simon

    Dear Zachariah,

    Your article is good as it teaches us on how to analyze and figure out the future environment that we are going to swim in.

    we all know or understand that we are about to finish with our traditional enemy soon and and kiss them bye- bye.

    While this is the greatest battle we have ever won that we will remained to talk of for the rest of our lives , we still have a lot of wars to fight. These wars includes, poverty eradication, deseases, corruption,napotism, tribalism, superiority v inferiority conflict, development, the LRA issue, tribal conflict, cattle raiding which often result to lost of lives, lack of goog governnance and many more.

    To avoid a situation like the one in Somalia, we need to transform ourselves and graduate into democrates, respect the rule of law, advocate for justice and eqaulity, respect each others property, throw corruption into dust bin, stop land grapping, respect the will of the people and etc. If we are unable to transform ourselves into these qualities, we will not be far from another Somalia in Africa.

    We should avoid running the new nations as an individual, clan,and tribal property. It should be a nation where everybody, who deserve and had shed tears or blood on it , should enjoy its fruit based on the principle of democracy, eqaulity, and freedom.

    After the referendum, and should the result confirm separation we should focused more on unifying ourselves and advance development. But if we want to manage the new nation like the way we raid each other cattle camp, goat camp or chicken camp, then we should prepare for the worse.

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  • 6 January 2011 09:36, by Padiet Deng Alony

    Thanks Wendit LL Reuben

    For those wondering how the South will do after the separation, well look into the SPLM and the SPLA, doesn’t it looks like it is congested with naïve demagogues and awkward high ranking primitive militias. That will be the PROBLEM of the New South Sudan country period.

    Reap what they didn’t sow

    Thanks LL Reuben that is exactly what is happening in the SPLA/M any way let us finish the destiny first. SPLA/M need to be compensated i mean the Mother united otherwise what they sow will be still reap by those who didn’t saw it. i stop there respecting the referendum the final destiny.

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    • 6 January 2011 09:40, by Padiet Deng Alony

      I Mean SPLA/M Mother Unit

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      • 8 January 2011 15:46, by Genuine Leader

        Dear Padiet.
        you meant spla/m mother or spla/m proper.
        Genuine Leader

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