Home | Comment & Analysis    Tuesday 23 April 2013

Breaking the silence

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By Zechariah Manyok Biar

April 22, 2013 - I have been out of writing for sometimes now, if some of you might have observed this. I wanted to see if flattery praising of leaders or tribes was going to make things better. This is because I was falsely accused of being tribalist earlier this year when I wrote an article addressing Ateny Wek’s concerns. Not being tribalist, according to some people, is when one does not point out vices from any tribe. I do not buy that. I have been criticizing all tribes, including my own when it killed Kuku children while fighting against armed Mundari youth in October, 2009.

I believe in the importance of any tribe and its people. Misusing power against any citizen or a community is something I have never supported and will never support. It does not matter whether the tribe misusing power is mine or not.

I criticize leaders as individuals too. Fairness is what I believe as true means to meaningful unity among our people. Some kind of looking back could be the starting point of my resumption of writing.

Those who claimed to love unity of our people more than I do have not lived up to that claim over the last few months. Now I am coming back to writing because I have observed that what forced me into writing in the year 2008 is being revived.

Before 2008, comments under articles were mainly tribal based comments. The writers who were leading by then included the Late Isaiah Abraham who hated tribalism, Dr. Justin Ambago, and the then PhD candidate James Okuk Solomon. These writers were supporters of different ideologies or politicians. Dr. Justin Ambago was a supporter of the separation of South Sudan from North Sudan, Dr. Okuk was the supporter of the SPLM when Dr. Lam Akol was still the Minister of Foreign Affairs on SPLM ticket, and Isaiah Abraham was a supporter of Vice President Dr. Riek Machar. Those who used to comment under the articles of the above mentioned writers were supporters of their respective tribes.

I came on to the writing stage and became the advocate for objectivity. In my writing, I started criticizing politicians who were not performing well and giving credits to leaders who were performing well. I also started the writing in which a writer criticizes a policy but provides suggestions for potential solutions.

In 2009, the tribal based politics increased and Dr. Okuk changed from supporting the SPLM to supporting Dr. Lam Akol when Lam got into problem with the SPLM party.

I decided to go against Dr. Okuk and Isaiah Abraham because of what I regarded as their lack of objective writing. I disagreed with Isaiah for singling Dr. Machar out of Presidency and praising him as the best. I argued that nothing showed that Machar was better than Kiir. I used the same argument against Okuk’s claims about Dr. Lam.

Isaiah Abraham agreed with me towards the end of 2010 and started criticizing President Kiir and Dr. Machar together. He became even more objective than me towards the end of his life in 2012.

Dr. Machar immediately responded by taking up the responsibilities that became his crime this year when he was seen as taking powers not belonging to him. He started filling the gap where President Kiir was silent. He started even to respond to invitations from any group of civil society. For example, we as the Red Army organized our first celebration in July, 2011 after the independence of South Sudan and invited President Kiir. He never responded. Dr. Machar was to close training of another civil society group. When the President could not show up as the guest of honor for the major Red Army group, we hijacked Dr. Machar and he accepted, letting Hon. Gier Chuang replace him for the original group which was smaller than the Red Army group.

Issues like the above started changing some people’s views about the President and his commitment to people he is leading. If he could ignore the Red Army which its history is tied to the SPLM, which group could he respond to?

Not only this, whenever there was a heavy loss of citizens’ lives President Kiir would not issue any public statement and Dr. Machar would jump into the issue by both issuing the statement and visiting the scene of the killing. He would gather different civil society groups and urging them to play their part. He would preside over any important strategic plan for the improvement of service delivery. He even apologized to Bor community for what happened in 1991.

Dr. Machar was doing all these because we in the media had been criticizing him of being incompetent together with the President. Dr. Machar’s changes showed some of us that he could respond to people’s concerns.

Unfortunately, the President and his advisors took things for granted. They took people’s loyalty to SPLM as a party as loyalty to the President as a person. They also thought silence of the President on many issues was a good thing.

Flattery praises for the President became the main focus to the point the public was often forced to go and line up by the road whenever the President was returning from abroad. Focus on service delivery became secondary to personal glorification.

Those of us who were diehard supporters of the President became disappointed when the competency gap between the President and his Vice President became clear. A person like me who understood clearly that Dr. Machar became better because of public criticism started criticizing the system and the President in an attempt to let him revise his administrative focus. Nothing changed.

Isaiah Abraham at this point had moved from supporting Dr. Machar to criticizing the system, especially the diplomatic weaknesses of the country. My writing became rare because of my busy schedules at my work place. But whenever I wrote something, I found myself being critical of the system because I felt guilty to pretend that things were going well when I knew they were not.

Other writers like Ateny Wek Ateny and Dr. Luka Biong had come on board. Nhial Bol who had been writing for awhile never gave up his one-sided criticism of the system in his newspaper. The situation became tense, especially when corruption scandals surfaced.

Those who were closer to President Kiir started intimidating critics of the government. They went as far as trying to silent churches from preaching against vices in the government. I was not impressed by this approach. My criticism for the government stepped up. The killing of Isaiah Abraham made things worst. Those who were blind supporters of the President kept on diverting messages from what they meant to what they thought they should mean. They thought media could be silenced.

See what happened since the killing of Isaiah Abraham. Many hardliners who had ceased writing because they hoped our writing was going to correct the government have now resumed writing. Right now, South Sudanese have gone back to the way they used to comment between 2006 and 2009. Their comments are now tribally based and they do not give any credit to any government official. They have started using violent language. What is the cause of all this? It is the lack of understanding of what it means to lead.

In my writing, I believe I had been giving credit where it due, even though I was falsely accused of tribalism. I have now decided to break my silence to try again to bring back objectivity to writing, though it could be difficult this time.

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



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    • 23 April 2013 07:09, by Mi diit

      Manyok,
      Welcome on board again. I thought you were successfully scared by Kiir’s guys after the killing of Isaiah Abraham. That was a real intimidation nobody would blame of succumbing to for a while. If you really believe that you are fair in evaluating competencies of leaders, just keep writing because others will understand you. But not just for the sake of criticizing the system or leaders.

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    • 23 April 2013 16:32, by Nyachebe

      It’s what I have been telling people that Kiir will loot the first revue of oil in the name of debt. Now, the guanine question is: Did Mr. President and his clique had made public aware of the said debt being borrowed for sustaining the economics of the nation during the shutdown period? Answer is Big No. All Kiir is trying to do is to fill their semi-dry accounts with oil money before public sme

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      • 23 April 2013 16:32, by Nyachebe

        smell it. I told people it will take nation 6 months to see oil benefit from Warap thieves, and this exactly what he told parliament. Please read president’s message being quoted below:
        “Many people are wondering what will happen now that the first oil is reaching Port Sudan and the income will begin to come to us. This is not the time to deal with this in great detail, but let me make the followi

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        • 23 April 2013 16:33, by Nyachebe

          following points:
          It is not possible to lose 98% of the national income, for an extended time, without a price.
          It is not possible to leave austerity behind straight away. We must pay our dues. We have incurred debts to those who kept us afloat and enabled us to keep core services running. We must repay those debts as a matter of honour and urgency. This is a priority”.

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    • 2 May 2013 14:54, by Kedo

      Don’t talk politics. See how a South Sudanese poor woman became a millionaire by buying and selling accidented cars, Very interesting. Go to (ACCIDENTEDCARS.COM) to see the various methods and companies she used (ACCIDENTEDCARS.COM). A simple idea but it paid off. WAKE UP AFRICANS, don’t waste your time because life is too short

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  • 23 April 2013 14:06, by Ito

    Brother Manyok, We need well informed intellectuals like you to lead us in South sudan. Tribalism is our cancer and we should work together to eliminate it. I am from Easter Equatoria state and most of the people here are nationalist, we are ready to vote for someone with good vision like you. Keep writing and don’t be afraid. Truth will set you free the Bible says. God bless

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  • 23 April 2013 14:07, by Ito

    Brother Manyok, We need well informed intellectuals like you to lead us in South sudan. Tribalism is our cancer and we should work together to eliminate it. I am from Easter Equatoria state and most of the people here are nationalist, we are ready to vote for someone with good vision like you. Keep writing and don’t be afraid. Truth will set you free the Bible says. God bless

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  • 23 April 2013 14:37, by Mapuor

    Mr Manyok Biar
    Welcome back.We indeed should be objective.I personally agree with you on some aspects and disagree with you in many things.Tribalism,regionalism and sectionalism were practiced most by Dr Garang,Dr Riek and Dr Lam during the war.They use to promote only their clans men and now your objectivity hides this phenomenon.Try to be objective in the real sense brother.Look at 1991 Riek

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    • 23 April 2013 14:47, by Mapuor

      High command,with Dr Riek being the head followed by Dr Lam and Gordon Kong as a third person,hahhah again look at Garangs high command,Garang on top followed by William Nyuon all from Upper Nile and then came Kiir and Mr Wani was the last.What exactly was that?In the first high command Garang and Arok from Twic East were in the high command,Udhuo was rejected without any reason.HAA Junubin.

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      • 23 April 2013 18:43, by panom lualbil

        Why do somebody here talks about how big my dick is, im gon put it in the ass of ur junky leader-RIAK MACHAR he’s craving for it since he missed it from arabs awhile. I dont understand what good was ISAIAH supported RIAK MACHAR- a slave of slaves?

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        • 24 April 2013 08:34, by Mi diit

          Panom Lualbil,
          Put your dirty dick into your mom’s rotten pussy, okay?

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          • 25 April 2013 18:30, by panom lualbil

            MIDIIT?
            Believe it or not, the leadership under ur FOUNDER and HERO of SPLA—MR. COWBOY has no value to jackass leaders like RIEK MACHAR at all. You luv him cuz he’s the FOUNDER of TRIBALISM...but cuz of tribalism they must go...You too must go if you were survived by AMNESTY like him. Or he have to keep low profile and just eat.

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  • 23 April 2013 14:54, by Ito

    you re right brother mapuor. The late Oduho a veteran politician was leader of 1955 together with Lt. Tafeng was not included in the high command. Was jailed for no reason. Also if Garang was first, Kerbino should not be second if we have senses. It should be from upper nile or equatoria. But equatorians was number 11, is this fairness for God sake. It was bad also when a freedom fighter Gen: mam

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  • 23 April 2013 14:54, by Ito

    you re right brother mapuor. The late Oduho a veteran politician was leader of 1955 together with Lt. Tafeng was not included in the high command. Was jailed for no reason. Also if Garang was first, Kerbino should not be second if we have senses. It should be from upper nile or equatoria. But equatorians was number 11, is this fairness for God sake. It was bad also when a freedom fighter Gen:

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  • 23 April 2013 14:57, by Ito

    Mamur was being ambush on roads by fellow comrades. When Riek and Lam defected, Equatorians save the spla by standing firm behind Garang despite all the tribalism being practice on us on daily basis. So let us learn from the past and live a peaceful future.

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  • 23 April 2013 14:57, by Ito

    Mamur was being ambush on roads by fellow comrades. When Riek and Lam defected, Equatorians save the spla by standing firm behind Garang despite all the tribalism being practice on us on daily basis. So let us learn from the past and live a peaceful future.

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    • 23 April 2013 16:03, by Mangoor

      Mapuor, u r not well informed. Dr. Garang was very fair. Leadership of Garang had disadvantaged Dinka Bor in many ways but jealousy has blinded you to see that. War broke out in Bor. majority of the first people to join the SPLM/A were from Dinka Bor. 1st towns captured by the SPLA-liberated by Dnka Bor.Dnka Bor men were pushed to lower ranks to create a room for people who joined the SPLM/A late.

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      • 23 April 2013 17:21, by Mi diit

        Mangoor,
        You people’s culture of telling lies without shame or remorse is what will continue to drag South Sudan backward. Please, please, learn to tell the truth because all what you have said is false. I was there when the SPLA/M was formed in 1983, majority were Nuer in Itang, and in the first battles by 104 and 105 battalions. So shut up!

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        • 24 April 2013 08:37, by Mangoor

          Midiit, am not lying. u said Nuer were majority in Itang 1983. what is the significance of being majority in Itang? Yes, Nuer were majority in 104 and Dinka Bor were majority in 105. these battalions did not fight Arabs or captured any town. They were sent to various villages to recruit youth into the SPLM/A. Those who went to recruit in Nuer villages were converted to Anyanya 2 mov’ment.

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          • 24 April 2013 08:47, by Mangoor

            they began to fight the SPLM/A. Officers of 105 battalions who went to villages of Dinka Bor succeeded to 13,000 men n women who composed Koryom Brigade. Koryom Brigade which was dominated by sons of Bor started the real liberation. they captured malual Gahoth n Jekow for the first time. They captured jebel Boma the first town where the SPLM/A flag was raised for the 1st time.

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            • 24 April 2013 09:00, by Mangoor

              their military victories continued as they captured Winykibul, Terekeka, yirol, Aluakluak, Pochalla, Kapoeta, Kiyla, MadingBor etc. Remember, the war of 10,000 troopers which were suppressed n scattered by Koryom between Bor and Mangala in 1985. this war famously known as battle of "Hashara halif". these wars wre fought by brave sons of Dinka Bor while Nuer wre busy joining Anynya2 to fght SPLA

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              • 24 April 2013 11:04, by Mi diit

                Mangoor,
                At least you have made me laugh at your lies, thanks for that. See, you have even added more lies to the previous lies that I expected you to correct. If the Dinka Bor forces captured all those many towns in South Sudan, then they must have done it on the moon, not on this earth I know of.

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                • 25 April 2013 07:32, by Mangoor

                  Midiit, I really dont care about what u think. am behind this info. 100%. I know the names of the battalions that captured those towns. so it doesn’t matter if u believe it or not. the fact is U n I were worlds apart. U were in the world of traitors who collaborated with Khartuom regime. I was in the world of heroes who actively fought to liberate S. Sudan. that is the difference btwn us.

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    • 23 April 2013 18:25, by panom lualbil

      ITO??
      The leadership of SPLA was unfair anyway. But cuz the spla’s leaders whom y’all complained about as DINKAS, had used their own folks blunderily in war even the newborn so it was in sense ok. In other hand, some certain tribes were neutral or ARABS used them against spla to cause failure.

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  • 23 April 2013 17:28, by SouthSudaneseviews

    Ito, Manyok and the rest of interconnect writers need to be attentive about Jonglei State Dinka tribes issues of names’ messes. He has to take this quote from your message. "Truth will set you free the Bible says. God bless."

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  • 24 April 2013 19:29, by WendeMajok

    Welcome back brother Manyok, I was worried, I thought they have executed you. Do not get scared, Isaiah Abraham has cemented the foundation of Journalism, his death has taught the government a lesson not to murder human right activists anymore and the citizens are now aware of the government reputation. Keep feeding us with info. FEAR NO MORE!

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  • 25 April 2013 15:01, by fred william

    What lives in society, what we experience in our jobs, our unemployment, our public services, our rights ... Pressures are so severe that hardly looks serious stopping to consider the problems of a political party. Parties are so discredited, especially on the left, who have completely lost their only reference character and even mere reference. The desire is to send them to walk no more. And that

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