Should We Blame Ordinary Citizens for the Problems Facing South Sudan?

Posted: September 12, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda

September 12, 2017 (SSB) — Under the International law, all the States have the Responsibility to protect their citizens as well as those who are by law and by facts residing within the States.  The state sovereignty that provides the State with immunity from any external interference imposes the duty on the states to protect all people within her territories.

It is in relation to the above that we have a general rule, which provides that the state has a responsibility to protect. Therefore, the failure to perform the duty to protect can allow the international community to intervene to protect citizens on behalf of the State. The above general was further explained by the Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty of December 2001, which discusses basic principles that constitute the State sovereignty and the duty to protect citizens and consequences of the failure to perform the duty to protect.

According to that report, the core principles underlying responsibility to protect are: The first principle is that state sovereignty implies responsibility, and the primary responsibility for the protection of its people lies with the state itself and where a population within the State is suffering serious harm, as a result of internal war, insurgency, repression or state failure, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to halt or avert it, then, the principle of non-intervention as provided for under the Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter 1945, yields to the international responsibility to intervene and protect the citizens of that country of her behalf.

In respect to South Sudan, South Sudan being sovereign as provided for under Article 1(1) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 gives South Sudan responsibility to protect her citizens.  In fact, as Article 2 provides that the sovereignty of South Sudan is vested in the people. Since it is vested in the people South Sudan has a duty to exercise it democratically to ensure the welfare of the people through its democratic and representative institutions established by the Transition Constitution of 2011and other laws in place.

In order to ensure that people are protected effectively internally and externally and against each other they agreed to give South Sudan and her authorities, sovereignty and all the instruments of power through social contract as provided for under Article 9 of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan of 2011.

Article 9 (1) provides that the Bill of Rights is a covenant among the people of South Sudan and between them and their government at every level and a commitment to respect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in this Constitution; it is the cornerstone of social justice, equality, and democracy. It follows that people agreed among themselves during the formation of South Sudan how they can be managed and then, in turn, agreed with the State to implement their agreement.

Based on the above agreement between the State and the people, it implies that South Sudan does not have the option but to implement the covenant or agreement in accordance with its letters as a matter of necessity to avoid chaos and anarchies within its territory.

Moreover, South Sudan responsibility to protect gives it leverage and State power to protect citizens by using all possible means including military intervention where it is necessary to do so. In the same way, the principle of the responsibility to protect also gives South Sudan a duty to give full assistance to the communities affected by war to ensure their speedy and quick recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation through addressing the causes of the harm.

 The discussion responsibility to protect above points to the fact that South Sudan has a responsibility to protect all South Sudanese and other people residing within her territories. The reason for imposing a duty to protect in South Sudan is not hard to find. South Sudan like any other State has the monopoly of power and force at her disposal.

The monopoly of force and how to use it has made some scholars to define the State as the legitimate use of force. For this reason, all the States including South Sudan have the discretion to control the crime and judge how such crime should be punished criminal depending on the seriousness of the crime.

The above discussion takes us to our original question is that: Should We Blame Ordinary Citizens for the Problems Facing South Sudan? The answer is simple we should not blame them at all. The reasons for not blaming ordinary citizens of South Sudan are many but for the purpose of this discussion, they are among others include:

First, the government of South Sudan has sole responsibility to protect citizens of South Sudan and because of that, it must manage the country like the responsible government. This is because the government is given all resources and other instruments of power by the citizens. For instance, South Sudan is given permission by the citizens to take control of the army, police and military police, national security, guns, both small and big, jet fighters, tanks and all cars.

 In addition, South Sudan has the right to collect taxes as she wishes to maintain security and control over the country. South Sudan has also the power and if she wishes, she can to execute any person in accordance with the law or without the law, which the ordinary citizen cannot do without being charged with murder.

The government of South Sudan has the right to call upon any country to help her in controlling the situation that appears to be out of the country as it was the case when the South Sudanese Government invited Ugandan Government to send her troops to quell the uprising of the White Army in Northern Part of South Sudan.

However, despite the explanation above that shows that the Government is the only one responsible to protect citizens, it is sad to still some people including the government officials blaming ordinary citizens for the rampant problems facing the country. Blaming citizens for the clear failure of the government to exercise her duty to manage the country including the responsibility to protect is unacceptable.

The cause of the problems of South Sudan is the failure of central authority to control the situations and instead folds its hands and begins crying like the other ordinary citizens without power. The problems of South Sudan are a result due to the leadership crisis that is exhibited both at national and State level. There is no strong leader in South Sudan currently.

In summary, the Government has abrogated her responsibility to protect the citizens of South Sudan. It is the primary role of the government to use all means to protect citizens.

The Author is a lawyer by profession; he graduated with honors in law from Makerere University, School of Law. He participated in various workshops and training in community mobilization in awareness of their constitutional rights in Uganda. He is the member of Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC) and NETPIL (Network of Public Interest Lawyers) at Makerere University; he is currently doing research with NETPIL on private prosecution; he is trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); he participated in writing Street Law Handbook on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Uganda. He is practicing with Onyango and Company Advocates Bunga—Ggaba, Road Kampala He is currently staying in Kampala Uganda where he is undertaking bar course training. He can be reached through or +256784806333.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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