Before Rights and Responsibilities: An African Ethos of Citizenship

Onazi, Oche (2014) Before Rights and Responsibilities: An African Ethos of Citizenship. In: African Legal Theory and Contemporary Problems: Critical Essays. Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice (29). Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 153-172. ISBN 9789400775367, 9789400775374

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The concept of citizenship lies at the heart of many problems in contemporary Africa. The dichotomy between indigenes and settlers, the focus of this chapter, is one such difficulty. It has provoked some of the most violent conflicts in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and very recently, Cote d’Ivoire. The chapter demonstrates how African jurisprudence – particularly with its emphasis on human ontology – can contribute to a concept of citizenship capable of responding to this and other problems. The chapter uses the indigene and settler dichotomy as a methodological device to question what citizenship means today, and also, whether it yields to a proper understanding of the kind of moral values fundamental to societal co-existence. Going much further than this, the chapter argues that situating citizenship in an African jurisprudential context can encourage the most fundamental moral values central to what it means to live an ethical life as a citizen. The implication is that, when African jurisprudence is applied to citizenship, it does not place citizens at a threshold above aliens, foreigner’s, legal or illegal immigrants. African jurisprudence specifically shows that our moral obligations to each other precede, as the title of the chapter suggests, citizenship rights and responsibilities.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Participation, Political Community, Moral Virtue, Illegal Immigrant, Human Interdependence
Subjects: M100 Law by area
M200 Law by Topic
M900 Other in Law
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2020 12:48
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 11:48

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