Home | Comment & Analysis    Saturday 21 June 2014

The government we should advocate for (Part I)


By Zechariah Manyok Biar

June 20, 2014 - Since there are now hopes for peace and the formation of the interim government that would prepare the way for the future laws and the government system of our country, we should know what type of government we should advocate for as citizens. The government that I am talking about is the one that should apply to any system that we will have in South Sudan. If we choose unitary system, it should apply to it; if we choose the current decentralization, it should apply to it; or if we choose federalism, it should apply to it.

We know we want democracy to apply to any system of government that we will choose, but what kind of democracy? We have seen that democracy can be doctored, just to paraphrase the former Vice President of Kenya Kalonzo Musyoka. Can we call a democracy in which people vote under threats such as what took place in Syria recently a democracy? These are some of the questions we will have to look into before settling on what type of government we should advocate for.

But to know the government we should advocate for, we should first know the government we should not advocate for. For this reason, I will present three types of governments that we sometimes see here in Africa and in other parts of the world. They are tyranny, democracy, and the constitutional governments. These are not, however, the only types of governments that exist in the world today. We have other types such as monarchy, oligarchy, among others. I just chose the three types mentioned above because they are common and countries can sometimes practice them unconsciously.

I will use ancient views from Aristotle’s “Politics,” Book V to present these governments. This article will present tyrannical government.

Tyrannies can be disguised as democracies these days. Elections can normally be held to tell the international community that there is democracy in a country. But what really happens between elections could be tyrannical rule, even though it is sometimes difficult to tell.

Although it could be difficult to tell whether a government is tyrannical or not, Aristotle shows that there are ways of knowing it.

One of the signs of tyrannical governments, according to Aristotle, is when the leaders “lop off those who are too high.” In other word, these leaders kill people they think are regarded high in a country. Also those who question the policies of such leaders lose their lives. You have to be coward to survive. As Aristotle puts it, “he must put to death men of spirit (courage).”

The other sign is that a tyrant, as Aristotle points out, “must be upon his guard against anything which is likely to inspire either courage or confidence among his subjects.” This is why he endeavors “to know what each of his subjects says or does” by employing spies to prevent “people from speaking their minds.” Some extreme tyrants can prevent assemblies so that people cannot know one another.

Another sign of tyrannical governments is that tyrants “sow quarrels among the citizens; friends should be embroiled with friends, the people with the notables, and the rich with one another.” Along this line, tyrants keep their subjects poor.

A tyrant, according to Aristotle, “is also fond of making war in order that his subjects may have something to do and be always in want of a leader.” Aristotle further argues, “And whereas the power of a king is preserved by his friends, the characteristic of a tyrant is to distrust his friends, because he knows that all men want to overthrow him, and they all have the power.”

Tyrants love bad men over good men “because they love to be flattered.” Flattering is something tyrants do not find in good men because, according to Aristotle, “good men love others, or at any rate do not flatter them.” I would add here that good men or women believe that flattering destroys rather than build people. It is only for selfish reason that people flatter others. They want to gain favor by appearing good and caring, even though they might not be. Flattering, therefore, is not driven by love. Unlike flattery, correcting or even rebuking people is driven by love. People correct the ones they love.

Aristotle again observes that “Another mark of tyrant is that he likes foreigners better than citizens, and lives with them and invites them to his table; for the one (citizens) are enemies, but the others (foreigners) enter no rivalry with him.”

We have seen in these signs of tyrannical governments and tyrants that any of us can fall into these categories, if given a chance to be the top man or woman. This is why we should stop focusing on personalities or mere likings of people we think should be our leaders, but rather focusing on which system of government we want. It is the system of government we want that should help us determine individuals who fit to rule in it. Good leaders are often directed by good systems, even though we also know that bad leaders destroy or ignore good systems.

Having seen what tyranny is, we should not advocate for it either directly or indirectly to be our system of government in South Sudan. We should advocate for something better to be added to our permanent constitution. It is because of this that we will examine democracy in our next article to see if that is the system of government we should advocate for.

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

The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 21 June 2014 08:46, by Akol Liai Mager

    Thanks Mr Manyok for a very informative article. The only thing that I can add is that; if a person meets Hyena in the dark night and says; what is this big animal? the Hyena will kill that person, but if he or she says "That’s you Hyena", the Hyena will run away saying that this person knows me and my weaknesses. So, some individuals if not call by names, they will think that they are not known.

    repondre message

    • 21 June 2014 09:02, by Akol Liai Mager

      I am not asking you to name some individuals. You have used good example however, we also need to rephrase some local tales & proverbs that our leaders are familiar with otherwise they might say oh, that is about Europeans or Americans and has nothing to do with me/us. Keep up the fight for the better tomorrow!

      repondre message

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Perspectives on Kiir and Machar meeting 2018-06-20 22:48:12 By Santino Ayual Bol IGAD which has been facilitating and mediating the slow-heel Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan shortly abbreviated as ARCISS has unilaterally (...)

SLM’s al-Nur’s response to Troika countries about violence in Darfur 2018-06-20 22:02:28 Response by the Sudan Liberation Movement to statement by the United States, United Kingdom & Kingdom Of Norway on cessation of violence in Darfur By Abdul Wahid al-Nur Dear President (...)

Another electoral farce Sudanese should expect in 2020 2018-06-18 02:08:16 Sudanese Elections Scheduled for 2020 will be Fraught with Dangers andCounterfeiting like its predecessors By Mahmoud A. Suleiman The National Congress Party (NCP) regime’s Elections Scheduled (...)


Latest Press Releases

The Suspension of Hurriyat Online Newspaper 2018-04-29 07:04:37 Sudan Democracy First Group 28 April 2018 The Sudanese civil and political circles and those concerned with Sudan were shocked by the news that the management of Hurriyat online newspaper has (...)

Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan 2018-04-22 10:01:20 UN Secretary-General, New York African Union Commission, Addis Ababa UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan (...)

Abyei celebrates Mine Awareness Day 2018-04-05 08:52:03 4 April 2018 | Abyei - The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) commemorated the International Day for Mine Awareness and (...)


Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.