AbstractThis paper examines the state of civil-military relations and the prospects for demilitarisationand democratisatio...
Beyond Presentability: Civil-Military Relations and the Future of Democratic                                Consolidation ...
when the results expected do not fit the eventual outcomes. A good example of this is thetrade-off hypothesis popular in s...
exacerbation by the state and the militarism of decision-making processes. Of the severalcountries that democratised durin...
in part, as the inevitable consequence of the acute nature of internal contradictions and thenear total absence of any med...
The Legacy of ColonialismTied to the challenge of the military psyche has been the military’s colonial legacy and anunders...
of the colonial period, there was a sense in which this ought to have been expected. Theinvolvement of the military in cou...
responsible for the demise of the few civilian, democratic governments and the incipientreturn of military ‘democrats’ und...
any country, which must of necessity be subject to periodic review. By overextending itsresponsibilities beyond defence du...
based projects with good opportunities for rent seeking, the experience and clout gained frommere participation in such ac...
strong Togolese Armed Forces (FAT), only 3,000 are from the southern part; of the 10,000from the North, 7,000 come from th...
With the end of the Cold War came economic globalisation and trade integrationxviii –factors that have, ironically, deepen...
democratic consolidation in West Africa. In the aftermath of the Cold War and with theexacerbation of internal conflicts, ...
holistic solutions to the root causes of conflict must be found by drawing the necessarylinkages between underdevelopment,...
fraudulent ‘re-election’ of President Eyadema in 1998, have all benefited, in part, from theabsence of leadership by examp...
SOURCES: IISS, Military Balance,(1989-1995), UNDP, Human Development Report,(1990-95) World Bank, World Debt Tables (1989-...
For example, Nigeria’s consistent commitment to regional peacekeeping might havearisen from the unresolved tensions at hom...
Redefining the Mission and Role of the Military       If militarisation is to become less significant, then the military m...
perceived as a threat to the military establishment may have stemmed from thedemystification process carried out by the la...
over the years. For example, there are still ten non-elected seats he unilaterally allocated tohimself and his subordinate...
of agreeing an appropriate role for the military can only be successfully achieved in a climateof sustained dialogue.     ...
found, they are not necessarily more important that the structural issues. Yet, political issuesare structural.        If ...
The desperate need to negotiate a process of reconciliation (Argentina/South Africa) orrestitution (South Korea) between t...
Africa’s recent experience with a degree of enthusiasm without necessarily losing thesymbolism of sovereignty.       The q...
following tasks essential to the confidence building process and we are developing initiativesalong these linesxxxvii :1. ...
v    Robin Luckham, “Democracy and the Military: An Epitaph for Frankenstein’s Monster?” Democratization,Vol.3, No.2.Summe...
xxvii        For the reach of Nigeria’s drug barons, see Philip Van Niekerk, “South Africa’s Drug Explosion”, TheLondon Ob...
Diamond, L & Plattner M (eds), Civil-Military Relations and Democracy, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UniversityPress, 1997).Fa...
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Beyond presentability civil-military relations and the future of democratic consolidation in west africa

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Beyond presentability civil-military relations and the future of democratic consolidation in west africa

  1. 1. AbstractThis paper examines the state of civil-military relations and the prospects for demilitarisationand democratisation in contemporary West Africa. The underlying thesis that informs thearguments in the paper is that West Africa poses some of the greatest dilemmas to theprospects for demilitarisation in Africa. At the same time, it offers a potentially useful peacemechanism for regional security with implications for (de)militarisation in the Africancontext. While the paper recognises the historico-structural dimensions of militarisation aswell as the behavioural obstacles to demilitarisation, it captures the challenges and prospectsin terms of the complexity of the State-civil society relations and suggests a holisticunderstanding of security. This, it does with a view to de-emphasising force as the keymechanism for conflict resolution and promoting an inclusive institutional framework for thedemilitarisation and development agenda. 0
  2. 2. Beyond Presentability: Civil-Military Relations and the Future of Democratic Consolidation in West Africa.* By J ’Kayode Fayemi**Introduction Militarisation is a multi-dimensional process containing phenomena such as rearmament, the growth of armed forces, an increasing role for the military in decision making process, an increasing role for force in conflict resolution and the spread of` militaristic values. In general…militarisation is a process whereby the ‘civilian’ sphere is increasingly militarised towards a state of excess, usually referred to as ‘militarism’ (Hettne, 1988,18)It is no exaggeration to say that the West African region presents Africa with some of itsgreatest challenges to demilitarisation today. In reviewing the current security situation inAfrica and, exploring the relationship between militarisation, armed conflict andunderdevelopment, an understanding of the security challenges of demilitarisation in theregion should help illuminate our assessment of the prospects for solutions. If one takes theincidence of conflicts in the region, the increased flow of arms, the activity of private armies,the prime place occupied by force in conflict resolution and the continued influence of themilitary in the political-decision making process as the militarisation index, West Africa isone region that ought to worry observers deeply. For conceptual clarity however, demilitarisation is understood to be both a qualitativeand quantitative concept in this paper. It is therefore its central premise that althoughdemilitarisation in all its ramifications constitute an essential feature of establishing a stablecivil-military relations, economic development and therefore democratic consolidation, therecan be distorting consequences especially when demilitarisation is reduced to a bean-counting exercise. The academic and policy implications of this can be negative, especially 1
  3. 3. when the results expected do not fit the eventual outcomes. A good example of this is thetrade-off hypothesis popular in studies on disarmament and development, even when there isevidence that a decrease in defence expenditure does not necessarily translate to an increasein social spending.i In West Africa where political leaders have been known to pursue“guns” and “butter” objectives, military spending does develop a life of its own, mixed in itsoverall impact and autonomous of overall national spending. Often times, reduction inmilitary spending leads to non-consumer defence spending, not increased expenditure on theproductive aspect of the civil sector nor on long-term social welfare spending like educationor health.ii The caution here is that demilitarisation should not be seen as a set of technicaland administrative arrangements that automatically flow from post conflict reconstructionefforts, but part of complex political processes which must address the root causes ofconflict.iiiThis paper therefore looks at the material base of militarisation as well as its behavioural andsocio-cultural dimensions, in our recognition of the need for a holistic approach to security,democratisation and development. To enable us synthesise the structural and the symptomaticissues relevant to the militarisation-demilitarisation debate, conflict is examined at thepolitical and psychological levels. Since the issues involved cannot be captured simplythrough a theorisation of historical experiences premised upon the separation of the“domestic” and the “international”, the “economic” and the “political”, the demilitarisationdilemma is also seen in terms of its global, regional, national and sub-national complexities.Primacy is however given in our analysis to the state-civil society relations in West Africa;how state power relates to the key economic and social forces in the affected societies. Thisway, militarisation would be properly contextualised and the problems and prospects ofdemilitarisation in Africa would not be reduced to a number crunching exercise.The Paradox of Democratisation and Demilitarisation in West AfricaThe experience of Africa, a decade after the post-cold war “third wave” democratic dawnunderlines the enormity of the task of demilitarising politics and ensuring a stable civil-military relations in a democracy. Although African countries are democratising in the formalsense, they are not democratic. Although significant strides were made in the areas of civil-military relations and reduced military expenditure, it may be misleading to speak ofdemocratic governments if by this it is understood that the formal end of authoritarianstructures also marks a definitive break with past patterns of rights abuse, conflict 2
  4. 4. exacerbation by the state and the militarism of decision-making processes. Of the severalcountries that democratised during the past decade however, none can as yet boast of aserious movement beyond the formal legitimisation via “free” and “fair” elections. Hence,General Eyadema could brazenly rig elections and usurp the powers of the electoralcommission in the belief that the essential defining feature is his declaration as a winner inelection, rigged or not. The tendency in the international community is to often support thesefundamentally flawed processes on the strength of the risk of instability if it didn’t. Given theauthoritarian character of the democratisation processes in these countries, and to the extentthat stability and security have now replaced erstwhile concerns about the nature of rule andthe rights of citizens to choose their rulers, several scholars like Diamond, Mkandiware andOlukoshi have criticised these new democracies as electoral, illiberal or pro-formademocracies. West Africa, which appeared to have led the democratic reform agenda in theimmediate post cold war era, seems to typify this obsession with elections as representingdemocracy. In the past five years, the region has regressed to one of “home-grown”democraduras, quasi-dictatorships, personalised autocracies, pacted democracies, stolenelections and endless transitions.iv A cursory glance at the West Africa region will shownominally civilianised ex-military rulers/warlords in Burkina-Faso, Ghana, the Gambia,Niger, Togo, Benin, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Chad and Liberia, “debilitating democracies” inCote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Cameroon and Mauritania and a full blown military dictatorship inthe region’s largest country – Nigeria. Even in Mali, originally seen as a strong beacon ofhope for democratic consolidation, things are now beginning to look a bit uncertain. An essential feature of peace-building and conflict management is often the degree towhich consensus can be achieved among parties in conflict. In situations where electionshave become the sole “legitimate” means of consolidating political exclusion and disguisedauthoritarianism, opposition’s responses have often resorted to other means of challengingthis dominant tendency; and this could be a potential source of domestic instability,especially in countries where the nationality question is yet to be resolved to the satisfactionof all players. In a sense, this is the paradox of the democratisation-demilitarisation complex.On the one hand, asking authoritarian governments with little or no answers to theircountries’ economic and social problems to demilitarise would only be seen as politicalsuicide. On the other hand, advising those excluded from the political process to put theirfaith in “electoral democracy” on a field stacked against them only promotes the efficacy ofmilitary power. The militarist option now prevalent in the West Africa region must be seen, 3
  5. 5. in part, as the inevitable consequence of the acute nature of internal contradictions and thenear total absence of any mediating mechanisms for managing conflict and seeking enduringresolutions. There are however other challenges that must be taken into account in assessingthe future of demilitarisation on the continent. These challenges are discussed below.The Challenge of the Military PsycheIn spite of the rather pessimistic picture painted above, military disengagement from politicsis still the important first step towards democratic reform, even if it does not equate withcivilian, democratic control. Indeed, from the evidence available, demilitarisation of politicshas widened the space within which concrete democratic reform is possible and sustainable.Even so, a complete overhaul of politics from its military roots, especially in a body politicthat has become so atomised and, in which the symbols, values, and ethos of the military arereplicated by large sections of the civil-society, still appears difficult to attain.v Given theprevailing political culture bred by three decades of militarisation and authoritarian control,perhaps the greatest challenge is in dealing with the psychology of militarism and the aura ofinvincibility that this has created. As the introductory quotation indicates, it is quite possibleto have militarism in a state without the military in power. As recently noted in a jointconference report by the ECA and GCA, “in some African countries, political transition hasinvolved a reconfiguration of political, economic and military elites, rather than an openingup of the political system and broadening of participation.”vi Indeed, this is more likely to bethe case if the ‘new democrats’ come from a military background as the situation largely is inWest Africa where what we have are “shadow military states”, rather than democraticcountries. The post cold war array of non-state actors who have set up rival factions to challengethe militarised State is the result of this mindset. The same can be said of child soldiers whohave exchanged their school pens and pencils for rifles and grenades and university graduateswho have dropped their diplomas for military commission. A critical task therefore inconsolidating democracies and rebuilding stable civil-military relations is reclaiming themilitarised mind, which has been fed by a deep-seated feeling of social exclusion.Traumatised by violence and prolonged existence under military and authoritarian structures,the tendency to have a low regard for civilians in societies where traditional norms and therule of law have little or no meaning is very high. Violence has therefore become theacceptable means of communication. 4
  6. 6. The Legacy of ColonialismTied to the challenge of the military psyche has been the military’s colonial legacy and anunderstanding of the colonial character of the military is a crucial factor in the determinationof the praetorian instincts of several West African armies. The history of many of thesearmies can be traced from the small mercenary forces that had been used to establish Britishand French rule in West Africa.vii The nationalist leaders of the pre-independence era saw thearmy in West Africa as a reactionary force being the legitimisation force of the Colonialpower. They were convinced that it couldn’t be trusted in the task of nation building. Sincemany of these nationalist leaders went on to become the leading figures in the post-colonialstates, there was always a deep seated suspicion among them and the people they governedthat the military was an institution to be wary of, if the process of co-optation failed. Inaddition to this was the perception of the military establishment as the place for drop-outsfrom the popular professions like Medicine, Law, Commerce, Teaching and PublicAdministration. Given the long history of interaction with the metropolitan force and its crucial role inthe victory of the allies in World War II, Africans in the colonial armies developed a moreconfident political and social outlook that did not exclude direct involvement in politicalaffairs. As Michael Crowder argued: Africans had fought alongside white men, killed white men, seen brave Africans and white cowards, slept with white women, met white soldiers who treated them as equals, or who were like themselves, hardly educated….Above all, having fought in the defence of freedom, they considered it their right that they should share in the government of the land [my emphasis]viii Yet in spite of the above and the latent suspicion of the army as colonial andreactionary by the nationalist leaders, the post-independence army remained essentiallycolonial in character. For a long time after independence, there was little or no attempt toarticulate and codify defence policies in any of the countries involved. In no time, themilitary soon became a pliant instrument of the ruling elite in post-independence Africa.Since the Post-colonial State inherited, and in most cases expanded the hegemonic tendencies 5
  7. 7. of the colonial period, there was a sense in which this ought to have been expected. Theinvolvement of the military in coups d’etat for much of the last three decades resulted, inpart, from some encouragement from politicians who had found themselves excluded in thecompetition for power, and quite often those regimes that had depended on the military fortheir political survival. Having discovered its own indispensability to the political society,and spurred on by the modernisation theories of the period, the place of the military wasenhanced in civil society much to the detriment of the civilians. The consolidation of thearmy’s place in society was partly facilitated by the fact that it controlled all the instrumentsof coercion and radiated order amid disorder and chaos. For example, the near totaldependence of the Tolbert regime on the Armed Forces of Liberia during the 1979 Rice Riotshas been cited as a major factor in the eventual overthrow of the Tolbert regime? Legitimacywas therefore bought with that control, even at a time the wider civil society saw the militaryas an occupation forceix. This historical situation was later to be compounded by the allpervasive ignorance of the military that enveloped the political and civil society, especiallyamong the ruling elite.The Challenge of an Ignorant Civilian Political EliteThe deep resentment exhibited against the military by the civilian political elite arising fromits colonial antecedents and the military’s post-independence involvement in politics resultedin a civilian elite that remained on the one hand dependent on the military for survival, and onthe other hand, ignorant about the military institution.. Even when civilians are in charge,knowledge of the military is at best of times, sketchy and at worst, virtually non-existent.Any close study of civilian governments’ defence policies and practices in West Africawould immediately reveal the reluctance to develop independent knowledge about thesociological underpinnings of the military institution. The inability of the civilian politicalelite to challenge military judgement on operational as well as security issues aided themilitary in the struggle for political power. In the regional behemoth – Nigeria, for instance, the military has always preyed onthis lack of public knowledge, which has in turn precluded the development of a civilian,strategic understanding of the operational requirement of accountable armed forces. In effect,since the military has been responsible for both operational and policy control over defenceand political matters, there was no alternative, countervailing system to scrutinise itsdecisions. This lack of effective oversight is perhaps the single most important factor 6
  8. 8. responsible for the demise of the few civilian, democratic governments and the incipientreturn of military ‘democrats’ under various guises in West Africa. The military profession,like any other, finds it difficult to respect a Commander-in-Chief or a Defence Minister wholacks a basic understanding of the institution, yet this is more often than not the situation inmost West African democracies. The experienced Defence Minister in Ghana, AlhajiMahama Idrissa recently referred to the difficulty of penetrating the cordon of secrecy thatcontinued to surround the Armed Forces in Ghana, after 13 years as head of the DefenceMinistry.x In Nigeria, during the second republic, the Minister of Defence was generallyclueless about the decisions made by the military, and had no independent means of assessingmilitary judgements placed before him. In short, the military maintained virtually totalcontrol over military decision-making process.xi The question of civilian ignorance is largelyreplicated across the board among political elite in West Africa. Ironically, when civilians choose to study the military, this is often left to thetechnocrats and the academics who wield no political power to ultimately effect significantchange. The need to invest the Defence ministry with considerable political power and theadministrative and political leadership with institutional knowledge is crucial to earning therespect and confidence of the armed forces. The challenge remains one of overcomingcivilian political elite’s historical reluctance to become the source of countervailingmachinery capable of subjecting military led policy to critical scrutiny. In any situationwhere the civilian political elite does not take the task of formulating military policy oncontrol seriously, the vacuum is often usurped by the military, which ends up presenting thecivilian leadership with repeated military fait accompli. At the level of the executive, theparliament and the civilian bureaucracy, the consciousness to direct policy must be regainedand sustained in the same way this has happened in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay tomention a few countries that have moved from prolonged military rule to democracy.The Challenge of a MissionIn addition to the lack of effective oversight from the civilian political elite and the generalpopulace must be added the overarching absence of a clear and identifiable military missiontied closely to its traditional duties and professional training. The threat of a military withouta mission therefore becomes real in countries where the military is caught in the duality ofresponsibility for political and defence matters, which is not unusual in several West Africanstates. Ideally, military missions are determined largely by objective security threats faced by 7
  9. 9. any country, which must of necessity be subject to periodic review. By overextending itsresponsibilities beyond defence duties or redefining its defence duties to include otherelements like nation-building and internal security, the efficiency of the fighting force isinevitably undermined. There is no doubt that the professionalism of soldiers has had its ownsetbacks due to their involvement in politics. The political usurpation of military talents, forinstance, has been shown to be bad in areas where the military is now needed to function likea fighting force.xii Although some countries in West Africa have armies with a finereputation in their commitment to international peacekeeping duties, the same soldiers havebeen found wanting on such missions largely because of the disorientation that automaticallyflows from bad military leadership. Yet, international peacekeeping seems to offer thesolution to the challenge posed by a lack of mission for a military out of government sincethis is one role that is not far removed from its primary duties of defence of territorialintegrity and state sovereignty. Since no country in West Africa faces any huge external threats, one would expect themilitary to redefine its role and mission to accommodate the changing geopolitical realities.However, for a military that has always been in search of a mission to justify its place in thebody politic, the search has, ironically, led the institutions to engage in unnecessary foraysinto areas with little or nothing to do with the protection and defence of their countries’territorial integrity. Objective security threats have therefore assumed the perception andrealities of the ruling elite with little attention paid to explaining the nature of the state andthe complexity of the State-civil society relations. The effect of this has been a situationwhere only the ‘ideas of the ruling regime have become the ruling ideas’ in terms of nationalsecurity, thus concentrating on the best way to enhance regime security under successivemilitary government. To this end, military professionals are provided managementexperience and rent-seeking opportunities through the running of bureaucracies, special taskforces, internal security, humanitarian and disaster management as well as social welfareprojects and those with a more ‘foundational’ objective, like the Rawlings military regimeuse this as a means of creating popular support via organs like the APDCs which later formedthe template for Jerry Rawlings’ nominal return as a civilian president. While it may be superficially correct, as some scholars have argued that providingrent-seeking opportunities for the military in a civilian democracy may help curb theirinterest in direct governance, and consolidate democracyxiii , there are serious implications inat least two broad areas for sustainable civil-military relations in a democracy. First, becausethe ruling military elite has now acquired extensive experience running all kinds of civilian 8
  10. 10. based projects with good opportunities for rent seeking, the experience and clout gained frommere participation in such activities have eroded any notion of the military being anaberration in civilian administration. Second, as Louis Goodman argues, “a real danger existsthat involvement of the military in alternate missions may lead the military to neglect its coremission by failing to maintain combat readiness.”xiv Although there is often an attraction, especially among civilians to encourage militaryinvolvement in developmental roles in civil society, as has been the case in countries likeTanzania, Ghana and Senegal – and these countries seem to enjoy a fairly stable civil-militaryrelations, it is my contention that this notion poses enormous danger to the objective ofdemilitarising the political society. At the root of that danger remains what to do withauthoritarian enclaves left behind by ex-military rulers especially where these enclaves aredetermined to frustrate the consolidation of democracy in societies that have just emergedfrom prolonged military cum authoritarian rule.The Challenge of Ethno-nationalism and GlobalisationIn the overwhelming crisis that has engulfed post-cold war Africa, the nation-state is caughtin between the paradox of ethno-nationalism and globalisation. Both reduce the prospects fordemilitarisation and democratisation in West Africa. During the cold war era, traditionalpower politics ensured the integrity and primacy of the nation-state and the state monopoly ofviolence was taken for granted. With the increasing challenge to the existing system ofnation-states, the military has become a pawn and a player in these latest developments. Inthe event, weapons accumulation has become diffuse and demilitarisation, which was largelydependent on state conduct now, has sub-national actors to contend with. At the level ofethno-nationalism, the military has become in many West African states an instrument of theethnic struggle for power. The perception is strong that West African armies are theconclaves of certain ethnic groups associated with the ruling elite, civilian or military. In itsrecent assessment of civil-military relations in Africa, the US-based National DemocraticInstitute has confirmed that ethnic tensions are more prevalent and exacerbated withinAfrican militaries or in relations between the military and civilian leadership.xv According tothe study, of particular concern is the “politicisation of ethnicity within African armies”which creates “an imbalance of membership of the armed forces as a whole and/or in thecomposition of special units.” In Togo, approximately 90 per cent of the members of thearmed forces come from the same ethnic group. According to Lida Moise, of the 13,000 9
  11. 11. strong Togolese Armed Forces (FAT), only 3,000 are from the southern part; of the 10,000from the North, 7,000 come from the Kabre ethnic stock of President Eyadema. Of the 26units in the command, a Southerner supervises not a single one.xvi In other countries where the ethnic cleavages do not appear as striking, there is stillthe perception that the military is not an equal opportunity profession. The ChristianAssociation of Nigeria recently raised alarm about what it perceived as the lopsidedrecruitment of more Moslems into the Nigerian army. This perception was reinforced by thecreation of the Special Bodyguard Service – a countervailing power-centre set up by the lateGeneral Abacha and virtually dominated mostly by recruits from General Abacha’s ethnicgroup. The domination of the Krahn elements in Liberia under President Doe, whichcontributed to the loss of confidence in the objective control of that army, has become anissue in post-conflict Liberia. In spite of the provisions of the Abuja Accords that ECOMOGshould supervise disarmament and restructure the Liberian Army, the current government hasasserted its right to carry out the restructuring. All the armed factions have opposed this as itis suspected that this is an attempt to ensure that the restructured army is essentially PresidentTaylor’s army. Even in countries where the army on the surface appears to be ethnicallybalanced, there is a strong perception of ethnic bias in special units set up primarily forregime security. In Ghana for example, there exists the apprehension that Ewes, PresidentRawling’s ethnic group, dominate special units like the 64th Commando. In addition to the challenge of ethno-nationalism is the international dimension to thecrisis of governance in the region – commonly known as globalisation. The collapse ofcommunism encouraged the notion that proxy wars propped up by the superpowers will fadeaway, if not totally disappear in Africa. Such optimism may not be unfounded since it is truethat global military expenditure has plummeted and indeed Africa’s share of it has declinedon an average of 1.3% during the last ten years. However, as the recent tragedies in Tanzaniaand Kenya have shown, Africa is still a proxy zone for conflicts to which African countriesare only peripherally linked. Yet, to posit a strong relationship between arms reduction andpolitical stability, between demilitarisation and development and between arms control andthe cold war, must be an examination of the relationship between arms procurement andauthoritarian regimes, weapons accumulation in Africa and capital accumulation in theindustrial world; structural adjustment programmes and arms procurement, militarisation,militarism and arms reduction as well as the tortuous democratic experiments in Africa, andtheir impact on the future of arms races in the next millennium would amount to a superficialtreatment of the issues in question. xvii 10
  12. 12. With the end of the Cold War came economic globalisation and trade integrationxviii –factors that have, ironically, deepened economic problems in new democracies, weakeningthe nation-state and exacerbating ethno-jingoism as a result. Poverty remains the greatestthreat to democratic consolidation in Africa today. The overriding majority of the Africanpopulace is completely detached from the democratisation process and there is littleindication that their lot will be improved under democratisation. Departing authoritarianregimes bequeath a poisoned chalice to their democratic successors, who sometimes havevery little time to understand the depth of the state crisis, before the contradictions betweenthe State apparatus and the civil society come to a head. The ruling democrats thus resort tothe same instruments of coercion as a means of safeguarding regime security and capitalistdevelopment. The Structural Adjustment Programmes undertaken by virtually every state inthe region is the best example of this phenomenon. SAPs correlate to repression in its usualdemand for devaluation, de-subsidisation, de-nationalisation and deregulation, all of whichare possible only in an atmosphere of absolute suppression of citizens’ rights. Promoted bythe same international financial institutions (IFIs) that argue for ‘good governance anddemocracy’, there is little doubt now that these policies promoted internal social inequalities,and, consequently increased political tension. This served to consolidate instability andauthoritarianism rather than democracy since the political stability required for direct foreigninvestment makes the use of force commonplace, and militarisation inevitable. There is a sense in which the current militarisation in West Africa must be seen as afunction of a dominant elite cartel comprising of arms manufacturers, mineral exploiters,corporate mercenaries and Africa’s authoritarian governments and warlords as junior partners– people who believe that dependent capitalist development must by its very nature beauthoritarian for it to pursue unbridled profiteering with military despatch. The most evident example of the way this cartel functions is the upsurge in theactivities of private peacekeepers, light weapons proliferation and the linkage to resourceexploitation in troubled West African states. In exploring the causes and potential cures ofconflict in Africa, the United Nation’s Secretary-General – Mr Kofi Annan recently referredto “interests external to Africa”, who “in the competition for oil and other precious resourcesin Africa continue to play a large and, sometimes decisive role, both in suppressing conflictand sustaining it.”xix The Secretary-General also referred to the role of international armsmerchants in African conflicts”, and “how access to resources by warring parties…hashighlighted the impact that international business interests can have on the success or failureof peace efforts.”xx This has wider implications for the demilitarisation agenda and 11
  13. 13. democratic consolidation in West Africa. In the aftermath of the Cold War and with theexacerbation of internal conflicts, the region has witnessed the rise of corporate mercenaries,a phenomenon, which poses a mortal danger to the survival of democracy in the region.Ironically, in a globalised world in which public interest in international peacekeeping haswaned considerablyxxi , the security vacuum created is now effectively occupied byunregulated private military armies often linked to international business interests intent onresource exploitation in countries in conflict. The affected countries are also often those inareas of no strategic importance to the great powers. This increasing legitimisation of the roleof mercenaries by established governments and multilateral institutions, has come under asharper focus by the recent revelation of the linkage between Sandline International – aBritish private military organisation, the British Foreign Office and the ousted civiliangovernment in Sierra Leone. Interestingly, Sandline shares its London premises withDiamondWorks – a Canadian owned diamond prospecting corporation with majorconcessions in Sierra Leone, and one of DiamondWorks’ Directors, Mr Tony Buckingham isthe founder of Sandline International. These linkages are replicated in several instances inother parts of Africa, especially in Angola and Mozambique.xxii In spite of these ulteriormotives in the activities of private security organisations, opinion remains divided on theirdestabilising influence and some analysts still view them with a degree of altruistic mission inconflict management and peace building.xxiii The incidence of light weapons and small arms proliferation is closely linked to theprivate security firms operating in Africa and it also poses a serious challenge to thedemilitarisation agenda in West Africa. This has been the subject of debate in multilateralcircles in recent times. For example, a Panel of Government Experts appointed by the UN’sSecretary-General identified uncontrolled availability of small arms and light weapons asboth a causal and exacerbating factor in Africa’s conflicts. According to the panel, not onlydid the weapons contribute to “fuelling conflicts but also exacerbating violence andcriminality.”xxiv For the long term stability of any democracy transiting from prolongedmilitary/authoritarian rule, changes in the military, security and defence structures areimperative and they must examine comprehensively the challenges posed by these variousaspects of the weakening nation-state in the era of globalisation. In policy specific terms,solutions to the upsurge of mercenaries on the continent must be sought through therevamping of existing legislation both at the OAU, and UN levels whilst ECOWAS isencouraged to legislate against the involvement of private armies in conflict. Ultimately, 12
  14. 14. holistic solutions to the root causes of conflict must be found by drawing the necessarylinkages between underdevelopment, instability and the presence of mercenary operations inthe region. To this end, there is a need to critically assess what the new forms of privatemilitary activities on African territories mean for African security.xxvThe Nigeria factor in the Demilitarisation and Democratisation Agenda in West AfricaBeyond the challenges to a successful demilitarisation programme already identified, onechallenge that is particularly unique to West Africa is the position of Nigeria in all of these.The demonstration effect of continued military rule in a strategic country such as Nigeria inWest Africa impinges significantly on the future of demilitarisation and democratisation inthe region. With a quarter of the entire African population - a population roughly equal to thecombined total of its fifteen west African neighbours, a military that is by far the largest andbest equipped in the region, and an oil wealth unmatched by any of the neighbouringcountries - Nigeria has been the source of envy and pride to most African countries. In itsgood days, its resources have provided, and in some cases - still provide the pivot forcommon good in the region. Hence, put in the simplest of terms, if Nigeria disintegrates, sowill regional security. As the military regime in Nigeria tightens its grip on civil society, it is bound to givemore confidence to other praetorians in the region waiting in the wings to upset the fledglingdemocratic culture. This can happen in a number of ways, but the most worrying source isthrough the contagion effect of its coup culture, already prevalent in the sub-region, or as aresult of the refugee crisis a descent to anarchy in Nigeria is bound to trigger. Just asapartheid South Africa affected the security and stability of the entire Southern Africanregion, there is little hope of consolidated democracy or a leadership focus on demilitarisationin West Africa without a democratic and demilitarised Nigeria. Already, Nigeria’s descentinto crisis is having a wider impact in West Africa in particular, and Africa in general.Although there is no conclusive evidence of its involvement in the 1994 military coup inGambia - it is hard to dispute that inspiration for the coups in the Gambia and Niger havebeen drawn from the presence of a military regime in Nigeria. The transformation of the twomilitary rulers – Yaya Jammeh and Barre Mainasara into civilian presidents received moreexplicit support from the Nigerian rulers. Equally, it is arguable that the ‘election’ of General Kerekou in Benin republic in1996, the re-election of Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings of Ghana in December 1996 and the 13
  15. 15. fraudulent ‘re-election’ of President Eyadema in 1998, have all benefited, in part, from theabsence of leadership by example in the most significant country in the region that candissuade coups d’etat and brazen transformation from military fatigues to civilian garbs in theregion. Commendable as Nigeria’s efforts in Sierra Leone and Liberia might appear, thedemocratic reversals which seriously threaten regional stability overwhelm these successstories. The fate of democracy in Nigeria not only impacts significantly on the rest of the sub-region, but it is also inextricably tied to the sustenance of democratic development elsewherein the region. This explains why tackling the narrowness of the democratic focus inindividual countries within the region without dealing decisively with the situation in theregional hegemon - Nigeria amounts to a superficial treatment of the regional crisis – whichmay prove costly for existing fledgling democracies in the region. THE REGIONAL MILITARY & SOCIO ECONOMIC BALANCE OF POWER – 90 -95Country Population GNP ME ME/GNP % ME/CGE % (millions) ($USbillion) ($USm)Nigeria 100.2 39.1 402 1.1 4.4Cote d’Ivoire 13.3 6.7 87 1.5 5.2Ghana 16.2 5.3 37 0.8 4.7Senegal 8.2 3.7 89 2.4 8.2Burkina Faso 9.6 1.8 54 3.0 17.6Mali 8.6 2.0 34 1.9 4.7Niger 8.4 1.5 17 1.1 5.6Guinea 6.2 3.0 47 1.6 7.1Benin 5.0 1.4 27 1.9 15.4Togo 4.0 1.0 29 3.0 11.6Chad 5.2 0.8 56 3.5 6.4Mauritania 2.1 0.9 36 4.0 14.2Sierra Leone 4.4 0.7 22 3.5 14.4Liberia 2.6 NA 36 NA NAThe Gambia 1.0 0.4 13 3.5 17.5Guinea Bissau 1.0 0.2 8 3.6 8.2 14
  16. 16. SOURCES: IISS, Military Balance,(1989-1995), UNDP, Human Development Report,(1990-95) World Bank, World Debt Tables (1989-95) Brian MacDonald, MilitaryExpenditure in Developing Countries (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1997). Nigeria, which is supposed to act as a countervailing force to countries intent ondestroying the brittle fabrics of democracy in the region, just like the trio of South Africa,Zimbabwe and Botswana did in stopping a coup in Lesotho in 1995xxvi , is now widelybelieved to be exporting its coup culture to the rest of the region. There are strong argumentstherefore that a democratic Nigeria can only help improve the democratic credentials and thequest for international peace in the region. There are other negative security implications forcontiguous states. Already, as a result of the porous borders that permeate the region,financial fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking, and arms smuggling into every part ofthe region now constitute major security problems.xxvii The Nigerian contingent, whichformed the bulk of the ECOMOG peacekeeping force in Liberia - is now seen as an army ofoccupation, rather than a peacekeeping force in that traumatised country.xxviiiDesigning a Holistic Security Agenda for Demilitarisation and Democratic DevelopmentRethinking Regional Security Mechanism for Peace-building. Caught between the extremes of supra-nationalism as represented by globalisation,and the reactionary sub-nationalism that has been exacerbated by the politicisation ofethnicity, regionalism offers the best panacea for the weakened nation-state in West Africa.Indeed, it would appear that any prospect for demilitarisation and democratisation in WestAfrica must build on the tender fabrics of regionalism if it were to have any chance ofsuccess. Given the declining external security threats and the need to curb the rising tide ofinternal strife, the promotion of a professional peace-building mechanism within the globalframework of preventive diplomacy would seem critical in the region. The last decade inWest Africa has witnessed the strengthening of regional autonomy, especially in its conflictmanagement capacity. Although seen in several circles as a standard feature of Nigeria’s sub-imperialist agenda, there is a strong perception of ECOMOG as a potential mechanism for aneffective conflict management model in Africa.xxix Yet, regional autonomy can be influencedby national and sub-national factors. They are also susceptible to super-power influence andcontrol, which may be opposed to the goals of demilitarisation and democratic consolidation,especially if the latter does not offer the required stability for capitalist development. 15
  17. 17. For example, Nigeria’s consistent commitment to regional peacekeeping might havearisen from the unresolved tensions at home. Ironically, the concentration on the pacificationof sub-regional threats resulted in a simultaneous neglect of internal threats. Although therecognition of internal threats as the most serious in the region may question the necessity ofa standing army, our overall perspective still supports a standing, peace-keeping army withinthe region whose role is clear and measurable, but whose size reflects the identified needs ofthe States involved in the regional peace-keeping mechanism. Yet, in rethinking regionalism, we must go beyond the pro-forma creation of a peace-keeping force that remains technical in form and content only. For regionalism to be aneffective antidote to globalisation and ethnicisation – it must permeate the nation-state in amore deeply rooted manner. Otherwise, if the current non-state actor challenges to the nationstate in West Africa is a measure of what to expect in the future, then the prospects fordemilitarisation is slim, if not non-existent. It is for this reason that a recognition of thenecessity for a multi-dimensional understanding of security without a re-orientation ofsovereignty undermines the search for a holistic security agenda. In arguing for areorientation of the sovereignty concept in the sub-region which de-emphasises colonialartificial boundaries, the motive is not territorial revisionism. Instead, we are revisiting theterritorial state where the artificial boundaries have formed the legitimising force for arresteddevelopment in several states that are just juridical entities in name only. Translated to asustainable security agenda, it is safe to argue in favour of a confinable West-Central Africasecurity and development mechanism, but one that is properly structured, rather than a victimof ad-hocery as ECOMOG. If a structured mechanism is available and deployable at amoment’s notice, it should be possible to convince small states like Sierra Leone and Gambiathat the protection of their territorial integrity does not necessarily depend on a standingarmy, if there is a standing peace-keeping command to which they too can contributesoldiers. A systemic change of the type that we are suggesting requires extensive work. Agood place to start might be a review of the ECOWAS Defence protocols and similarprovisions from other parts of the world; developing a peacekeeping model with anaccountable command, control and information system, developing the necessary linkagesbetween security, democracy and development in the regional integration process and,finally, conceptualising an architecture of conflict management for 21st Century Africa inwhich militarism and militarisation are less significant.xxx 16
  18. 18. Redefining the Mission and Role of the Military If militarisation is to become less significant, then the military mission needs to beredefined. Within the context of the identified challenges, the entrenchment of the WestAfrican militaries in all aspects of civic and economic life makes their eventual permanentremoval an area that will demand considerable skills. This will have to be done by assuagingtheir fears about their future in a post-military dispensation and finding an appropriate roleand mission for those left behind in the institution, in terms of maintaining their professionalautonomy. Equally important will be the need to develop a civilian, democratic defencepolicy expertise and create the necessary opportunities for networking and dialogue betweenmilitary representatives and the civil society. As much as possible, the military must berestricted to its traditional external combat role as a means of strengthening civil-militaryrelations. If it must get involved in any internal security operations, then proper criteria mustbe drawn up for evaluating the involvement of armed forces in non-combat operations. At alltimes, the unifying theme in all of the political elite negotiations is the determination to assertcivilian (not necessarily democratic) supremacy and oversight and the subordination of themilitary to objective civilian control. Looking at the experience of countries emerging fromprolonged military rule to civilian, democratic politics, the experience is not uniform. Insmaller countries like Costa Rica, Panama and Haiti, they succeeded in getting rid of theirstanding armies. In bigger countries with some regional influence like Indonesia, Philippines,Thailand, Pakistan, South Korea and Bangladesh, the military retains a significant influencein the post-military state. In other categories, (in Latin America and the Russian republic. Forexample, there are consolidating democracies where the military is still actively involved inpolitics and others where armed forces have moved from completely ‘satrapic’ orientationinto stable, conventional roles. The military in Poland would qualify as an army that is nowfully comfortable in its new conventional role. In all of these cases, there are still problems with creating stable civil-militaryrelations where roles are clearly defined and missions fully worked out. But the fact that themission has been refocused, especially in countries like South Africa, Argentina and Polandgives real cause for hope that military obstacles to sustainable civil-military relations are notinsurmountable. The consolidating democracy in South Korea, for example, seemed to havesucceeded where others had failed by seeking reconciliation via accountability for pasthuman rights abuse. Two former heads of state were sent to life jail for their role in themassacre of student demonstrators in the early 1980s. The recent election of a candidate 17
  19. 19. perceived as a threat to the military establishment may have stemmed from thedemystification process carried out by the last regime, even though the deteriorating economycontributed to the success of the left-wing president elect, Kim Dae Jung, who eventuallyreleased the convicted former Heads of State as a gesture of reconciliation. So far, what theSouth Korean example seems to show is that Faustian bargains with some progressiveelements within the military constituency may be inevitable in order to deal with thechallenges of demilitarisation and/or in the quest for consolidated democracy. However, suchpacts should be dependent on whether they guarantee the complete subordination of thearmed forces to the democratic authority completely, and not to either individual officers orinfluential military cabals. Nor should pacts be engineered for the consolidation of personalautocracies in exchange for military privileges, which precludes the military from beingaccountable to democratic institutions. The positive developments in the above countries notwithstanding, the experience ofcountries where the military has become so entrenched in the body politic gives much causefor worry about how successful the agenda for sustainable relations with the military can bein West Africa.xxxi This is especially so when one confronts the inevitable issue of amnesty oraccountability for human rights and political abuse committed by successive militaryauthorities, especially in Nigeria, but also in Sierra Leone, the Gambia, Ghana and Liberia.To take the example of Argentina and Chile, one can only be cautiously optimistic about thefuture for democratic consolidation. After seven years of democratic restoration in Chile,General Pinochet’s grip on the military has blocked every effort to punish human rightsabuses of his seventeen years rule as Chilean Head of State. Through his preserved core ofhard right supporters, some of whom describe him as the greatest ‘visionary’ Chile has everknown, the elected Chilean government headed by President Frei has not been able toexorcise the terrible ghosts of those repressive years. This represents a benchmark of failurefor those who fought for democratic reform, although some argue that there is wisdom inexercising some patience for General Pinochet to leave the scene. For all practical purposes,he remains the undemocratic spirit guiding Chilean democracy? But the question stillremains to be answered: Can there be an acceptable balance between truth and justice, canthere be reconciliation in traumatised society without restitution and reparation?xxxii Although General Pinochet has now stepped down this year as Commander-in-Chief,a position he retained in 1990 after giving way to the democrats, the octogenarian’s influencestill runs deep within the civilian, political structure of the country, not just because heremains a Senator for Life, but also as a result of the ‘authoritarian enclaves’ he established 18
  20. 20. over the years. For example, there are still ten non-elected seats he unilaterally allocated tohimself and his subordinate Generals in the Chilean Senate. With this power base, he has xxxiiimanaged to sabotage any attempt to try the army for past misdeeds. The Chileanscenario definitely leaves a sour taste in the mouth of many about the future of anyconsolidating democracy in the West African sub-region, given the fact that some states inthe region are already adopting similar measures. Senegal’s democracy is, to all intents andpurposes, a replica of this, if one considers the place of the military in that dispensation.Equally, given the evidence in Nigeria that efforts to militarise society for the eventualtransformation of military rulers into ‘elected’ civilian rulers are continuing apace withentrenchment in other sectors, the threat of the authoritarian enclave must worry closewatchers of political transition and economic development in the region. In Ghana where theruling NDC government is now trying to address the constitutional term limit which barsPresident Jerry Rawlings from contesting in the next election, there are genuine fears aboutthe possibility of a democratic reversal in the year 2000. How these various strands ofdemilitarisation are untangled and resolved has implications for the future of democraticconsolidation in Ghana and democratic development in the rest of West Africa. One can’thelp but recall that it was the changes to Liberia’s constitution, which blocked all thelegitimate avenues of ousting President Samuel Doe which finally convinced his opponentsof the need to resort to other means of ousting him. The country is still reeling from thenegative impact of that seven-year civil war.Ensuring Civilian oversight and Military autonomy on professional military matters Provided the overall case for regionalisation is acceptable to the affected states, theother issue for consideration at the nation-state level is the separation of operational andpolicy control over broad defence matters such as size, shape, organisation, equipment,weapon acquisition and pay/conditions in the services on the one hand, and administrativecontrol over the services on the other. The point has been made earlier about how the lack ofany expertise on the part of elected civilian authorities has prevented effective oversight ofthe various arms of the armed forces. Any redirection of the defence policy process willinevitably require a different kind of expertise, which must be a mixture of civilians andmilitary professionals. To sustain this, there is a need for a significant thawing processthrough changes in relationships between the military and civilian political elite, and asignificant increase in contacts between opinion moulders and the outside world. The process 19
  21. 21. of agreeing an appropriate role for the military can only be successfully achieved in a climateof sustained dialogue. Presently, contact is virtually non-existent, or just on a social basis and in anunstructured manner. In introducing civilian expertise however, care must be taken not tosubstitute military incompetence in a political setting with civilian inexperience, neithershould power be given to technocrats who are not wholly accountable to the electorate. Ifcivilian control is to be democratic, it must empower those who have political platforms tolead the confidence building relationship. This is not to suggest however that professionalcivilian expertise is unnecessary in these countries. In fact, a possibility worth exploring isthe creation of a Strategic Cell that may serve in an advisory capacity between a civilianpresidency and the military professionals. At all times, the military should not be left toconduct its affairs without ‘interference’, at least not in terms of broad policy formulation, butpolitical elite should leave the military alone in designing wholly operational matters in areaswhere the broad policy questions have been settled. In ensuring civilian supremacy and ademocratic pattern of civil-military relations, the civilian leadership in a post military statemust help the military with the definition of the role it must play in a clear and precisemanner. As much as possible, this must be restricted to its traditional external combat role asa means of strengthening civil-military relations. If it must get involved in any internalsecurity operations, then a proper criteria must be drawn up for evaluating the involvement ofarmed forces in non-combat operations.Resolving the Challenge of Ethno-Nationalism in recruitment The resolution of the highly volatile question of recruitment is only possible to theextent that the nationality question is resolved in individual countries. Various militaryregimes have used the strategy of ethnic favouritism as a safety valve for survival in office.While this is a political problem that cannot be resolved on a rational basis, central to theissue of military recruitment pattern in terms of military professionalism ought to be threecentral questions: Should armed forces in a democratic dispensation be an equalsopportunities institution? Should it be a combat effective, battle ready force recruited fromthe most able in the most rigorous and competitive manner? Should the manner ofrecruitment matter – if the training is standardised and geared towards bringing out the best inevery recruit?xxxiv Although the above are the rational questions to which answers must be 20
  22. 22. found, they are not necessarily more important that the structural issues. Yet, political issuesare structural. If good personnel are at the core of any effective military organisation, the concernabout representation is a legitimate one, especially in ethnically diverse societies where thearmed forces are seen as key instruments of national integration. If the military is notinclusive and broadly representative of the religious, ethnic and geographical configurations,the process of confidence building and conflict management mechanisms will be significantlyhampered. Getting recruitment wrong from the outset has implications for the level ofdiscipline, attrition rate and the organisation’s institutional cohesion in the long run, all ofwhich must be situated within the context of the perceptions and misperceptions bred byethnic, religious and geographic domination. Therefore, attempts at demilitarisation andstable military relations must ensure a balance between merit and equal opportunity. Thiscan only be done in a situation where the military is not seen as the fastest route to politicalpower, but as a professional institution serving the interests of all citizens. What becomes ofutmost importance within this context is what the military mission is, what objective threatsevery nation faces? What are the necessary force levels, rather than manpower levelsnecessary for the accomplishments of the missions arising from the threats envisaged? Arethe personnel procured for and retained in the armed forces suitable for the types of missionsthe military may be called upon to perform? Are the manpower levels cost-effective, andmost importantly, does the institutional recruitment process procure individuals that arewholly dedicated to their military duties in a democracy? Another way this has been addressed is through compulsory military service. Incountries like Tanzania and Senegal, that have experienced long years of stable civil-militaryrelations, compulsory military service is an integral part of their armed forces. Besides, thiscan also complement the task of demilitarisation and demobilisation because armies in thismould tend to be political in orientation, even when they refrain from partisan politics. Amuch reduced, but highly mobile deployment force within a streamlined recruitment processcan still achieve a credible deterrent doctrine in many countries in West Africa whilstaddressing the huge concerns about ethnic monopoly with the democratisation of militarytraining and discipline. These are crucial issues that must be addressed in trying to deal withthe question of demilitarisation in a holistic and democratic manner.Resolution of Human Rights Issues as a key plank in the demilitarisation process 21
  23. 23. The desperate need to negotiate a process of reconciliation (Argentina/South Africa) orrestitution (South Korea) between the military and the civil society that takes account what isin the long term best interests of human rights and fundamental freedoms remains theultimate neuralgic issue in countries emerging from prolonged authoritarian rule. In severalcountries in West Africa where the military has had a long and chequered history of politicalintervention and human right abuse, citizens are insisting on a reconciliation or restitutionmechanism for dealing with the past. The idea of assuaging the fears of the military by adeclaration of amnesty poses a serious challenge to the strengthening of stable civil-militaryrelations. Equally, the approach in some countries of literally hauling everyone connected toa military regime to jail without adequate investigations of their role is fraught withlimitations in countries seeking genuine reconciliation. Ultimately, the question must beasked, as others must have asked themselves in Chile, Argentina and Philippines: Whilerestitution may be a necessary, even cathartic exercise, in terms of a sustainable, civil-military relations, it might exacerbate tensions rather than attenuate them in conflict riddensocieties. Indeed, some will argue that one key reason why ex-military rulers turned-nominally-civilian presidents are reluctant to vacate the seat of government is this fear of theunknown when ‘enemies’ take charge of government. This is one of the areas where the rightbalance must be struck between the search for immediate justice and the need for long termstability. It is difficult to see a situation where abuses can be wished away if democracy is tobe sustainable, in the long term. Countries that are emerging from prolonged authoritariandispensation must examine mechanisms for dealing with this major problem area in seekinglong-term demilitarisation strategies.xxxvConclusion and Policy RecomendationsFrom the foregoing analysis, militarism and militarisation still pose a major problem in WestAfrica. We have tried in this paper to integrate the broad issues with the specific concernsthat relate to the subject of demilitarisation and democratisation within the context of aweakening nation-state. In suggesting the structural mechanisms for de-emphasising force inconflict resolution, the paper recognises the futility of violent challenge to ethno-nationalisticresponses to domination. Caught in the vortex of rampaging globalisation and ethno-nationalistic responses to domination, the weakening nation-state must recognise the value ofaccommodating a high degree of autonomy and decentralisation if it is to remain a viableunit. Equally, the nation-state must see the process of regionalisation, especially given West 22
  24. 24. Africa’s recent experience with a degree of enthusiasm without necessarily losing thesymbolism of sovereignty. The quality of political leadership will ultimately make adifference in straddling these difficult strands. The ‘political’ military has always preyed ondivisions among the civilian political elite; in several instances it has actively promoted thesedivisions in the ranks of the political and civil society, only to use this as an excuse tointervene. It is common knowledge that some civilian political leaders have in the past eitherparticipated actively or encouraged the military to stage coups against their opponents. Thisnot only undermines the fragile political system, but also destroys military professionalism.That is why the clarity and quality of the post-military leadership will necessarily determinehow these complex issues are resolved in a sustained framework. Before then, scholars of public policy on democratisation, demilitarisation and civil-military relations must address issues that are germane to the eventual consolidation ofdemocracy by recognising that the process is a marathon, not a dash. The major task is thesearch for a stable and sustainable civil military relations and democratic consolidation inWest Africa. If this search is holistic, it may not necessarily result in cost-savings in militaryexpenditure since the bulk of it is spent on personnel and recurrent areas in Africa, than oncapital products like weapons. Even if the personnel is downsized, resettlement andreintegration in civil societies also cost money, and could be more expensive than retention,in some cases. Neither will the search automatically lead to the elimination of standingarmies – the ultimate peace dividend expected in the post cold-war era – especially wherethere are no guarantees that the territorial integrity of the states in question can be protectedby other mechanisms. The search is likely to help create more democratic and accountablemilitaries whose needs are subjected to a wide and varied debate both within the military andin the larger civil society. The inclusive nature of the process is bound to affect theperceptual problem that the military is faced with when dealing with the civil society whilstensuring that the knowledge of political leaders on the military is more than peripheral. Theprocess leading up to the Defence Policy formulation in post-apartheid South Africa remainsa good example in this regard.xxxvi To assist in the process of achieving the above in West Africa, the Centre forDemocracy and Development is working on the development of an institutional frameworkfor the understanding of the military, the articulation of a new mission and in the promotionof sustained dialogue process between the military and the civil society – all of which areaimed at promoting the goals of security, democracy and development. We consider the 23
  25. 25. following tasks essential to the confidence building process and we are developing initiativesalong these linesxxxvii :1. Given the recognition of the paucity of knowledge on military matters among the civilian political elite, the Centre is designing a research and training agenda whose main goal is a thorough understanding of the sociological imperatives driving praetorian armies, especially as these relate to West Africa, but drawing lessons from other places. This information will be disseminated in the form of seminars, workshops and round-tables where representatives of the military and the civil society are always present;2. Provide assistance to fledgling democracies in the region in the articulation of a clearly defined role for the military in a democracy;3. The Centre considers it a matter of priority to co-ordinate the development of sustained interaction between the military and the civil society on a functional basis which should help in building bridges across divides;4. Provision of assistance in building capacity and training civilians with a view to developing a large pool of national security knowledge in the political arena, the mass media, think-tanks, universities and other civil-society sectors; and5. Advocating the maintenance of military autonomy in professional defence matters and effective oversight of defence matters by the elected civilian authority.Notes*Paper prepared for workshop on “Crisis and Renewal in Africa: State, Market, Law and Democracy” held atEmory University, Atlanta USA, November 12-14, 1998.**Dr Fayemi is the Executive Director of the Centre for Democracy & Development, a public policy researchand training institution with offices in London, England and Accra, Ghana. The Centre focuses on issues ofdemocratic development, conflict management and peace building in West Africa.i See United Nations, Study on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development: Report of theSecretary-General (New York: United Nations, 1981) for a good example of this positive correlation argument.ii For an expansion of this argument, see J ‘Kayode Fayemi, Threats, Military Expenditure and NationalSecurity: Analysis of Trends in Nigeria’s Defence Planning, 1970 – 1990, Unpublished PhD Dissertation,University of London, 1994.iii See Mats R Berdal, “Disarmament and Demobilisation after Civil Wars: Armed soldiers and the terminationof armed conflicts”, Adelphi Paper 303 (Oxford: Oxford University Press for IISS, 1996) nbiv See Nicolas Van de Walle, “Reversal, Survival or Consolidation? The Prospects for Democracy inAfrica”, Paper presented at the 38th Annual Meetings of the African Studies Association, Orlando, Florida,November 3 – 6, 1995 and Richard Joseph, “Africa, 1990 – 1997: From Abertura to Closure”, Journal ofDemocracy, Volume 9, No.2, April 1998. For a less pessimistic viewpoint, see E.Gyimah-Boadi, “The Rebirthof Liberalism”, ibid. 24
  26. 26. v Robin Luckham, “Democracy and the Military: An Epitaph for Frankenstein’s Monster?” Democratization,Vol.3, No.2.Summer 1996, pp.1-16.vi Economic Community of Africa & Global Coalition for Africa, The Role of the African Military in PoliticalTransition and Economic Development: Co-Chairpersons’ Summary, Addis-Ababa, May 8-9, 1998, p.1.vii See Robin Luckham, The Nigerian Military: A Sociological Analysis of Authority and Revolt 1960 – 1967(Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1971) and Simon Baynham, The Military and Politics in Nkrumah’sGhana, (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1988)viii Michael Crowder, West Africa under Colonial Rule, (London: Hutchinson, 1970) p.505ix For a good background on the nature of civil-military relations in West Africa, see Eboe Hutchful &Abdoulaye Bathily (eds), The Military and Militarism in Africa, (Dakar: Codesria, 1998); For good country casestudies, see J ‘Bayo Adekanye, Nigeria: In Search of a Stable Civil-Military Relations, (Boulder, Colo:Westview Press, 1981). Also, see his “Military Occupation and Social Stratification, (Ibadan: University ofIbadan, 1993), Eboe Hutchful, “Military Policy and Reform in Ghana”, Journal of Modern African Studies, 35,2 (1997), pp.251-278 and Baffour Agyeman-Duah, “Liberia: The Search for a Stable Civil-Military Relations”,Paper presented at the Workshop on “State Rebuilding after State Collapse in Liberia”, organised by the Centrefor Democracy and Development, London, June 19, 1998.x See Eboe Hutchful, “Military Policy and Reform in Ghana,” JMAS, ibid.xi General Ibrahim Babangida who was the Director of Army Plans and Staff Duties during the Shagari regimeonce told a Conference on national security that “the amount of power vested in the civilian headed Ministry ofDefence could be a source of concern to the armed forces because the ministry consists mainly of civilians whohave little or no knowledge of the military profession…” See National Institute of Policy and Strategic StudiesProceedings of Conference on National Security, (Kuru, Jos: NIPSS, 1981) P.130.xii This has been the major criticism of the peacekeeping activities of ECOWAS Monitoring Group – ECOMOGin West Africa. See Funmi Olonisakin, Bridging the Conceptual Gap in Peace-keeping: Peace Creation inLiberia, Centre for Democracy & Development Occasional Paper 2, (London: CDD, forthcoming)xiii See David Goldsworthy, “Civilian Control and the Military in Black Africa”, African Affairs, Vol.80.No.8,1987, pp.49-74xiv Louis W.Goodman, “Military Roles: Past and Present”, in Larry Diamond and Marc Plattner (eds) Civil-Military Relations and Democracy, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), p.39.xv Report of the Civil-Military Relations Assessment Mission: West and Central Africa. (Washington, D.C.:NDI,April 1997)xvi Lida Koussi Moise, “National Armies and Ethnicity in Africa,” The Role of the African Armed Forces in theDemocratic Process Africa, Proceedings of the Regional Seminar held in Ouagadougou, 2-4 July, 1997 cited inAgyeman-Duah, op-cit.xvii See Kayode Fayemi, “Africa’s Disarmament Illusions”, Africa Events, February 1993, pp.23-26xviii See Nicolas van de Walle, “Globalisation and African Democracy” in Richard Joseph (ed.) State, Conflictand Democracy in Africa (Boulder, Colo:Lynne Rienner, forthcoming)xix UN Secretary-General explores potential causes, cures of conflict in Africa, (UN-IRIN West Africa News),SG/2045 –AFR/50,SC/6501. 16 April 1998.xx ibid.xxi See a recent book co-authored by the UN Co-ordinator of the Peacekeeping Operations in Somalia, RobertOakley. In it, the authors conceded the inability of the UN to cope with the burden of peacekeeping operationsdue to the lack of interests from member-nations. See Robert Oakley, Michael J.Dziedic, and Eliot M.Goldberg,Policing the New World Disorder: Peace Operations and Public Security, (Washington,D.C.: National DefenceUniversity Press, 1998)xxii See Africa Confidential, Volume 39, No 9, May 29, 1998.xxiii David Shearer and Herbert Howe have been positive in their analyses of mercenary activities in West Africa,both concluding that what is needed to even out the rough edges of current practise is regulation. See HerbertHowe, “Private Security Forces and African Stability: The Case of Executive Outcomes”, Journal of ModernAfrican Studies, Volume 36, 2, (1998) and David Shearer, Private Armies and Military Intervention, IISSAdelphi Paper, (Oxford: Oxford University Press for IISS, 1997)xxiv “Report of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms”, (New York: United Nations, July 1997),p.25 cited in Abdel-Fatau Musah, Africa: The Challenge of Light Weapons Destruction During PeacekeepingOperations, BASIC PAPERS, Number 23, December 1997.xxv See J ‘Kayode Fayemi & Abdel-Fatau Musah (eds.), Mercenaries and African Conflicts, (London: PlutoBooks, forthcoming)xxvi See Joseph Garba & Jean Herskovits, “Militaries, Democracies and Security in Southern Africa”, Report ofthe Southern Africa Security Project, International Peace Academy, January 1997. 25
  27. 27. xxvii For the reach of Nigeria’s drug barons, see Philip Van Niekerk, “South Africa’s Drug Explosion”, TheLondon Observer, 28 January, 1996.xxviii This was a major issue at the recent National Conference in Liberia.xxix Countries like Senegal and others within the French axis, hitherto reluctant of the need for ECOMOG, nowactively campaign for its involvement in the recent crisis in Guinea-Bissau. Egypt has officially requested thatECOMOG be adopted as a continental model in Africa.xxx This is the subject of a much larger research work at the Centre for Democracy & Development.xxxi In General Abacha’s recently aborted transition programme in Nigeria, at least a third of the Senators electedinto the National Assembly came from a military background. Indeed, the entrenchment has probably shutdown the notion of a level playing field in politics for some time to come in the assessment of some observers.xxxii For a good analysis of the Latin American experience, See Pion Berlin, “To prosecute or to Pardon: HumanRights Decisions in the Latin American Southern Cone”, Human Rights Quarterly 16, (February 1994):pp.105-30. An example of military brazenness was displayed in the Gambia when the military junta headed by CaptainYaya Jammeh inserted a clause in the constitution granting amnesty to all military officers for human rightsabuse.xxxiii Young parliamentarians in the Chilean Assembly recently sought an injunction in the Court to block anautomatic seat for General Pinochet in the country’s Senate. Ironically, President Frei and several seniorpoliticians are not in the frontline of this challenge to the military.xxxiv See Kayode Fayemi, “The Politics of Military Recruitment in Nigeria: A Critical Appraisal”, TempoMagazine (Lagos), 28 August 1997, pp.4-5 for an extensive analysis of the Nigerian Armed Forces’ recruitmentpolitics under General Abacha.xxxv See Sonny Onyegbula, “Seeking Truth and Justice in West Africa: Lessons from South African experience”,Centre for Democracy & Development’s Monograph Series (London: CDD, 1998).xxxvi See Rocky Williams, “Reallocating Defence Expenditures for Development: The South AfricanExperience”, African Security Review, Volume 7, Number 2, 1998 and Laurie Nathan, A South African PolicyFramework on Peace Initiatives in Africa, Paper presented for the Second Workshop with Civil Society: DraftPolicy Paper on Peace Support Operations, Department of Forteign Affairs, Pretoria, November 1997.xxxvii This is being done under the rubric of a research project on “The Military and Democracy: The Future ofCivil-Military Relations in West Africa.”ReferencesAdekanye, J ‘Bayo, Nigeria in Search of a Stable Civil-Military Relations, (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press,1981)._________, Military Occupation and Social Stratification, (Ibadan: University of Ibadan, 1993).Agyeman-Duah, B, “Liberia: The Search for a Stable Civil-Military Relations”, Paper presented at theWorkshop on State Rebuilding after State Collapse in Liberia, organised by the Centre for Democracy &Development, London, June 19, 1998Berdal, Mats, R, Disarmament and Demobiilsation after Civil Wars, Adelphi Paper 303, (Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press for IISS, 1996).Bratton Michael and Van de Walle, Nicholas, Democratic Experiments in Africa: Regime Transitions inComparative Perspective (Boulder, Colo: Lynne Riener, 1997)Boadi, Gyimah E, “The Rebirth of Liberalism” in Journal of Democracy, Volume 9, No.2, 1998.Baynham, Simon, The Military and Politics in Nkrumah’s Ghana (Boulder: Westview Press, 1988)Luckham, Robin, The Nigerian Military: A Sociological Analysis of authority and revolt 1960-67 (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1971)__________ “Democracy and The Military: An Epitaph for Frankenstein Monster?” Democratization, Volume3, No.2 Summer, 1966, pp.1-16.Crowder, Michael, West Africa under Colonial Rule, (London: Hutchinson, 1970). 26
  28. 28. Diamond, L & Plattner M (eds), Civil-Military Relations and Democracy, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UniversityPress, 1997).Fayemi, J ‘Kayode, Threats, Military Expenditure and National Security: Analysis of Trends in Nigeria’sDefence Planning, 1970-1990, Unpublished PhD Dissertation, University of London, 1994__________, Africa’s Disarmament Illusion in the Post Cold War Era, Africa Events, February 1993__________ & Musah, Abdel-Fatau, Mercenaries and African Conflicts, (London: Pluto Press, forthcoming)Garba, Joseph & Herskovits, Jean, “Militaries, Democracies and Security in Southern Africa”, Report of theSouthern Africa Security Project, (New York, IPA, 1997).Hettne, Bjorn, “Third World Arms Control and World System Confllicts”, in Ohlson, T, (ed), Arms TransferLimitations and Third World Security, (Oxford: Oxford University Press for Sipri, 1988).Hutchful, Eboe & Bathily, Abdoulaye (eds.) The Military and Militarism in Africa, (Dakar: Codesria, 1998)_________, “Military Policy and Reform in Ghana”, Journal of Modern African Studies, 35, 2 (1997)IISS, Military Balance, (London: Brassey Publishers for IISS, Several years).Joseph, Richard (ed), State, Conflict and Democracy in Africa (Boulder, Colo: Lynne Rienner, 1998).MacDonald, Brian, Military Spending in Developing Countries, How much is too much?, (Ottawa: CarletonUniversity Press, 1997).Musah, Abdel-Fatau, Africa: The Challenge of Light Weapons Destruction During Peacekeeping Operations,BASIC PAPERS, Number 23, December 1997.National Democratic Institute, Report of the Civil-Military Relations Assessment Mission: West and CentralAfrica (Washington, DC: NDI, 1997).Oakley R, Dziedic M, and Goldberg W, Policing the New World Disorder: Peace Operations and PublicSecurity, (Washington, D.C.: National Defence University Press, 1998).Olonisakin, Funmi, Bridging the Conceptual Gap in Peace-Keeping: Peace Creation in Liberia, Centre forDemocracy & Development Occasional Paper 2, (London: CDD, forthcoming).Shearer, David, Private Armies and Military Intervention, Adelphi Paper, (Oxford: Oxford University Press forIISS, 1997).UNDP, Human Development Report, (New York, UNDP)World Bank, World Debt Tables: Country Tables, (Washington, D.C., The World Bank) 27

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