Journal of Human Security | 2014 | Volume 10 | Issue 1 | Pages 59‒75
DOI: 10.12924/johs2014.10010059
ISSN: 1835-3800
Research Article
The Fragility of the Liberal Peace Export to South Sudan:
Formal Education Access as a Basis of a Liberal Peace Project
Ngambouk V. Pemunta
* and Eno-Akpa R. Nkongho
Department of Cultural Sciences, Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial studies, Linnaeus
University, 35195 Växjö, Sweden
Department of Public Policy, Central European University, Nador utca 9, 1051 Budapest, Hungary;
* Corresponding Author: E-Mail: [email protected]om; Tel.: +46 729469558; Fax: +46 47083217
Submitted: 28 March 2014 | In revised form: 20 June 2014 | Accepted: 1 July 2014 |
Published: 20 November 2014
Abstract: This study examines the disjuncture between the policy transposition of the Liberal
Peace Project (LPP) in South Sudan from the country's local context. It underlines how deep
rooted historical exclusion from social welfare services reinforces political exclusion and exac-
erbates poor civic engagement among different ethnicities in the country causing a constant re-
lapse to violence. The study combines a qualitative review of data from Afrobarometer, the
National Democratic Institute, international NGOs, and South Sudan's government reports with in-
depth interviews and participants' observation. The research finds that restricted access to formal
education alongside the conservative and orthodox approaches to peacebuilding, which broadly
focus on centralised urban political institutions and exclude diverse local needs and preferences,
limit citizenship participation to elections and preclude an equitable social order in South Sudan,
establishing a continuum of fragile authoritarian peace, institutional peace and constitutional
peace. In an emancipatory approach, the study proposes a framework that prioritizes an ex-
tended access to primary and post-primary vocational education as a more credible establishment
for sustainable civil peace in the country. The LPP by the international community needs to be
tailored to enhance the political will of the South Sudan government to extend free primary
education access, incentivize primary education with school feeding programmes and to invig-
orate vocational training curricula. These will yield civil peace dividends, which avert South Sudan's
structural source of relapse into violence with sustainable disincentives. Apart from women's em-
powerment through education and in all spheres of life, the government needs to ensure sustain-
ability by guaranteeing a sustainable future for the present and for returning refugees by reducing
the effects of climate change so as to cope with the increasing pressure on natural resources.
Keywords: conflict; formal education; liberal peace; peacebuilding; post-conflict settlement;
South Sudan
© 2014 by the authors; licensee Librello, Switzerland. This open access article was published
under a Creative Commons Attribution License (
1. Introduction
The world's newest nation-the Republic of South Sudan
(RSS), is once again in prolonged international media
coverage, and has been since 15 December 2013.
Characteristic of her history, the potracted conflict over
socio-political and economic marginalisation by the
Republic of Sudan of then South Sudan has resurfaced
in the RSS, ending not just the euphoria of its inde-
pendence from the Republic of Sudan on July 9, 2011
but also, crippling hopes for a politically inclusive state
with an equitable social order. In retrospect, one is
obliged to wonder whether the 2005 Comprehensive
Peace Agreement (CPA), ending decades of civil conflict
against the people of South Sudan and subsequent
peacebuilding attempts in the post independence fed-
eral, presidential democratic RSS, are apt enough to
yield sustainable civil peace. Peacebuilding or the Lib-
eral Peace Project connotes the processes aimed at
reviving the state's capacity to identify, support and
strengthen her socio-political and economic structures
in view of averting structural factors that cause or
nurture a relapse into violent conflict [1,2]. However,
the LPP in RSS has evidently failed and the country is
back to war, echoing a political power tussle with ethnic
undertones opposing the majority Dinka of president
Silva Kiir and his ex-deputy Riek Machar from the Nuer
ethnicity. Empirical evidence suggests a concentration
of civil wars in countries with little education like the
RSS. Conversely, in a country with a higher proportion
of its youth in school, the risk of conflict is significantly
reduced [3‒6].
2. Aim and Method
This paper examines the mismatch between peace-
building and locally felt needs of conflict resulting
from the LPP in the RSS. The crux of the argument is
that the lack of formal education opportunities con-
stitutes a structural source of relapse to conflict in South
Sudan. Consequently, the consolidation of democratic
institutions, modelled on the conservative and orthodox
approaches to peacebuilding that characterize the cur-
rent practices of the LPP in the country does not target
the root causes of violence and its recurrence. The
paper concludes that the prioritization and provisioning
of formal education opportunities is justifiable and
would serve to attain the LPP objectives of civil peace.
The paper underlines the fact that though the
emancipatory approach of the LPP—the bedrock of
international peacebuilding initiatives is highly con-
sidered of theoretical and impracticable value [7], it
could operationalize the approach through institutions
of primary and post-primary vocational education. The
study highlights the need to accomplish meaningful
social, political and economic inclusion of a population
easily induced to violence in South Sudan's peace-
building process through increased access to primary
education and post primary vocational training as an
urgent policy implementation option that would disin-
centivize recourse to violence and rather induce du-
rable or civil peace.
The study made use of bottom-up (felt needs) and a
top-down methods that underpin the emancipatory
approach of the LPP. It involves substantial, qualitative,
desk research that reviewed reports, surveys and doc-
uments of peacebuilding stakeholders (civil society
organizations, bilateral aid donors, multilateral peace
agencies) and the national government of South
Sudan. Individual in-depth interviews and participant
observation were also used to abduce information from
3. Background: Agitation and Resistance from
Social and Political Exclusion
Sudan's history is characterized by a specter of unending
civil wars that has significantly affected Southern Sudan,
accounting for the relapse to conflict in the new country.
Sudan, from which South Sudan gained independence
suffered two major civil strifes between 1955 and 1972
and from 1982 to present. This 'long history of political
vulnerability and exclusion' ([8] p. 1) disproportionately
affected Southern Sudan. During the Anglo-Egyptian
condominium (1899–1934) the British imperial gov-
ernment, and later the ruling northern elites, used
education as a tool for the perpetuation of socio-
economic and political marginalization of both majority
rural communities and Southern Sudan in particular. The
British 'Northern policy' encouraged and perpetuated the
socio-economic exclusion and marginalization of Sudan
at the detriment of the then Southern Sudan. They
modernized the economy and infrastructure of the north
while Christian missionaries provided the much needed
'moral guidance' rather than economic development in
the Southern Sudan. This 'Northern policy' did set the
stage for political vulnerability and exclusion of Southern
In a glimpse of recognition of the problems of
Southern Sudan in the time of the Anglo-Egyptian Con-
dominium, Britain passed the 'Closed District Order' of
1922. This Order was an anti-Islamic policy meant to
curtail northern dominance and slave raids in Southern
Sudan. Within this policy framework, vernacular lan-
guages in Southern Sudan became the language of
instruction while English was the official language.
Arabic was banned from school and government
offices in Southern Sudan. Although these policies
were 'based on indigenous cultural values and Christian
cultural norms', and instilled a sense of identity in
Southern Sudanese, the real aim was to link Sudan
with East Africa for easy administration as part of
British indirect rule system.
However, these policies woefully failed to spike
socio-economic development, but instead widened the
existing inequities between the North and South. In
the 1940s, South Sudan's educational infrastructure
was comprised of a limited number of missionary
schools, few elementary government schools, one
teacher training centre, one commercial school and
one senior secondary school ([8] p. 2, [9] p. 3,[10] p.
86). Worse still, the British represented the indigenous
population as lazy and unenthusiastic in improving
their socio-economic wellbeing ([11] p. 32). However,
at the end of World War II the unity of Sudan took
greater impetus due to pressure from Egypt and the
northern elites, causing the British to address the
need to accelerate economic and educational devel-
opment so as to put Northern and Southern Sudan at
par ([10] p. 88).
This explains why in 1957, the Government of
Sudan took over mission schools in South Sudan, and
in 1962 expelled Christian missionaries from the South
for allegedly inciting South Sudanese against the
Arabization and subsequent Islamization of schools.
This suggests that one key factor for anti-government
agitation is the adoption of policies that exclude South
Sudanese from formal education opportunities, a sit-
uation that also reflects a quality of education far
removed from the context of South Sudan. This
exclusion of South Sudanese from formal educational
opportunities further explains how lack of formal edu-
cation affected the ability of South Sudanese to
participate in government beneficially, or to yield the
positive externalities of an educated environment
which would generally have led to improved welfare of
the population in question [4].
The exclusion of Southern Sudanese from formal
education severely curtailed their access to schools-
legitimized their cultural suppression and social
exclusion. Furthermore, it lowered the retention rates
of Southern Sudanese at school, implying their ex-
clusion from skilled professions, from public service
institutions and political participation [4,12]. This
lends credence to the fact that in civil strife endemic
areas—(the lack of) education generates significant
negative externalities. Independence was eventually
brokered with the northern elites, who became the
new colonial power. Thereafter, Sudan slipped into a
17 year civil war that ended in 1972.
In the post-independence era—the northern Su-
danese elites and the Sudan central government effec-
tively used the educational apartheid paradigm as a
political tool, underpinned by Arabo-Islamism as the
cornerstone of national unity. The educational system
was tacitly used to undermine the religious and
cultural diversity of Sudan since recognition of diver-
sity was perceived as incompatible with the racio-
cultural equity of the southern part to the northern
part of the country. Islamization was used as a tool of
civilization with the aim of erasing "the pagan patri-
mony". This explains why Arabic came to replace
English as the language of instruction leading to
intense widening of the gap between north and south.
Additionally, apart from rewriting the history, Northern
Sudanese historians simultaneously erased—"the
Sudanese indigenous history" while the culture and
tradition of the latter "have never been imparted in
education policy since the dawn of independence in
1956" ([8] p. 2). During the four years preceding
Sudan's independence, less than 8% of children in the
South were in school, while the share of girls was
almost zero, compared to 20% of girls in the North
who were enrolled in all primary streams ([8] pp. 3
4). After self-autonomy in 1982, the Sudan central
government failed to provide adequate resources and
social and economic services further incapacitating
Southern Sudanese. With an estimated population of
20 million, primary school enrolment was 40% in
Northern Sudan, while it was less than 12% in
Southern Sudan. The 'Southern policy' of forging a
Sudanese identity for both the northen and southern
parts, which was based on the Arab-Islamic paradigm
with the educational system as the basis, led to
frustration and Southern Sudanese took up arms in
1982 agitating for independence with the hope of
establishing a more equitable and inclusive society.
At independence in 2011, the RSS was extremely
fragile due to decades of conflict with the Republic of
Sudan, partly over oil wealth. Prior to this date, since
independence in 1956 Sudan has been engulfed in
two major civil wars (1955‒72, and 1982‒present).
The country's new leadership is comprised largely of
former rebels who had often fought each other. Most
notably, Silva Kiir and his ex-deputy Riek Macher and
others split away from the main rebel group—the
Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A)
in 1991. The independence of the RSS has since been
only a lull as the rift between the protagonists Macher
and Kiir gets deeper and—intractable, inducing socio-
political and economic exclusion along ethnic lines,
commemorating—the political fractures that triggered
the RSS's fight for independence. The civil strife in the
RSS now exacerbates deep-seated ethnic animosities
and tensions. At independence the RSS was dismally
bereft of basic social services and infrastructure: the
outcome of decades of civil strife and decades of
neglect despite its huge oil and mineral wealth.
Corruption and nepotism orchestrated on regional and
ethnic lines remained rampant and widespread [13].
Although precluded from the United Nation's
Development Programme's (UNDP) Human Devel-
opment Index (HDI) due to data constraints, the 2006
Household Health Survey [14] and the 2009 National
Household Baseline Survey [15] provide some insights
into human development trends in the country. In
2009, infant mortality rates were 102 out of 1'000 live
births, a slight improvement from 131 in 2008 and
lower than rates for Burundi (106). In the same period,
under-five mortality rates dropped from 381 to 135
per 1'000 live births. These improvements were the
result of a slight increment in public expenditure for
primary health care and the temporary return of peace
following the signing of the CPA. This notwithstanding,
South Sudan topped the global maternal mortality chart
in 2009 with 2'054 per 100'000 live births, and the
lowest life expectancy in East Africa at 42 years.
Education and formal literacy levels remained
extremely low: only 27% of children over 15 years old
were considered literate (compared to 77% in Rwanda,
73% in Uganda, 70% in Tanzania, 62% in Kenya and
47% in Burundi). While the net school enrolment rate
was merely 48%, only 37% of the total population
above six years old had attended school. These trends
are attributable to long periods of internecine strife
during which there was an acute shortfall in the
delivery of public goods and services as well as to the
accompanying insecurity. Low literacy is further com-
pounded by poor access rates, inadequate educational
infrastructure and the potential increase in demand
for schooling with the return of refugees. The net
intake rate to the first year of primary school stood at
14.6% [16]. The pupil/teacher ratio was 52:1, the
pupil classroom ratio was 129 children per classroom
and the net enrolment rate stood at 48% ([17] p. 17).
South Sudan ranks at the bottom of all human devel-
opment indicators: 8 out of 10 persons live on less
than $1.63 a day; a net primary education enrolment
of 46%; a qualified teacher to pupil ratio of 1:117 and
a literacy rate of 27% [18]. Estimates of the female
illiteracy rate exceed 80%, it has the the world's high-
est maternal mortality rate, less than 100 kilometres of
paved road, suffers from the risk of increased violence
and harm to civilian population and permanent
humanitarian suffering [18] given the ongoing political
turmoil in the country. About 38'000 children under 18
years of age have reportedly been conscripted into
the army, forced labour or slavery over the past 15
years in Southern Sudan. These abductions have
eventuated into a demographic imbalance: a drastic
decrease in the number of males in the 20‒39 age
bracket when compared to females ([20] p. 1). The
country is bedecked by lack of basic services, poor
harvests, rising food prices, lack of jobs, lack of gover-
nance skills in public officials, corruption/nepotism in
public institutions and political domination [18]. The
country's economy is unhealthily dependent on oil that
guarantees 98% of GDP from which 35% of revenue is
spent on state security and security sector reforms and
7% and 4% respectively are devoted to health and
education [21]. Education in South Sudan is facing
several challenges: poor coordination of education ser-
vices, lack of national goals, policies and standards for
education, increased insecurity, frequent displacement
and the constant recruitment of male children by
warring factions as 'child soldiers'.
Compounding this situation and further threatening
the ephemeral peace with human security implications
is climate change that tends to exacerbate the
degradation of the environment—and lead to resource
use conflicts and pose both direct and indirect threats
to food security. In South Sudan, the duration and
timing of rain is becoming erratic. Rainy seasons are
increasingly not only delayed but also shortening at a
rate of 30‒40% [22]. As a result, the incidence of
drought and flooding are not only inevitable but are
increasingly becoming more frequent- temperatures are
rising in winter, often with disastrous consequences for
the population and the environment. These changing
rainfall patterns spell doom for rural farmers in par-
ticular and the population at large. Further conse-
quences of climate change include, but are not limited
to: cholera outbreaks, poor crop yields and late har-
vests, as well as severe crop losses. The drying of
permanent rivers is resulting in seasonal rivers, re-
duction of water tables in boreholes, delays and
shortening of rainy seasons. Simultaneously, some
regions are generally receiving less rain, and the
amount of water is dropping, leading to drought. The
reduction in rainfall has turned millions of hectares of
already marginal semi-desert grazing land into desert.
People have been forced to migrate and added
significant stress on the livelihoods of pastoral societies
as pastoralists and agriculturalists are at each other's
throats for access to scare natural resources. On the
other hand, some areas have more intense rain events,
driven by climate change, which contributes to more
run-off and floods, threatening food security and
settlements, and leading to diseases such as cholera.
The Sahara Desert is also expanding southwards [23].
The change in rainfall patterns has led to food in-
security, vast migrations and loss of animals, especially
cattle. Crops and livestock are threatened in a country
where about 80% of the population are cattle rearers
leading a pastoralist lifestyle. There is also intense
competition for natural resources which are increasingly
scarce due to global warming, leading to rapid defor-
estation, land grabbing, and tenure insecurity due to
resettlement of people returning to South Sudan after
the war, as well as high rates of land privatization. The
vicious cycle of multiple stresses "endemic poverty,
ecosystem degradation, complex disasters and conflicts,
and limited access to capital markets, infrastructure and
technology have all weakened people's ability to adapt
to changes in climate" ([23] p. 3, [24] p. 2).
Deforestation is accelerating due to wood being
collected for fuel, charcoal production, livestock, agri-
culture, bricks, and the collection of construction mat-
erials. There is also intense competition for portable
water between people and livestock, as well as
habitat degradation for livestock and wild life due to
vegetation degradation and desertification (most ac-
centuated in the North and Southeast). It has been
estimated that in the Upper Nile province, each
removed tree results in the deforestation of 0.03 ha
and that the annual use of charcoal of one family
accounts for 2.6 ha of deforestation in that area.
Furthermore, huge quantities of charcoal (60'000
bags) representing 2'700 hectares of deforested land
are also exported from the Renk County in Upper Nile
to Sudan ([22] p. 4, [37,38]). A study conducted by
the International Food Policy Research Institute
(IFPRI) found that temperature anomalies significantly
affect the risk of conflict. Through the prism of the
local weather in South and North Sudan between
1997 and 2009, the organization maintains that, in
the future, the risk of violent conflict caused by global
warming is expected to magnify in a range of 21‒30%
under a median scenario, while factoring in uncer-
tainties in both the climate projection and the esti-
mate of the response of violence to temperature
variations. The report further underlines that extreme
temperature shocks are found to strongly affect the
livelihood of violence as well, but the predictive power
is hindered by substantial uncertainty [22,23,25].
The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classi-
fication (IPC) analysis conducted in April and May 2014
in South Sudan indicates that a conjuncture between
conflicts, displacement, destroyed markets and dis-
rupted livelihoods has led to the deterioration of food
security since the outbreak of conflict in 2013. Most
people in the three most conflict-affected states of
Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei scored 4 on the IPC scale
of 5 showing an alarming increase in the number of
people in the IPC Food Security phase. Some 1.3 million
of the country's 11.5 million people are experiencing
emergency levels of food insecurity. Additionally, 2.4
million people are in the IPC Food Crisis Phase (scoring
3 in the IPC scale of 5) suggesting that they need ur-
gent assistance [25]. These figures indicate that more
than one-third of South Sudanese are facing excep-
tional levels of food insecurity. These figures further
suggest a conjuncture between widespread hunger,
and growing malnutrition, diseases, livelihood losses
and the likelihood of death.
The situation is likely to deteriorate as the food
security crisis spreads to previously unaffected areas,
except farmers are able to plant their fields, fishing
communities can freely have access to rivers and
water ways and herders can migrate between grazing
areas. Food secure communities are feeling the strain
of conflict as they experience the burden of hosting
internally displaced people. This has engendered con-
flict over scarce resources, leading to accentuated
environmental degradation [22,23,25]. The lack of
access roads makes intervention by humanitarian
agencies challenging, as most displaced communities
are increasingly being cut off by a vicious cycle be-
tween rains that bring seasonal flooding and inad-
equate access due to conflict. A cholera outbreak has
already claimed the lives of 23 people in Juba and
forced more than 670 others to seek treatment [26].
The surging and thriving of conflict is correlated
with low HDI and human insecurity. In the RSS,
human development and conflict are intertwined:
"War and violence pervade all aspects of human de-
velopment". The impacts may be direct, when people
are killed or injured. "Or they may be more indirect
conditions of insecurity blocking farmers from working
their lands, women from leaving their homes for fear
of sexual violence or children from attending schools.
The absence of peace constrains the choices and
freedoms of people. Peace provides the foundation for
life, human development and human freedom". Hu-
man security argues for placing the human individual
at the centre of security attention, rather than fo-
cusing on the rise or fall of state power alone. The
risks stemming from multiple threats to the human
individual and communities in (South) Sudan emerge
as a key means to understand and assess security
challenges, from violent conflict to lack of adequate
drinking water or access to medicines to manage
diseases. "Human security effectively serves as a
mirror of human development: while human devel-
opment as an approach focuses on expanding the real
freedoms people enjoy, human security ensures the
protection of these freedoms" ([27] pp. 18‒19).
The human security framework is underpinned by
the premise that high human development can help
generate conditions for peacebuilding by removing ec-
onomic and social injustice as a cause for grievance.
And that peace in turn can help to establish human
security conditions that further human development
achievements. This reinforcing relationship can break
the vicious cycle of low human development and con-
flict experienced in Sudan ([27] p. 19). Low levels of
human development and high levels of poverty and
inequality act as drivers of conflict. The lack of schools,
or poor education quality with thwarted aspirations and
high levels of unemployment can create a volatile pool
of disaffected young people. The population of South
Sudan is estimated at 8.3 million: 4 million (48.2%)
are female and 4.3 million (51.8%) are male. It
should be noted that a large proportion of the
population of South Sudan are still refugees living in
other countries. The population was estimated to have
expanded to 10.6 million by July 2012 due to the
return of refugees [17]. There is a high concentration
of the population in rural areas. The annual population
growth rate stands at 2.9% with a low population
density of 13 people per square kilometre. About 72%
of the population is aged below 30 years, 51% under
18 and 30% under 10. Most South Sudanese people
are young, live in rural areas. The CPA (2005) led to
the temporal restoration of peace, saw improved devel-
opment indicators, the return of refugees and improve-
ment in fertility and life expectancy. This has resulted in
increased demand for extra resources to deliver public
goods, especially in rural areas ([17] p. 8) where pov-
erty is a lived reality.
More than half of the population (50.6%) is con-
sidered poor. However, poverty is gendered with wo-
men accounting for 51.6% of those living below the
national poverty line of US$ 28 per month. Poverty is
accentuated in rural areas, home to nine out of ten
poor people. This is significant, given that 24.4% of
urban against 55.4% of rural people are considered
poor. The incidence of poverty varies across states:
three quarters of poor people are found in Northern
Bahr El Ghazal whereas, only a quarter of the pop-
ulation in Upper Nile are considered poor ([17] p. 9).
The geography of poverty in South Sudan is further
characterized by high inequalities in incomes. A huge
gap exists in consumption between the poor and non-
poor. The Gini-coefficient (a benchmark used to esti-
mate inequality) puts the gap between the poor and
non-poor at 45.5. Collaborating this estimate, the 2009
National Household Baseline Survey showed that con-
sumption per person in the uppermost 90th deciles of
the population was more than ten times that in the
lowermost 10 deciles and that on average, poor people
consumed about 25% more than the non-poor [14].
The existence of significant development disparities
between urban and rural areas is driving rural-urban
migration and growth in the informal sector, thereby
depriving rural areas of productive human capital and
exacerbating poverty.
Nevertheless, poverty and low human development
achievements are only partial causes for insecurity.
Colonial roots and environmental degradation also
play important roles. "Sudan might be the first site of
violence induced by climate change. The movement of
the Sahara desert up to 150 kilometres in some loca-
tions poses a severe threat to migratory groups or set-
tled population over dwindling resources. This makes
environmental stewardship a central concern for peace
and human development in Sudan" ([28] p. 20).
4. Education and the Liberal Peace Project
Critical scholars on peacebuilding are unanimous on the
need for social justice and welfare inclusion to the LPP
as a desirable emancipatory approach to achieve sus-
tainable civil peace in post war environments [7,29‒
32]. This is because post Cold War civil conflicts are
multidimensional. They involve tensions around ethnic
identity; the failure of legitimate or effective gover-
nance, discriminatory politics, widespread poverty and
socio-economic inequality between constituent groups,
war economies thriving on the capture and trade of
natural resources, and easy access to small arms and
light weapons [33‒34]. As a consequence, international
efforts at peace operations have evolved through four
generations: Peacemaking, Peacekeeping, International
Statebuilding into peacebuilding or the Liberal Peace
Project—LPP [2]. Boutros Boutros-Ghali first injected
the concept of Peacebuilding into the UN system in his
An Agenda for Peace, raising the need for multilateral
international interventions in conflict zones to effect
policy reforms beyond monitoring disarmaments and
supervising the implementation of peace agreements
among warring parties to effecting post conflict peace-
building [1].
From the 1990s, multilateral peacebuilding actors
assumed that "there is a universally agreed normative
and cultural basis for the liberal peace (model) and
that interventionary practices derived from this will be
properly supported by all actors" ([35] p. 111). Sub-
sequently, the international policy of post war recon-
struction emphasized peace agreements, security
sector reform, democratic institutions (constitution
building, elections, rule of law institutions, human rights
enforcement) and the installation of a free market eco-
nomic model in post-settlement Peacebuilding [29,36].
Unfortunately, about half of the peacebuilding missions
failed in about five years of liberal peace import, as
evidenced by recurring violence, and thereby raising
policy failure alarms [37], raising a need for the LPP to
move from institutional peace (non-violent status quo
based on anchoring post conflict states within the
normative and legal contexts of transnational organ-
izations such as the UN) and constitutional peace
(resting upon the establishment of democratic values
and free trade in post conflict states) to civil peace
founded on averting violence through immediate post
conflict state response to citizen advocacy and mobi-
lization for welfare needs and social justice [7].
Both its critics and its advocates argue that the LPP
paradigm is in crisis because it prioritizes building
government capacity (which tends to guarantee insti-
tutional and constitutional peace) that will deliver in-
clusive, social welfare services only in the future over
more immediate capacity building and instant service
delivery, which brings about civil peace [29,7,31].
Critics argue that liberal peace missions have largely
recreated states (Afghanistan, Somalia, Liberia, An-
gola, Haiti and even Cambodia) with weak domestic
governance incapable of providing public goods, poor
human rights records and contexts where the rule of
law is increasingly questionable and where conditions
for a relapse to armed violence are imminent [37,38].
Furthermore, lack of local ownership [36], close ended
time frames of liberal peace mission that conceive of
peace as a state of affairs rather than a dynamic
process and lack of strategic coordination and
inadequate attention to domestic tensions and local
context [29,38] have been invoked as the causes of the
failure of liberal peace. As a concept, the LPP connotes
provision of post conflict humanitarian assistance;
political, social and economic reconstruction; security
sector reform and international statebuilding. The LPP
is underpinned by conservative, orthodox and eman-
cipatory theories [7] but the practical methods for
achieving sustainable peace or civil peace in post con-
flict countries like South Sudan are elusive [32,7].
Robin Luckham, a key advocate of the eman-
cipatory approach to peacebuilding emphasises the
relationship between democracy, security and devel-
opment as being the cornerstone of global liberal go-
vernance. This relationship, he concedes, should
inform the conceptualization of the fourth generation
peace interventions [39]. Peacebuilding is thus—recon-
structed through local and international agencies, and
their mediation, to include institutions, rights, needs,
culture, and custom, from security, political, economic,
social welfare and justice perspectives dictated by the
internal context of the mission [40]. Commenting on
the fragility of the LPP in South Sudan, Ylonen suggests
that there is need for the peacebuilding interventions
and the South Sudan government to create political,
economic and social institutions that are inclusive as
well as providing wider access to welfare services [32].
However, the practical ways to deliver civil peace
through this emancipatory approach that guarantee
structures preventing a relapse into conflict have re-
mained elusive.
Since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)
to the independence (2011) and post independence of
South Sudan, peacebuilding has suffered from a lack
of local reception, a lack of durable participatory gov-
ernance and a frequent relapse into violent conflict
[32]. It has been argued that liberal peacebuilding in
South Sudan is detached from the internal reality
thereby making stability in the country fragile. Among
other things, "tangible development progress, such as
(the) building of hospitals or gaining access to quality
education, are seen as vital in establishing peace and
this realization needs to be at the heart of peace-
building activities" ([30] p. 10). Formal education—the
medium for imparting pedagogic instruction, shared
values, good attitudes and behaviours [41] is a social
welfare institution, a social justice mechanism for
marginalized and disgruntled groups and a locally
acclaimed means for the emancipatory approach to
the LPP to take root in South Sudan. In countries
emerging from wars, a well designed formal education
curriculum may ease psychological violence (fear and
hatred) in the minds of survivors and victors, helping
them to desist from being fanatics, or supporting ide-
ology that legitimize structural violence [42]. It must be
stated that formal education, in post war settlement
countries may make or mar new publics either creating
"a conglomerate of self indulgent consumers; (and)
angry soulless, directionless, hopeless masses; indif-
ferent,confused citizens; or a public imbued with con-
fidence, sense of purpose…respect for tolerance" ([43]
p. 18). This implies that the formal education curricula
in peace reconstruction countries like the RSS should
foster positive social relations, multiethnic integration
and community development.
A 1994 review of 98 country cases from 1960‒1990
by George Psacharopoulos shows that the private and
social rates of returns from primary education stand at
20.8% and 18.2% in annual returns of the initial
costs, reducing poverty and enhancing social welfare
for countries that opt for policies that broaden access
to primary education [44,5]. Moreover, post-primary
vocational training would yield social benefits (positive
externalities such as modernization and social inte-
gration of ethnic groups, improved civic engagement
and improved standards of living). In addition to
private gains (e.g. jobs, greater income, savings,
investments), formal vocational training will help
broaden the government revenue source and sustain
peace dividends and the production of public goods
for example, security and basic services [6]. We argue
that the private returns of education can be easily
measured in quantitative terms (e.g. in income or
contribution of taxes coming from such income to
government revenue or jobs that are created because
of training and its impact on Gross Domestic Product
(GDP). The Social returns of education are qualitative
in nature and it is common knowledge that for the
more literate populations of the North, it might be less
easy to persuade citizens into patronage politics. Such
citizens tend more than their uneducated counterparts
to issues of the day and engage into political and civil
life in more beneficial ways.
However, in its 2011‒2013 Development Plan, the
Government of South Sudan recognised that its
education and health indicators are among the lowest
in the world, reflecting the impact of protracted
conflict and limited provision of social services. Only
27% of the adult population is literate and less than
half of all primary-school-age-children are in school
(51% of boys and 37% of girls). The ratio of qualified
teachers to pupils stands at 1:117 [21]. Yet education
is positioned with regard to the budget as the last
priority area in its development plan. Apart from the
fact that external actors (foreign states and
intergovernmental organizations) commit inadequate
funding and capacity building to revive access to
quality education in South Sudan—6% of 2009 donor
funding [45,18], the new deal for measuring progress
in peacebuilding excludes education and only focuses
on legitimate politics, security, legal justice, economic
foundation and state revenues [45].
In fact, most international agencies "opted not to
support and facilitate the creation of a conducive
education policy environment but rather to work in
isolation under the pretext of supporting the com-
munity-based education initiatives". Also, the donor
communities have different perspectives to education
in conflict areas. While the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) supports edu-
cation in South Sudan, other donors have taken a
rather lukewarm attitude towards education ([8] p.
11). This is the case even when education has been
recognised during civil war as a right for all children
as well as a need that must be met. Such arguments,
following Sommers have 'tugged more at the heart-
strings than the purse strings of major international
donors' ([46] p. 24). While USAID supports basic
education, other international donors have been pre-
occupied with the misplaced view that education is a
luxury in emergencies and not a humanitarian need
([47] p. 9). As a collective responsibility, the provision
of education to all children despite prevailing con-
ditions calls for coordinated efforts and actions even
in situations where international NGOs do not nor-
mally work [46]. One of the ingredients that ignited
war in Sudan was the marginalisation and exclusion of
South Sudanese through the education system, which
eventually led to deep differences in political and
economic relations between North and South Sudan.
Education promotes global human values and citizen-
ship both in peace time and during civil wars.
The dark cloud of interethnic conflicts in the history
of South Sudan suggests that peace accords that do
not target the structural causes of conflict—exclusion
from social welfare services, domination or suppression
of ethnic identities, centre-periphery inequality, conflict
over resources, intra-elite competition and brute causes
or criminality risk- relapsing into a cycle of violence
[48]. If accountable institutions are not in place to
guarantee immediate socio-political inclusion, social
welfare and economic equity for the majority of her cit-
izens, a country risks not attaining durable or civil peace
but an unstable institutional and constitutional peace.
5. International Intervention and the Quest for
Durable Peace
The historical causes of conflict in South Sudan
(categorized as 'new war') may seem intractable [34]
but the internal causes of regular post-settlement
violence suggest that statebuilding priorities retain ma-
jor elements of the structure of political power that
undergird the historical past of the RSS [49]. In
prioritizing this statebuilding, the LPPs in the RSS are
undermining durable peace in the country.Schomerous
and Allen's incisive review of the LPP in the RSS
reached the same conclusion ([30] p. 10). International
peacebuilders use the orthodoxy approach of the LPP:
prioritizing internationalization of the RSS by habit-
uating new political norms that tend to reflect con-
ditions and benchmarks of global governance insti-
tutions, promoting values like accountability, trans-
parency, separation of powers and elections. To sustain
liberal peace in the RSS, however, the National Demo-
cratic Institute (NDI) recommend that these inter-
ventions would have to consider concomitantly more
emphasis on "better access to services that leads to
improvements on the quality of life and guarantee peace
dividends" to marginalized and politically excluded
groups ([50] p. 71).
Table 1. Key areas of conflict addressed by international interventions.
Reform of justice and
security institutions
Culture of justice, truth
and reconciliation
Good governance Socioeconomic
Reintegration of
demobilised soldiers is
Uncertainty about the
future and false
North/South disparities,
and intra-South
Status of the Three
Areas. International
attention diverted from
the Three Areas.
Undeveloped police and
justice systems
Hardening of ethnic
Tensions around
centralisation and weak
structures at State levels
Migration of armed
pastoralists (this has not
featured in 2005);
discontented and under-
employed youth
Incomplete disarmament
among the population
Unresolved issues of
access to natural
Lack of representation Returnees want access to
resources. Return
destabilies communities
Source: ([51] p. 43).
Table 1 shows the orthodox approaches of multilateral
interventions like the UN and bilateral (largely, the US)
promotion of liberal peace. The bolded areas of inter-
vention in post conflict Sudan are indicated on the
figure including the following: reintegration of soldiers,
development of police and justice systems, addressing
tensions around centralization/weak state structures
and the reintegration of returning refugees do dom-
inate the LPP in the RSS. However, these peacebuilding
endeavour must be pursued at the same time with felt
needs of the local communities if peace is to be sus-
tained. By comparing what international peacebuilders
pursue, what the Government of the RSS pursues and
the funding priorities of the main actors of peace-
building, we discover a gap between the international
objectives of legitimating the new state and the actual
local needs for sustainable peace. As Roland Paris
rightly warns, while "immediate democratization and
marketization" (stable market democracies) of war-
shattered states is good wisdom, hastily resorting to
this process is likely to be counterproductive: "market
democracy is not the miracle cure for internal conflict".
Political and economic liberalization is an inherently un-
settling process. It can instead aggravate social ten-
sions and undermine the prospects for stable peace in
the fragile post-war conditions typical of countries just
emerging from civil war. Good wisdom dictates that
post-conflict peacebuilding begins with the estab-
lishment of a network of domestic institutions that are
capable of dealing with the unfettered effects of
democratization and marketization, as well as the grad-
ual phasing in of political and economic reforms at the
appropriate time. For this to be effective, peacebuilders
must refrain from the unrealistic view that war-torn
states can be rehabilitated over night ([29] p. 14).
Figure 1. Funding priorities of the RSS (GoSS) versus funding priorities of international peacebuilders.
Source: ([51] p. 3).
Figure 1 shows how peacebuilding funding to some
basic services such as water and education easily
elude international intervention in post conflict Sudan,
despite the felt local need of access to these services.
When this figure is cast against the wider Government
of South Sudan (2010) budget, security accounts for
35% of the country's expenditure, basic services like
health and education account for 7% and 4% respec-
tively and rural development accounts for 3.4% of the
budget [18]. From the perspective of the emancipatory
approach to liberal peace, the RSS was increasingly
being set for relapse into violence because of the lack
of peace dividends and adequate social welfare among
marginalized and rural communities emerging from
conflict. Returnees expected better levels of services,
non discrimination along tribal lines (or Dinka
domination) and deconcentration of development in
Juba. Without these, and as predicted by Afro-
barometer [51], the local masses have been constantly
anticipating violence. Politicians have continued to
develop power bases centered on ethnic identity which
eventuated into the crumbling of the current existing
negative peace as of 15 December 2013.
International intervention into peacebuilding in
Sudan has largely been a top-down process aimed at
replicating westernity without regard to local context.
The current LPP approaches highly prioritize cen-
tralized urban political institutions over heterogeneous
local needs and preferences, which retard the bringing
about of peace that the citizenry wish for themselves
leading to authoritarian peace that narrows down
political participation of citizens in elections. To guar-
antee durable civil peace in the RSS, Oliver Richmond
suggest that orthodox peacebuilding must depart from
the LPP and focus on "how one can move beyond
hegemonic, authoritarian peace towards an everyday
notion of peace sensitized to the local as well as the
state and the global… and resting on a just social
order and solidarity" ([40] p. 109).
6. The Local Context of Social Welfare Exclusion
and the LPP in South Sudan
Afrobarometer's survey on what legitimizes a demo-
cratic society showed that 89% of respondents pointed
to basic needs provision (water, food and shelter) while
75% want "democracy to deliver … education, ... more
strongly ... they insist on regular elections, majority
rule, competing political parties or freedom to criticize
the government" ([52] p. 2). Similarly, a survey of
Southern Sudan by the NDI reported that the move for
secession from Sudan is "to avert domination of Arabs
and that independent Southern Sudan will be
more prosperous" ([53] p. 7). This implies that the
fragility of the democratic institutions in the RSS that
translates into frail liberal peace is wanting from the
perspective of delivering immediate improvements in
the socio-economic sphere.
Afrobarometer's survey of nineteen African states
undergoing peacebuilding in 2008, found out that 66%
of the populace saw their government's economic
policies as not benefiting, but instead worsening the
standards of living of the poor. Also, 50% of survey
respondents opined that their local government insti-
tutions were illegitimate, using revenues for private
gain rather than providing public services [54]. This
suggests that in a country recovering from conflict like
the RSS, the attainment of durable peace can tend to
be fragile.
In a bid to graduate from an orthodox to an eman-
cipatory approach that leads to durable peace in the
LPP, it has been suggested that governments that have
weak institutions must concentrate on providing public
services such as security in poor neighbourhoods and
in local markets. Also, the government in such a
situation should concomitantly assess what needs con-
stitute, as well as what local populations' perception of
peace dividends is [55]. This implies that international
intervention in South Sudan's LPP would best yield