Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 7 July 2014

The government we should advocate for (Part II)

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

By Zechariah Manyok Biar

July 7, 2014 - As mentioned in part one of this article, we know that the system of government we want to apply to any type of government (unitary, decentralization, or federalism) that we will choose in the near future is democracy. But the question we have to answer is about the kind of democracy that we want. We know we conducted elections in 2010. Is that all we want?

Elections are part of democracy, but they are not enough. Experiences have shown that elections can be used as mere means of getting into power. Democracy which is based on elections only can make leaders oppress people without questions. True democracy is a process from election to governing.

True democracy, it seems, is the one in which citizens authorize their leaders through elections and hold them accountable throughout their terms of office. In the absence of accountability, elections alone cannot qualify as true democracy. Real democratic leaders, on the one hand, listen to the people they rule because they know that true democracy involves being accountable to people you rule. People who hold their rulers accountable, on the other hand, feel that they are participants in governance because they count themselves as free democrats in a true democratic state.

As Aristotle puts it in “Politics,” Book VI, “The basis of a democratic state is liberty; which, according to the common opinion of men, can only be enjoyed in such a state.” He further points out that “One principle of liberty is for all to rule and be ruled in turn.” This is the difference between democracy and oligarchy because oligarchy is a government of the few, especially the wealthy ones.

Democracy, unlike oligarchy, is known as the government of the majority. Yet, even oligarchs can disguise themselves as democrats. Aristotle says that “the oligarchs flatter the people in order to obtain a decision in their favour, and so they change the constitution.” Flattered majority who may change the constitution in favor of oligarchs may later regret their decision, but that would be too late. Their decision would be considered as a democratic decision, however much it violates the democratic principles. It is, therefore, the free majority that owns democracy.

Yet, free majority alone does not make democracy better. For example, majorities can use their numbers to maintain power while oppressing minorities against the principles of liberty, equality, and justice on which democracy is based. In 1788, John Adams referred to democracy based on mere numbers as “tyranny of the majority.” Tocqueville repeated the same idea in 1835.

Greek thinkers were the first to recognize the problem of basing democratic ideals on numbers only. They called it “mob rule.” Aristotle also argues that people should be cautious when they talk about democracy as the rule of the majority. Since the majority is always the poor, they could be quarreling with the rich, or even mistreating them.

In countries like South Sudan where tribal loyalty determines one’s political position, majorities could be based on tribes and not on political ideologies that cut across tribes. This means that bigger tribes like the Dinka can maintain power in the name of democracy, while mistreating minorities against the democratic principles.

It is because of the above problems that we should not blindly advocate for democracy for the sake of it as the ideal government that we want; even though we know it is the best form of government. We have to advocate for democracy that is the rule of majority, but not the tyranny of the majority.

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.
  • 8 July 2014 08:34, by Mr Point

    The real problem is tribalism. End tribalism.

    It only gives advantage to tribal leaders. Resources are taken away from the most needy for the benefit of those at the centre. It causes corruption and at worst in times of crisis leads to massacres of the innocent.

    But it is in the interest of the existing leaders to maintain tribal divisions.

    repondre message

Comment on this article


 
 

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


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


Ateny flip-flopping, where is his loyalty to President Kiir? 2017-01-15 07:57:11 By Chuor Deng Chuor The world knows that Ateny Wek Ateny is supposed to be the Press Secretary and official spokesperson of President Salva Kiir. but the reality of the matter is that Ateny has (...)

Obama’s promises and pledges for Darfur went unheeded with lifting sanctions 2017-01-15 06:43:31 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman Barak Obama's Lifting of Sanctions off the genocidal regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan is based on weak, unconvincing, pretty flimsy excuses and very (...)

The Final Betrayal of Sudan: Partial Suspension of Sanction 2017-01-14 21:31:35 “The Final Betrayal of Sudan: Obama administration’s lifting of economic sanctions; UN Ambassador Samantha Power justifying the move, claiming a ‘sea change’ of improvement in humanitarian access” (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Abduction of S. Sudan Chief Justice’s aide illegal, should be condemned 2017-01-16 05:27:50 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16th January 2015 Legal Watch Associates South Sudan has learned with shock and dismay the abduction of Mr Gama Thomas, an aide to the Chief Justice, Chan Reech Madut. (...)

Carter Center welcomes new regulations on humanitarian affairs 2017-01-12 07:53:16 The Carter Center ATLANTA, Januarg 11, 2017 – The Carter Center welcomes the recent regulations issued by the government of Sudan aimed at facilitating humanitarian relief throughout the country (...)

Nertiti massacre in Central Darfur exposes the criminal nature of Bashir’s regime 2017-01-03 11:54:47 Sudan Democracy First Group Nirtiti massacre in Central Darfur exposes the criminal nature of Bashir's regime 2 January 2017 On the first day of 2016, and only one day after President Bashir's (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2017 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.