Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 21 June 2013

Interesting nation


By Zechariah Manyok Biar

June 20, 2013 - South Sudanese are very interesting people. What they believe in is not easy to understand. You can see them today standing firmly against injustice and malpractice. But, tomorrow you see them standing exactly opposite to what they advocated against today.

The current suspension of Hon. Deng Alor of Cabinet Affairs and Hon. Kosti Manibe of Finance and Economic Planning will tell you everything about who we are as a nation. We are a nation where “justice” depends on the prosecution of the other. This is why people who genuinely stand for what is fair and right are always in trouble.

To put it in different way, we are often very ready to crucify wrongdoers as long as they are not related to us. When they are related to us or they are from our community, we do not want them to be touched.

The malpractice that led to the suspension of both Hon. Deng and Hon. Manibe seems to be very clear. But the comments that you read after the announcement show you that there was something else that led to their suspension apart from what they are accused of having done.

Some people argue that there was no reason to start the suspension with Hon. Deng and Hon. Manibe since there are other 75 senior people accused of having stolen $4 bn. These people do not consider the specificity of the case against Hon. Deng and Hon. Manibe. The argument would have been okay if these leaders were suspended as part of the $4 bn scandal that the other 75 senior officials are accused of having committed. But that is not the case here.

There is another problem with the argument. It assumes that no action should be taken against anybody if people who were accused of the same crimes in the past are not first prosecuted. This arguments sounds to me like a mere defense mechanism which condones wrongdoing more than what it suggests.

We know that starting something is often better than not starting it at all. If those who advance the above kind of argument want the President to act against anybody accused of corruption, then why would they not encourage him for the little that he has done now and still ask him to do more in his fight against corruption, instead of wanting him to do nothing at all?

Another group argues that Hon. Manibe is a victim of the internal reshuffle he made in the Ministry some weeks ago. They say that the directors he removed relate to the President. That is why he is suspended. There could be truth to this claim because it was reported before Hon. Manibe was suspended. Maybe the directors who were removed from their positions were corrupt and they are colluding with the top man in the nation. But the other side of the argument could be that Hon. Manibe did the reshuffle in order to get rid of those who had been preventing him from transferring the money he wanted to transfer. That is why he got into trouble immediately after he got that chance.

Hon. Deng Alor, according to similar argument, is victimized because he wanted to vote against the President in the upcoming SPLM convention. That could also be true. But the other side of the argument could be that if Hon. Deng wanted to vote against President Kiir because President Kiir often makes it hard for him to transfer money as he wants. This argument will put President Kiir on the right side of history than Hon. Deng.

What is more interesting is that some people who have always accused President Kiir of inaction have now turned around and are angry with him for having acted. I am amaze of how these advocates for the rule of law have now turned into the advocates for the violation of the same.

It is true that both Hon. Deng and Hon. Manibe are innocent until proven guilty, but it is also true that they are not free from being guilty until proven otherwise. What is meant by innocence until proven guilty is that you should not be prosecuted on the bases of accusations. Yet, criminal accusations always mean you have something to answer. Nobody should interfere with this.

Those who defend criminally accused individuals without knowing whether they are innocent or not are like those who pass judgment on the same individuals without first proving them guilty. Both positions are outside the rule of law, and should be discouraged by citizens who want to promote the genuine rule of law.

What most of us are against in South Sudan is the violation of the rule of law. If the rule of law is followed like in the case of the two suspended Ministers, then we should support it. What we should focus our attentions on at this point is whether the process of investigations and prosecution will still follow the rule of law or not.

For example, if the investigations are completed later and the committee concluded that both Hon. Deng and Hon. Manibe should be prosecuted, then they must be allowed to hire defense lawyers they trust. If they are prevented from doing so, then we will conclude that they are being victimized because of something other than what they are accused of. Such a conclusion does not apply at this stage where they have not even been investigated yet.

If we are to see our country move on the right direction, then it should be good for us citizens to stand on the side of the rule of law only and not the side of our relatives. Everybody in South Sudan has relatives who can defend him or her. If relatives are to always defend people who are rightfully accused of criminal act, then the rule of law will be dead.

Law should be law and should be applied impartially. No right of South Sudanese, or any other human being, should be violated in our country. In the same way, nobody should commit crimes in South Sudan and expect to go free from legal prosecutions. Above all, no one should take the law into his/her own hand. These are principles we should stand for rather than blind defense of relatives.

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

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  • 21 June 2013 06:55, by Mi diit

    Zechariah Manyok,
    You missing some of the concerns raised. It is not about WHO is brought to justice, but rather about whether the justice is applied to the RIGHT persons, and in this case Kosti Manibe and Deng Alor. Finance officials say deputy minister Marial Awou signed the approval from Deng’s request. But now Marial is awarded to replace his minister who knew nothing about the issue. SEE!!

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    • 21 June 2013 08:06, by Paul Chadrack

      Yes manyok you are right,but the question is what happenned after the investigation about $6 millions stolen from kiir office?, is kiir above the law?. if he cannot be brought before the law, is south sudan his own? all these questions need an answer from this weak president because he did not Demonstration good example which should have started from his office investigations.

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    • 21 June 2013 12:07, by Dau-network

      Thanks you Manyok.some pple are addicted to criticism even though they knew that they are on wrong side. Other group they don’t like to see anything good done by Kiir because they assume it that KIIR will be popular again. Other group need next leader Dr Riek to change everything not KIIR to clean his past records.other group have no capacity for analyticals, they just throw s anything comes acro

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    • 21 June 2013 12:24, by Dau-network

      Deng Alor and Kosti Ngai have to defend their allegations but nothing involve their communities otherwise nobody from HEAVEN has no relatives in this world! How come some people claims why Kiir not investigating himself? That will be done by next regimes otherwise l have never seen anybody has had investigated him/herself if we are not fool enough to said so.let them carrying their crosse if guil.

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    • 24 June 2013 11:53, by Good South in Ruin!

      Mi Diit,
      You seem to be confused before thinking of confusing others!
      Manyok has put it clear. If the duo are clean, then they have to prove.
      Again, let’s see if the legal procedures are being taken against the accused. WE should not defend blindly

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  • 21 June 2013 08:57, by Mayambo

    Thanks Manyok for your reasonable and well articulated Article. I really applauds the action taken by H.E the President of the Republic of South Sudan. In South Sudan many or all corruption related cases overdue. So, the action is better than nothing. However, the investigation mandate could have been directed to Anti-Corruption Commission, because that is their Function enshrined in TCSS.

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  • 21 June 2013 09:35, by Agutthon

    Law is always referred as an ass. Belief or not that is it.

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  • 21 June 2013 12:24, by valentinoakec@yahoo.com

    It is really well articulated article brother Zachariah, Most of South Sudanese commentators on internet are always missing the point, the bold action taken by the president to suspend these two senior Minister on corruption probe is a right move towards the rule of law, and the two hon. Ministers are presumably innocent until they are proven guilty by the board of investigation.

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  • 21 June 2013 18:41, by Aweil the Role Model State 4peace

    Dear Manyok,
    I would like to thank you for the educative & well written article to those weak-minded Analyst, it is going to serve these common criticizers and adversaries to come up with their how, where which, when and what they can perfectly do for the management or smooth running of South Sudan Affairs, coz am so fade up &tired of their opposite and unnecessary critics all the time, this ha

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  • 21 June 2013 19:24, by Aweil the Role Model State 4peace

    has actually made me to believe your article’s subject matter of "Interesting Nation" it is true that we really have an Interesting Nation with funny & chameleon-like people because whoever claiming to be a rule of law activist are always bias to their call for the enaction of RoL in the country as i eventually came to realize that most self-claimed RoL commentators are just mere opportuni

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  • 21 June 2013 22:17, by jay b

    This is going to backfire on Kiir because he take issues prematurely, but let wait and see may be this is it for Kiir’s government fall.

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  • 21 June 2013 22:17, by jay b

    This is going to backfire on Kiir because he take issues prematurely, but let wait and see may be this is it for Kiir’s government fall.

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  • 22 June 2013 09:38, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    The whole thing is nothing other than a political drama that continues to unfold since the birth of this nation, that may turn to be a military theatre once again due to continual injustice, lack of freedom. People starting counting from one and not any of the numbers that follow one unless there is a reason that might be an error.

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