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Framework for security architecture in a sub region in transition - challenges and prospects
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  • 1. Framework for Security Architecture in a Sub-Region in Transition: Challenges and Prospects1 By J. ’Kayode Fayemi, (kfayemi@cddnig.org) Centre for Democracy & DevelopmentAddressing Africa’s conflict and prospects for a security architecture requiresbroadening notions of security and developing multi-faceted responses. Fourpillars of peace and security are central to this process:1) Human security as a bedrock for peace;2) Deepening democratic and open governance to prevent conflict and build peace,3) Transformation of violent conflicts through political processes, and;4) Collective security for all African states.PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES TO REGIONAL SECURITYCOOPERATION• Legacy of Westphalian sovereignty• Regionalism without common values• Regional hegemony• Regionalism as leaderism in which regional integration is only happening at the level of leaders without permeating the consciousness of the people;• Regionalism as formalism in which a wide array of institutions have been created with little or no capacity to manage them• Regionalism as an externally driven, not a people driven projectCONTEXT OF REGIONAL COOPERATION IN THE LATE 1980s1 Being notes prepared for presentation at the African Centre for Strategic Studies’ Southern AfricaSub-regional Seminar in Maputo, Mozambique on September 26 , 2002. 1
  • 2. Whilst regionalism is not new in Africa, a number of factors seem to havepromoted the virtues of regionalism amongst African leaders and peoples in thelate 1980s and early 1990s. The peculiar context of the 1990s definitely redefinedthe nature of both politics and conflict. Triggered by both external and internalfactors, the crisis of hegemony and legitimacy of the average African state foundrefuge in the attempt to seek a common response to the problems at home. • Shifts in global and geo-political power relations, in particular the end of the cold war and the retraction of the imperial security umbrella, allowed former client regimes to be challenged in ways unimaginable in the past; • The retreat of the superpowers placed greater prominence on the role of and competition between regional powers in conflict and conflict management; • Conflict parties (both governments and rebel groups) previously supported by superpowers had to turn to new sources of funding, including the exploitation of natural resources and criminal activity (drugs, etc) making them potentially less amenable to external pressure; • New particularistic forms of political consciousness and identity, often structured around religion and ethnicity, replaced the extant ‘universalistic’ debates between ‘capitalism’ and ‘socialism’ that had underpinned the Cold War, reinforcing the erosion of a sense of common citizenship fostered by state contraction and popular disillusionment with politics; • Erosion of the institutional capacity of the average African state, the most profound aspect of which was the decomposition of the security apparatuses, affecting the ability of the state to ensure the security of the state as well as that of the community. 2
  • 3. • African states were subjected to multiple sources of pressure that eroded their sovereignty: from above, the cooption of crucial areas of policy initiative by the IFIs and a variety of donor agencies: from below – the activation of civil society and the increasing power and resources controlled by the non-governmental sector • Loss of centrality of the state as a consequence of contracting resources and capacity to deliver essential services, with various implications for its ability to act as the centre of social cohesion as well as for perceptions of citizenship; • State militarism, which became the progenitor of the psychology of militarism, loss of a culture of dialogue, implanting a culture of violence, and discouraging peaceful conflict-resolution and process of change. • The increasing availability and privatisation of the instruments of violence, transforming the military balance between state and society. Massive retrenchment and growing surplus of military assets globally, simultaneously with a breakdown in supply-side and demand side controls on global arms markets and (locally) recycling of decommissioned weaponry as most of the wars of the 1980s wound down. • New forms of violent national and trans-national crime.RECORD OF THE 1990s DECADE • Varied state of democratic transition underscoring the importance of democratising security to prevent conflict and build peace • Values and norms of governance have become more prevalent in West Africa • While the economic situation remains fragile, overall economic performance in Africa has actually improved marginally, relative to the 1980s 3
  • 4. • Regionalism has taken much firmer root, crowned recently by the launch of the African Union and introduction of NEPAD • Regional and sub-regional conflict management mechanisms put in place as Africans strive to develop an autonomous capacity to handle their conflicts in spite of the inherent challenges of regionalism (West Africa is a pioneer in the field); • In spite of some form of international assistance, Africans are increasingly at the centre of the emerging geo-political realities – with ACRI, RECAMP and other supporting initiatives acting as back up – ANAD merger with ECOWAS on the security field is an indication; the sense of an Anglo-French rivalry in West Africa seems to be disappearing; equally the prevalent perception of a Franco-Nigerian rivalry is beginning to disappear although there are still governments and actors keen to promote these ‘divisions’. The evidence both in trade and security terms seem to suggest otherwise. • There is now a widespread acceptance of the need to re-conceptualise ‘security’ in a more responsive direction with a move away from the traditional emphasis on national/state security to a focus on ‘human security’, with an expansion, concomitantly in the cope of the concept from its minimalist meaning (as in physical security) to include access to the means of life, the provision of essential goods, a clean and sustainable environment, as well as to human rights and democratic freedoms. A key aspect of this is the increasing linkage drawn between security and development, on the one hand rooting insecurity in conditions of underdevelopment, and on the other, the recognition that security is an essential precondition and component of development – as well as a growing tendency to see defence and security as both a public policy and a governance issue (thus broadening the range of constituencies that can participate legitimately in this formally highly restricted arena.RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BUILDING REGIONAL SECURITYARCHITECTURE IN AFRICA 4
  • 5. Whilst certain advances have been made in promoting and entrenching regionalsecurity cooperation over the last decade, a number of hurdles clearly remain ifwe are to move beyond elections. They include, but are not necessarily limited tothe following key elements:• Subscription to and institutionalisation of core regional values and norms – constitutionalism, promotion of rights based development, fundamental freedoms, security as a public good etc;• Promoting long term conditions for security and development through the search for promoting livelihood and poverty reduction strategies;• Adopting a peacebuilding approach to human security – reducing conflict by promoting governmental and non-governmental approaches;• Entrenching democratic governance of the security sector which establishes a clear role definition for security services and enhances professionalism of the sector;• Promotion of values of accountability and transparency in governance;• Building the capacity of African institutions for early warning, as well as enhancing their capacity to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts;• Strengthening developmental regionalism through regional mechanisms that can help sustain democratic development and consolidation in response to the rough edges of globalisation• Establishing the parameters of genuine global partnership – Role clarification between sub-regional bodies, African Union, United Nations etc.Whilst it is difficult to be prescriptive about the framework for securitycooperation in Africa, it is gratifying to note that most of what I have stated inmy list above are fully reflected in the recent documents approved at the AfricanUnion Summit in Durban, especially in relation to NEPAD and in the sub-regional mechanism with which I am most familiar, ECOWAS.The challenge is one of achieving and promoting the values of ownership,participation, open and transparency accountability, fundamental freedoms andthe rule of law and implementation of agreed principles, rather than structures. 5
  • 6. As can be seen from the organisational translation of the ECOWAS Mechanismfor Conflict Prevention, Peacekeeping and Security in Figure 1, West Africa isrelatively advanced in its creation of structures and institutions in aid of regionalpeace and security, than any other sub-region on the continent. Some of theinstitutions are functioning, albeit with limited capacity and this progress isbased on the lessons learned from the limitations of ad-hocery in the ECOMOGoperations in Liberia and Sierra Leone.CONCLUSIONLooking at West Africa, where a lot of advances have been made in thepromotion of regional norms and values, there is still a sense in which the feelingof disillusionment is widespread with the current state of regional securitycooperation. Indeed, the unfortunate occurrence in Cote D’Ivoire reinforces theimpression in some circles that despotic peace may be better than democraticfreedom. It would be sad if this view were to gain widespread acceptance, butthe fact that the regional body is not quick off the mark in responding to theIvorien crisis underscores the need for a rapid deployment force that can act onthe side of humanitarian intervention and restoration of order. Although this isprovided for in the ECOWAS Mechanism, there are still questions of mandate,political acceptance, composition, military capability and accountability to beovercome.What this clearly leads us to is the overriding importance of responsible politicsand responsive leadership in building regional security cooperation. Until we getboth, the best that can be hoped up remains hegemonic regionalism, which maykeep the peace, but hardly promotes fundamental values of ownership. 6