AbstractThis paper examines the state of civil-military relations and the prospects for demilitarisationand democratisatio...
The Future of Demilitarisation and Stable Civil-Military      Relations in West Africa: Challenges and Prospects for      ...
or health.ii The caution here is that demilitarisation should not be seen as a set of technicaland administrative arrangem...
the past five years, the region has regressed to one of “home-grown” democraduras, quasi-dictatorships, personalised autoc...
The post cold war array of non-state actors who have set up rival factions to challenge themilitarised State is the result...
became a pliant instrument of the ruling elite in post-independence Africa. Since the Post-colonial State inherited, and i...
Nigeria, during the second republic, the Minister of Defence was generally clueless about thedecisions made by the militar...
Since no country in West Africa faces any huge external threats, one would expect themilitary to redefine its role and mis...
of violence was taken for granted. With the increasing challenge to the existing system ofnation-states, the military has ...
and political stability, demilitarisation and development and arms control and the cold war,must be an examination of the ...
democratic consolidation in West Africa. In the aftermath of the Cold War and with theexacerbation of internal conflicts, ...
The Nigeria factor in the Demilitarisation and Democratisation Agenda inWest AfricaBeyond the challenges to a successful d...
THE REGIONAL MILITARY & SOCIO ECONOMIC BALANCE OF POWER                            (1990 – 1995)  Country          Populat...
declining external security threats and the need to curb the rising tide of internal strife, thepromotion of a professiona...
democracy and development in the regional integration process and, finally, conceptualisingan architecture of conflict man...
far, what the South Korean example seems to show is that Faustian bargains with someprogressive elements within the milita...
where the ruling NDC government is now trying to address the constitutional term limitwhich bars President Jerry Rawlings ...
operations, then a proper criteria must be drawn up for evaluating the involvement of armedforces in non-combat operations...
These are crucial issues that must be addressed in trying to deal with the question ofdemilitarisation in a holistic and d...
divisions in the ranks of the political and civil society, only to use this as an excuse tointervene. It is common knowled...
*This is a revised version of a paper presented at the International Conference on “TheLeadership Challenges of Demilitari...
xv    Report of the Civil-Military Relations Assessment Mission: West and Central Africa. (Washington, D.C.:NDI,April 1997...
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The Future of Demilitarisation and Stable Civil-Military Relations in West Africa: Challenges and Prospects for Democratic Consolidation


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The Future of Demilitarisation and Stable Civil-Military Relations in West Africa: Challenges and Prospects for Democratic Consolidation

  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. 1
  2. 2. The Future of Demilitarisation and Stable Civil-Military Relations in West Africa: Challenges and Prospects for Democratic Consolidation.* 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 privatearmies, the prime place occupied by force in conflict resolution and the continued influenceof the military in the political-decision making process as the militarisation index, WestAfrica is one region that ought to worry observers deeply.For conceptual clarity however, demilitarisation is understood to be both a qualitative andquantitative concept in this paper. It is therefore its central premise that althoughdemilitarisation in all its ramifications constitutes 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, especiallywhen 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 education 2
  3. 3. or 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 thesymptomatic issues relevant to the militarisation-demilitarisation debate, conflict isexamined at the political and psychological levels. Since the issues involved cannot becaptured simply through a theorisation of historical experiences premised upon theseparation of the “domestic” and the “international”, the “economic” and the “political”, thedemilitarisation dilemma 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 societyrelations in West Africa; how state power relates to the key economic and social forces in theaffected societies. This way, militarisation would be properly contextualised and theproblems and prospects of demilitarisation in Africa would not be reduced to a numbercrunching 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 theformal sense, they are not democratic. Although significant strides were made in the areas ofcivil-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, conflictexacerbation 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 the immediatepost cold war era, seems to typify this obsession with elections as representing democracy. In 3
  4. 4. the past five years, the region has regressed to one of “home-grown” democraduras, quasi-dictatorships, personalised autocracies, pacted democracies, stolen elections and endlesstransitions.iv A cursory glance at the West Africa region will show nominally civilianisedex-military rulers/warlords in Burkina-Faso, Ghana, the Gambia, Niger, Togo, Benin,Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Chad and Liberia, “debilitating democracies” in Cote d‟Ivoire,Senegal, Cameroon and Mauritania and a full blown military dictatorship in the region‟slargest country – Nigeria. Even in Mali, originally seen as a strong beacon of hope fordemocratic consolidation, things are now beginning to look a bit uncertain.An essential feature of peace-building and conflict management is often the degree to whichconsensus can be achieved among parties in conflict. In situations where elections havebecome 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,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 recent jointreport by the ECA and GCA, “in some African countries, political transition has involved areconfiguration of political, economic and military elites, rather than an opening up of thepolitical system and broadening of participation.”vi Indeed, this is more likely to be the caseif the „new democrats‟ come from a military background as the situation largely is in WestAfrica where what we have are “shadow military states”, rather than democratic countries. 4
  5. 5. The post cold war array of non-state actors who have set up rival factions to challenge themilitarised 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 universitygraduates who have dropped their diplomas for military commission. A critical tasktherefore in consolidating democracies and rebuilding stable civil-military relations isreclaiming the militarised mind, which has been fed by a deep-seated feeling of socialexclusion. Traumatised by violence and prolonged existence under military andauthoritarian structures, the tendency to have a low regard for civilians in societies wheretraditional norms and the rule of law have little or no meaning is very high. Violence hastherefore become the acceptable means of communication.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 in thevictory 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]viiiYet in spite of the above and the latent suspicion of the army as colonial and reactionary bythe nationalist leaders, the post-independence army remained essentially colonial incharacter. For a long time after independence, there was little or no attempt to articulate andcodify defence policies in any of the countries involved. In no time, the military soon 5
  6. 6. 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 of thecolonial 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 RiceRiots has been cited as a major factor in the eventual overthrow of the Tolbert regime?Legitimacy was therefore bought with that control, even at a time the wider civil society sawthe military as an occupation forceix. This historical situation was later to be compounded bythe all pervasive ignorance of the military that enveloped the political and civil society,especially among 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, andon the 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 on this lackof public knowledge, which has in turn precluded the development of a civilian, strategicunderstanding of the operational requirement of accountable armed forces. In effect, sincethe military has been responsible for both operational and policy control over defence andpolitical matters, there was no alternative, countervailing system to scrutinise its decisions.This lack of effective oversight is perhaps the single most important factor responsible forthe demise of the few civilian, democratic governments and the incipient return 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 who lacks a basicunderstanding of the institution, yet this is more often than not the situation in most WestAfrican democracies. The experienced Defence Minister in Ghana, Alhaji Mahama Idrissarecently referred to the difficulty of penetrating the cordon of secrecy that continued tosurround the Armed Forces in Ghana, after 13 years as head of the Defence Ministry.x In 6
  7. 7. Nigeria, during the second republic, the Minister of Defence was generally clueless about thedecisions made by the military, and had no independent means of assessing militaryjudgements placed before him. In short, the military maintained virtually total control overmilitary decision-making process.xi The question of civilian ignorance is largely replicatedacross the board among political elite in West Africa.Ironically, when civilians choose to study the military, this is often left to the technocrats andthe academics who wield no political power to ultimately effect significant change. The needto invest the Defence ministry with considerable political power and the administrative andpolitical leadership with institutional knowledge is crucial to earning the respect andconfidence of the armed forces. The challenge remains one of overcoming civilian politicalelite‟s historical reluctance to become the source of countervailing machinery capable ofsubjecting military led policy to critical scrutiny. In any situation where the civilian politicalelite does not take the task of formulating military policy on control seriously, the vacuum isoften usurped by the military, which ends up presenting the civilian leadership with repeatedmilitary fait accompli. At the level of the executive, the parliament and the civilianbureaucracy, the consciousness to direct policy must be regained and sustained in the sameway this has happened in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay to mention a few countries thathave moved from prolonged military rule to democracy.The Challenge of a Mission: Redefining the Military Role in SocietyIn 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 byany 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 itsown setbacks due to their involvement in politics. The political usurpation of militarytalents, for instance, has been shown to be bad in areas where the military is now needed tofunction like a fighting force.xii Although some countries in West Africa have armies with afine reputation in their commitment to international peacekeeping duties, the same soldiershave been found wanting on such missions largely because of the disorientation thatautomatically flows from bad military leadership. Yet, international peacekeeping seems tooffer the solution to the challenge posed by a lack of mission for a military out ofgovernment since this is one role that is not far removed from its primary duties of defenceof territorial integrity and state sovereignty. 7
  8. 8. 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 laterformed the template for Jerry Rawlings‟ nominal return as a civilian president.While it may be superficially correct, as some scholars have argued that providing rent-seeking opportunities for the military in a civilian democracy may help curb their interest indirect governance, and consolidate democracyxiii, there are serious implications in at leasttwo broad areas for sustainable civil-military relations in a democracy. First, because theruling military elite has now acquired extensive experience running all kinds of civilianbased 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 dangerexists that involvement of the military in alternate missions may lead the military to neglectits core mission by failing to maintain combat readiness.”xivAlthough 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-military relations, it is my contention that this notion poses enormous danger to the objectiveof demilitarising 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 8
  9. 9. of violence 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 13,000strong 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.xviIn other countries where the ethnic cleavages do not appear as striking, there is still theperception 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 the late byGeneral 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 governmenthas asserted its right to carry out the restructuring. All the armed factions have opposed thisas it is suspected that this is an attempt to ensure that the restructured army is essentiallyPresident Taylor‟s army. Even in countries where the army on the surface appears to beethnically balanced, there is a strong perception of ethnic bias in special units set upprimarily for regime security. In Ghana for example, there exists the apprehension thatEwes, President Rawling‟s ethnic group, dominate special units like the 64th Commando.In addition to the challenge of ethno-nationalism is the international dimension to the crisisof 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. Besides, to posit a strong relationship between arms reduction 9
  10. 10. and political stability, demilitarisation and development and arms control and the cold war,must be an examination of the relationship between arms procurement and authoritarianregimes, weapons accumulation in Africa and capital accumulation in the industrial world;structural adjustment programmes and arms procurement, militarisation, militarism and armsreduction as well as the tortuous democratic experiments in Africa, and their impact on thefuture of arms races in the next millennium. xviiWith the end of the Cold War came economic globalisation and trade integrationxviii – factorsthat have, ironically, deepened economic problems in new democracies, weakening thenation-state and exacerbating ethno-jingoism as a result. Poverty remains the greatest threatto 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 a functionof a dominant elite cartel comprising of arms manufacturers, mineral exploiters, corporatemercenaries and Africa‟s authoritarian governments and warlords as junior partners – peoplewho believe that dependent capitalist development must by its very nature be authoritarianfor it to pursue unbridled profiteering with military despatch.The most evident example of the way this cartel functions is the upsurge in the activities ofprivate peacekeepers, light weapons proliferation and the linkage to resource exploitation introubled West African states. In exploring the causes and potential cures of conflict inAfrica, the United Nations‟ Secretary-General – Mr Kofi Annan referred to “interestsexternal to Africa”, who “in the competition for oil and other precious resources in Africacontinue to play a large and, sometimes decisive role, both in suppressing conflict andsustaining 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 10
  11. 11. 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 therole of mercenaries by established governments and multilateral institutions, has come undera sharper 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 missionin conflict management and peace building.xxiii The incidence of light weapons and small arms proliferation is closely linked to the privatesecurity firms operating in Africa and it also poses a serious challenge to the demilitarisationagenda in West Africa. This has been the subject of debate in multilateral circles in recenttimes. For example, a Panel of Government Experts appointed by the UN‟s Secretary-General identified uncontrolled availability of small arms and light weapons as both a causaland exacerbating factor in Africa‟s conflicts. According to the panel, not only did theweapons contribute to “fuelling conflicts but also exacerbating violence and criminality.”xxivFor the long term stability of any democracy transiting from prolonged military/authoritarianrule, changes in the military, security and defence structures are imperative and they mustexamine comprehensively the challenges posed by these various aspects of the weakeningnation-state in the era of globalisation. In policy specific terms, solutions to the upsurge ofmercenaries on the continent must be sought through the revamping of existing legislationboth at the OAU, and UN levels whilst ECOWAS is encouraged to legislate against theinvolvement of private armies in conflict. Ultimately, holistic solutions to the root causes ofconflict must be found by drawing the necessary linkages between underdevelopment,instability and the presence of mercenary operations in the region. To this end, there is aneed to critically assess what the new forms of private military activities on Africanterritories mean for African security.xxv 11
  12. 12. The Nigeria factor in the Demilitarisation and Democratisation Agenda inWest 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 give moreconfidence 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 ondemilitarisation in West Africa without a democratic and demilitarised Nigeria. Already,Nigeria‟s descent into crisis is having a wider impact in West Africa in particular, and Africain general. Although there is no conclusive evidence of its involvement in the 1994 militarycoup in Gambia - it is hard to dispute that inspiration for the coups in the Gambia and Nigerhave been drawn from the presence of a military regime in Nigeria. The transformation ofthe two military rulers – Yaya Jammeh and Barre Mainasara into civilian presidents receivedmore explicit support from the Nigerian rulers.Equally, it is arguable that the „election‟ of General Kerekou in Benin republic in 1996, there-election of Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings of Ghana in December 1996 and thefraudulent „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 inthe region. 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 thesub-region, but it is also inextricably tied to the sustenance of democratic developmentelsewhere in the region. This explains why tackling the narrowness of the democratic focusin individual 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. 12
  13. 13. THE REGIONAL MILITARY & SOCIO ECONOMIC BALANCE OF POWER (1990 – 1995) Country Population GNP ME ($USm) ME/GNP % ME/CGE (millions) ($USbillion) %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 SOURCES: IISS, Military Balance,(1989-1995), UNDP, Human Development Report, (1990-95) World Bank, World Debt Tables (1989-95) Brian MacDonald, Military Expenditure in Developing Countries (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1997). Nigeria, which is supposed to act as a countervailing force to countries intent on destroying 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 widely believed to be exporting its coup culture to the rest of the region. There are strong arguments therefore that a democratic Nigeria can only help improve the democratic credentials and the quest for international peace in the region. There are other negative security implications for contiguous 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 of the region now constitute major security problems.xxvii The Nigerian contingent, which formed the bulk of the ECOMOG peacekeeping force in Liberia - is now seen as an army of occupation, rather than a peacekeeping force in that traumatised country.xxviii Designing a Holistic Security Agenda for Demilitarisation and Democratic Development Rethinking 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 of ethnicity, 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 West Africa must build on the tender fabrics of regionalism if it were to have any chance of success. Given the 13
  14. 14. declining external security threats and the need to curb the rising tide of internal strife, thepromotion of a professional peace-building mechanism within the global framework ofpreventive diplomacy would seem critical in the region. The last decade in West Africa haswitnessed the strengthening of regional autonomy, especially in its conflict managementcapacity. Although seen in several circles as a standard feature of Nigeria‟s sub-imperialistagenda, there is a strong perception of ECOMOG as a potential mechanism for an effectiveconflict management model in Africa.xxix Yet, regional autonomy can be influenced bynational 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.For example, Nigeria‟s consistent commitment to regional peacekeeping might have arisenfrom the unresolved tensions at home. Ironically, the concentration on the pacification ofsub-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 thenation state 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 avictim of ad-hocery as ECOMOG. If a structured mechanism is available and deployable ata moment‟s notice, it should be possible to convince small states like Sierra Leone andGambia that the protection of their territorial integrity does not necessarily depend on astanding army, if there is a standing peace-keeping command to which they too cancontribute soldiers.A systemic change of the type that we are suggesting requires extensive work. A good placeto start might be a review of the ECOWAS Defence protocols and similar provisions fromother parts of the world; developing a peacekeeping model with an accountable command,control and information system, developing the necessary linkages between security, 14
  15. 15. democracy and development in the regional integration process and, finally, conceptualisingan architecture of conflict management for 21st Century Africa in which militarism andmilitarisation are less significant.xxxRedefining the Mission of the MilitaryIf militarisation is to become less significant, then the military needs to redefine its missionto the nation-state. Within the context of the identified challenges, the entrenchment of theWest African militaries in all aspects of civic and economic life makes their eventualpermanent removal an area that will demand considerable skills. This will have to be done byassuaging their fears about their future in a post-military dispensation and finding anappropriate role and mission for those left behind in the institution, in terms of maintainingtheir professional autonomy. Equally important will be the need to develop a civilian,democratic defence policy expertise and create the necessary opportunities for networkingand dialogue between military representatives and the civil society. As much as possible, themilitary must be restricted to its traditional external combat role as a means of strengtheningcivil-military relations. If it must get involved in any internal security operations, thenproper criteria must be drawn up for evaluating the involvement of armed forces in non-combat operations. At all times, the unifying theme in all of the political elite negotiations isthe determination to assert civilian (not necessarily democratic) supremacy and oversight andthe subordination of the military to objective civilian control. Looking at the experience ofcountries emerging from prolonged military rule to civilian, democratic politics, theexperience is not uniform. In smaller countries like Costa Rica, Panama and Haiti, theysucceeded in getting rid of their standing armies. In bigger countries with some regionalinfluence like Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, South Korea and Bangladesh, themilitary retains a significant influence in the post-military state. In other categories, (in LatinAmerica and the Russian republic. For example, there are consolidating democracies wherethe military is still actively involved in politics and others where armed forces have movedfrom completely „satrapic‟ orientation into stable, conventional roles. The military in Polandwould qualify as an army that is now fully comfortable in its new conventional role.In all of these cases, there are still problems with creating stable civil-military relationswhere roles are clearly defined and missions fully worked out. But the fact that the missionhas been refocused, especially in countries like South Africa, Argentina and Poland givesreal 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 candidateperceived as a threat to the military establishment may have stemmed from thedemystification process carried out by the last regime, even though the deterioratingeconomy contributed to the success of the left-wing president elect, Kim Dae Jung, whoeventually released the convicted former Heads of State as a gesture of reconciliation. So 15
  16. 16. far, what the South Korean example seems to show is that Faustian bargains with someprogressive elements within the military constituency may be inevitable in order to deal withthe challenges of demilitarisation and/or in the quest for consolidated democracy. However,such pacts 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 amnestyor accountability 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?xxxiiAlthough General Pinochet has now stepped down this year as Commander-in-Chief, aposition 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 establishedover 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 hasmanaged to sabotage any attempt to try the army for past misdeeds. xxxiii 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 militarys‟authoritarian enclave must worryclose watchers of political transition and economic development in the region. In Ghana 16
  17. 17. where the ruling NDC government is now trying to address the constitutional term limitwhich bars President Jerry Rawlings from contesting in the next election, there are genuinefears about the possibility fr democratic reversal in the year 2000. How these various strandsof demilitarisation 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 mattersProvided the overall case for regionalisation is acceptable to the affected states, the otherissue for consideration at the nation-state level is the separation of operational and policycontrol over broad defence matters such as size, shape, organisation, equipment, weaponacquisition and pay/conditions in the services on the one hand, and administrative controlover the services on the other. The point has been made earlier about how the lack of anyexpertise on the part of elected civilian authorities has prevented effective oversight of thevarious 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 processof 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 an unstructuredmanner. In introducing civilian expertise however, care must be taken not to substitutemilitary incompetence in a political setting with civilian inexperience, neither should powerbe given to technocrats who are not wholly accountable to the electorate. If civilian control isto be democratic, it must empower those who have political platforms to lead the confidencebuilding relationship. This is not to suggest however that professional civilian expertise isunnecessary in these countries. In fact, a possibility worth exploring is the creation of aStrategic Cell that may serve in an advisory capacity between a civilian presidency and themilitary professionals. At all times, the military should not be left to conduct its affairswithout „interference‟, at least not in terms of broad policy formulation, but political eliteshould leave the military alone in designing wholly operational matters in areas where thebroad policy questions have been settled. In ensuring civilian supremacy and a democraticpattern of civil-military relations, the civilian leadership in a post military state must help themilitary with the definition of the role it must play in a clear and precise manner. As muchas possible, this must be restricted to its traditional external combat role as a means ofstrengthening civil-military relations. If it must get involved in any internal security 17
  18. 18. operations, then a proper criteria must be drawn up for evaluating the involvement of armedforces in non-combat operations.Resolving the Challenge of Ethno-Nationalism in recruitmentThe resolution of the highly volatile question of recruitment is only possible to the extentthat the nationality question is resolved in individual countries. Various military regimeshave used the strategy of ethnic favouritism as a safety valve for survival in office. Whilethis is a political problem that cannot be resolved on a rational basis, central to the issue ofmilitary recruitment pattern in terms of military professionalism ought to be three centralquestions: Should armed forces in a democratic dispensation be an equals opportunitiesinstitution? Should it be a combat effective, battle ready force recruited from the most ablein the most rigorous and competitive manner? Should the manner of recruitment matter – ifthe training is standardised and geared towards bringing out the best in every recruit?xxxivAlthough the above are the rational questions to which answers must be found, they do notnecessarily constitute the most important issue when issues of structure and process are theones generating much attention. These are political issues that can only be resolved througha process of confidence building and conflict management mechanisms.If good personnel are at the core of any effective military organisation, the concern aboutrepresentation is a legitimate one, especially in ethnically diverse societies where the armedforces are seen as key instruments of national integration. Getting recruitment wrong fromthe outset has implications for the level of discipline, attrition rate and the organisation‟sinstitutional cohesion in the long run, all of which must be situated within the context of theperceptions and misperceptions bred by ethnic domination. Therefore, attempts atdemilitarisation and stable military relations must ensure a balance between merit and equalopportunity. This can only be done in a situation where the military is not seen as the fastestroute to political power, but as a professional institution serving the interests of all citizens.What becomes of utmost importance within this context is what the military mission is, whatobjective threats every nation faces? What are the necessary force levels, rather thanmanpower levels necessary for the accomplishments of the missions arising from the threatsenvisaged? Are the personnel procured for and retained in the armed forces suitable for thetypes of missions the military may be called upon to perform? Are the manpower levels cost-effective, and most importantly, does the institutional recruitment process procureindividuals that are wholly dedicated to their military duties in a democracy?Another way this has been addressed is through compulsory military service. In countrieslike Tanzania and Senegal, that have experienced long years of stable civil-military relations,compulsory military service is an integral part of their armed forces. Besides, this can alsocomplement the task of demilitarisation and demobilisation. A much reduced, but highlymobile deployment force within a streamlined recruitment process can still achieve acredible deterrent doctrine in many countries in West Africa whilst addressing the hugeconcerns about ethnic monopoly with the democratisation of military training and discipline. 18
  19. 19. These are crucial issues that must be addressed in trying to deal with the question ofdemilitarisation in a holistic and democratic manner.Resolution of Human Rights Issues as a key plank in the demilitarisationprocessThe 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 ConsiderationsFrom 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 WestAfrica‟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 these 19
  20. 20. divisions 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-militaryrelations must address issues that are germane to the eventual consolidation of democracy byrecognising that the process is a marathon, not a dash. A major task remains the search for astable and sustainable civil military relations and democratic consolidation in WestAfrica.xxxvi In addition to this major task, it is equally important to work on these relatedissues: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.In all, the Centre is keen to play an influential role in the development of an institutionalframework for the understanding of the military, the articulation of a new mission and in thepromotion of sustained dialogue process between the military and the civil society whichwill promote the goals of security, democracy and development.Notes 20
  21. 21. *This is a revised version of a paper presented at the International Conference on “TheLeadership Challenges of Demilitarisation in Africa” held in Arusha, Tanzania, July 22-24,1998.**Dr Fayemi is the Executive Director of the Centre for Democracy & Development, apublic policy research and training institution with offices in London, England and Accra,Ghana. The Centre focuses on issues of democratic development, conflict management andpeace building in West Africa.Referencesi 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)iv See Nicolas Van de Walle, “Reversal, Survival or Consolidation? The Prospects for Democracy in Africa”,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 of Democracy,Volume 9, No.2, April 1998. For a less pessimistic viewpoint, see E.Gyimah-Boadi, “The Rebirth ofLiberalism”, ibid.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, 1988viii 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 countrycase studies, 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. 21
  22. 22. 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 WestAfrica, both concluding that what is needed to even out the rough edges of current practise is regulation. SeeHerbert Howe, “Private Security Forces and African Stability: The Case of Executive Outcomes”, Journal ofModern African Studies, Volume 36, 2, (1998) and David Shearer, Private Armies and Military Intervention,IISS Adelphi 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.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 Senatorselected into the National Assembly came from a military background. Indeed, the entrenchment has probablyshut down the notion of a level playing field in politics for some time to come in the assessment of someobservers.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 Africanexperience”, Centre for Democracy & Development‟s Monograph Series (London:CDD, 1998).xxxvi This is being done under the rubric of a research project on “The Military and Democracy: The Future ofCivil-Military Relations in West Africa.” 22