Critique of Prof. John Akec’s Mistaken UN Trusteeship

BY: James Okuk, PhD, Juba University, SEP/18/2016, SSN;

As my part-time top boss at University of Juba, I would like to thank the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Akec for keeping his private hobby of public writing. Many intellectuals of South Sudan and in many other African Countries abandon their hobbies when they become bosses. He needs to be appreciated and encouraged to keep up this consistency and freedom of expression.

What attracted my attention is Prof. Akec’s reference to St. Augustine and Thomas Hobbes to justify his apologetic defence of Juba’s suspicion and reservation on the awaited Regional Protection Force. I’m saying this because I have been a lecturer of “Comparative Political Thought” in the esteemed University of Juba since 2012, both to Arabic and English patterned students of the Department of Political Science.

The evolution of political thought, some of which are practiced in many countries to date, is an area I have admired with great interest. Thus, I must thank the electronic engineer, Prof. John Akec, for becoming an active participant in the classic political field, though.

I would have wished to invite him to attend a special lecture on the context and content on St. Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Hobbes and Jean Bodin who had put forward some rigorous political thinking in the history of human governance, especially in regard to ‘Sovereignty and the Sovereign’ in time of ‘Peace’ and ‘War’.

Those great thinkers of the middle ages in Europe were concerned much about “Sovereignty of the Monarch”. This political situation was broadened and cemented by the Treaty of Westphalia (October 1648) that legitimised the limited European Nation-States’ Systems and Principles between the Holy Roman Emperor and the King of France and their respective Allies.

However, the French Revolution (known also as the people’s bread revolution) and the American Declaration of Independence (known also as the people’s land revolution) made the Westphalia Treaty irrelevant for constitutional liberalism and democratisation of the modern nation-states. The Centre of ‘Sovereignty’ shifted from ‘I the King for the State’ to ‘We the People for the Nation’.

The sovereignty as far as St. Augustine and Thomas Hobbes were concerned was about “I the King” only with disregard to the centrality of the people and their dignified livelihood welfare. Is this what Prof. John Akec is trying to argue for South Sudan now?

Even Hobbes conditioned the necessity of the sovereign and the government on “not killing the subjects and also not instilling fear in them.” The Hobbesian Leviathan was for absolute peace and security of the people. Once the sovereign and the government break this condition, then they should immediately lose the value to continue ruling the nation in a state.

St. Augustine has also conditioned the sovereignty on ‘Peace and Justice’, with permissible ‘War of a Just Cause’, conducted through right intention, declared by a competent authority with good faith, and using proportional military force while discriminating the non-combatant citizens (i.e women, children, the elderly, the clergy, etc.) from the warriors of the sinful ‘City of Man’ who are being punished by divine authority to repent and return to goodness of ‘City of God’ for everlasting eternal grace.

Once peace and justice is denied to the citizens, then the sovereign and government should be prayed upon for divine fire of deposition and salvation for a new replacement.

Jean Bodin defined sovereignty as “Absolute”, “Indivisible” and “Complete”, the attributes which are not nearer to the situation of the divided South Sudan on the power of their current government.

Therefore, Prof. Akec shouldn’t kindly misquote these intellectual historical giants to mislead the public about ‘sovereignty’ and how UN Protection Force is “Trusteeship” in another name.

If the Prof. isn’t yet aware and informed about the matter, let him now know that the UN Charter since the end if World War II in 1945 doesn’t allow ‘UN Trusteeship” for an independent state with full UN and other regional organisations memberships.

The UN Charter and AU Constitutive Act predicate the modern sovereignty on: a)Protection of the population without discrimination, b) Undivided loyalty of the citizens to the state, c) Enforceability of government powers in all the jurisdictional and integral territory, d) Cooperation with the UN and other international and regional bodies based on treaties, mutual recognition and other legitimate obligations, and e) Viability of the state and sustainability of its government among other nations.

Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (December 1933) is what has defined the modern and contemporary state, not necessarily the traditional medieval nation-state any longer. Article (1) defines a state as a person of international law that possesses a) permanent population (i.e, not Refugees or IDPs), b) a defined territory, c) government, and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

Also the Westphalia principles of equality of states, non intervention of one state in the internal affairs of another state and “forgiving the sins of the past” are no longer practiced in vacuum, especially when the UNSC, in accordance with the UN Charter, defines a situation as ‘threat to international peace and security’ as it came out in Resolution Number 2304 (2016) and acts via a “peace-keeping” long-term strategy or “peace-enforcement” emergency response in accordance with the principle of “the Responsibility to Protect”.

The Republic of South Sudan should not be made an exception on the evolution of the power of multilateral diplomacy and international relations. The Juba Varsity Prof. Akec has missed the intellectual goal that a professor shouldn’t afford to mess up with.

The Regional Protection Force and UNMISS-Plus is not and can’t turn into a formal trusteeship force in South Sudan because their mandate is clear and supplementarily limited to restoring the direly needed peace and security environment in the embattled country from all fronts.

That was why Juba signed a Joint Communique on 4th September 2016 with the UNSC Members who came to the country for first hand information and experience of the gravity of the situation.
Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer of politics in University of Juba reachable at


  1. Martin. L says:

    Brother James, brillinat!

  2. False Millionaire says:

    Dear Dr Okuch,
    Out of sincere judgment from my part,Dr Akec’s mistake was borrowing from St Augustine’s and Hoppes concepts to substantiate his point.The case of a probable UN’s trusteeship over RSS is a highway matter driven by forces that will impose it in a due time without any recourse to UN charters with regard to respect of a nation’s sovereigty.
    Talking about the rule of the jungle,there is a need for great intellectuals like u to tip toe out of the university’s class rooms to observe the game as played on the field.That will help u never to miss to see that the US and the UK,having backed our independence,it wasn’t a cheer charity.Dr Garang’s death is still a matter of suspicion.The war setting the SPLA-IO and SPLA-G against each other that has produced immeasureable lose of lives and destruction couldn’t be viewed without having an idea of an invisible hands behind it.The peace agreement that collapsed after the J1 events we all know was an imposed one.But after the J1 events,US and UK were quick to ask for a UN’s approval of additional forces for the UNIMISS with their own forces to join the ranks.
    If u are following my point,it’s easy to conclude that Kiir’s government will be overthrown one day and to be replaced by some body who would lead a pro US/UK government.But there will be a problem if that person couldn’t be Dr Riek Machar,Dr Riek is the favored for the task becouse he will use ngundeng’s naath nation to mobilise nuer masses and use anti jieng sentiments to bring the rest of the other tribes on board to build an army that may assure stability.So far the objective is to take over RSS’ natural resources and to expolite them,good security conditions are the precondition.
    But that if Dr Riek couldn’t be one for the helm as circumstances of resistence against him imply,some body like Oliny,Gore or Martin Kenyi may be too light to fit becouse of their tribal small size.The idea is being toyed now with along the lines of a technocrat government and a UN’s trusteeship to replace Kiir.But a technocrat government will witness many jieng participation and that will disrupt the free hand to sign military and economic cooperations to take over the natural resources for life.That’s why the best option is the trusteeship to last for a periode suitable for the actors backing it to firmly plant their footing in RSS before handing back the country to somebody who will represent their interests witout any fear of betrayal.
    So it’s best to admit that Dr Akec has a point.

  3. False Millionaire,
    When Garang died, we were blessed with RSS that was a myth as he wanted united Sudan. Both Kiir and Dr. Riek worked together for the achievement of Independence that we scarified for 50 years. Is n’t it we who first needed independence and asked for West for help? At first our leaders (Both Riek & Kiir) said “We must stop this senseless war” and solve the problems that originated within political (SPLM) party peacefully. But alas; the senseless war continued and political problem remains unresolved. Now this party problem we do not know has become a national Issue, then regional issue and now an International Issue. I must tell u that poor definition of a problem is more dangerous than the problems itself. That problem will continue to breed more worst problems. So are we now ready to identify the problem(s) and solve them or wait for some one else to correct it for us?

  4. John Kijana says:

    False Millionaire,

    Are you being paranoid about Dr. Riak, the Nuer and whatever political/military forces that ultimately will replace the jaang 200 envisaged rule of the South? Can the jaang really rule the South, when they are unable to rule themselves? Do the jaang have any social, cultural and intellectual peculiarity that gives them that exclusivess as rulers or colonialists for that matter? History has it that only highly developed socio-political, cultural-economic systems subjected the more less developed and “primitive” societies. The jaang however, do not have such attributes and so the 200-year jaang rule is a hopeless wishful thinking which no sane Junubi should worry about.

  5. False Millionaire says:

    Mr Kijana,
    The debate is no longer on the line of jieng,nuer or any other RSS ethenic groups ruling south sudan becouse that opportunity has died away on the way side.
    We are no longer masters of our destiny.So if a bafara plantation man like u comes to preside on the helm of RSS today,he wouldn’t manage to do so without the help of the forces which will put him in place as a stooge to represent their interests.In the line of the same argument,if Dr Riek becomes president,he will also suit the critera of that person helped to come to power by the same forces.But that if the doors ever appear closed for such a scenario as is the case demonstrated by the military defeat of the SPLA-IO and giving it’s grave set back on the events of J1,plan B becomes the last resort.That plan B is the UN’s trusteeship.That has already begun wth the approval of the 4000 men force that is to be joined by the UK’s and US’ forces for deployment in RSS with a free hand mandate to use force.
    Your comments are irrelevant to the topics of the hour and u would have done well if u drank your filthy alchol and went to sleep instead of vomitting rubbish to nauciate every one so unnecessarily in the forum.

  6. False Millionaire says:

    Mr Arop,
    Even if we were,”ready now to identify the problems and solve them”,it’s too late.
    The moment of doing so was before the events of 1991 whch every one me included believes it’s the point where every problem besetting us today originated.
    I hope u would agree with me that John Garang was the most intelligent fellow countryman in politics.That virtue of his was full of ideas so useful for progress no matter how difficult a problem facing our society could be.
    But guess what?the events of 1991 delayed the liberation for a periode of 14 years when during that point of time,an out right military victory was possible.
    It’s a grave mistake sir to ever count on unity of our masses as a result of leadership from the part of Riek Machar,Salva Kiir,Pagan Amum,Lam Akol or any of the SPLM/A elites.That’s the bottom of the problem.In being such,we will never be disposed to solve our problems.It’s the external forces which will come in to wash us with the white lime and tell us we are here to help u when in reality,they are on board for the sake of their own interests.That’s the only bad window of opportunity that is available.Without any other acceptable alternative from our part,that dangerous path will take it’s course for a very long time.

  7. John Kijana says:

    False Millionaire,

    Well, at least we have something to eat “bafra” what specialities do you the jaang have in the luaks? Some lalob leaves mixed with chicken feed like food “walwal”? This explains the reason why hoardes of jaangs have literally migrated to Equatoria, to eat bafra and “kwedkwed” as is known among the jaangs in Juba.
    The UN Intervention is likely, then the jaangs who want to rule the South for another 200 years and greedily mismanaged the South till now have proven their incompentencies. It is not the naked brute force, but the strength of the mind, the power to think and develop which however annoying, is lacking among the jaangs. Lets see how the develop the 14 out of 28 jaang states without external help.

  8. False Millionnaire says:

    Mr Kijana,
    If u are a bearer of,”The strength of the mind”,then come with it.
    There wouldn’t be any single objection to justify a quarrel with u neither from my part nor from the part of my likes.
    Général Lagou never lead the masses by,”the naked brute force”,than by,”the strength of the mind”,didn’t he?
    Just go get that strength of the mind from the depth of bafara plantation if that’s where it’s buried and never expect getting a bloody nose in internet quarrels.

  9. maku jolo says:

    The problem is that we have low knowledge of present world so that we can”t see far what will happen in future. Do you US and UK have such proposal for anything. they have interest in south Sudan and would takes on advantage on self-interested and in-patriot-ed like some our political.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.