Tag Archives: cote d ivoire

NATIONAL SECURITY IN COTE D’IVOIRE: 2 LAWS PASSED!

January 13th, 2016, President Ouattara of Cote D Ivoire, promulgated two major laws on National Security. On one hand the Law N°2016-09 related to the Programming of Internal Security Forces for the years 2016-2020 and on the other hand the Law N°2016-10, related to Military Programming for the years 2016-2020. Besides the legal dimension of these laws, we praise their existence for security systems in Ivory Coast. Indeed, these two laws were expected for several decades without being a priority for the successive governments until recently, in 2012. How is it possible that for many years, governments could not find any coherence between National Security functioning and its organization? Several reasons seem to have delayed the formulation of these laws, in particular the years of military crises which affected the country.

It is at the end of the political crisis of 2011, that security systems in Ivory Coast knew a period of significant reforms, materialized by the Security Sector Reform (SSR). This reform allowed between 2011 and 2015, to formulate the major texts of National Security among which, the Strategy for National Security and the SSR Strategy. Defence and Internal Security merged to make only one through National Security concept. The measures retained within the framework of the SSR program, were scheduled in their execution over several years by being classified as short, medium and long-term reforms. All the short-term reforms have been implemented, they included in particular the formulation of texts related to National Security.

Furthermore, what makes those two laws decisive, is the fact that they allow to rationalize the implementation of the National Security Policy. Indeed, these laws register the investments and the diverse expenses for security over 04 years in a coherence and an unprecedented programming. The real challenge thus becomes their effective implementation. From a point of view of National Security governance, these laws translate and imply a level of transparency, accountability and integrity on behalf of the security and defence institutions. Their promulgation makes them open to the public, for consultation and especially allows the National Assembly, to play completely its role of democratic scrutiny and control of those institutions.

Apparently, passing a law on a precise subject does not imply its effective consideration. It is for that reason, that it seems more than ever essential that both ministries (Defence and Security) in charge of the implementation of the promulgated laws, are equipped with follow-up and evaluation mechanisms. Moreover, the National Assembly through its specialized commissions will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of those two laws.

As a consequence, big challenges await the institutions concerned by these two laws, we focus on the following: 1/ the translation of both laws in specific implementation directives or sectorial Action plans at the operational level; 2/ the introduction of reframing, follow-up and evaluation mechanisms  for the effective implementation of both laws ; 3/ the adherence by all National Security actors to the execution of those two laws; 4/ the consideration of a set of measures to facilitate the cut in staff, the reorganization of the structures and the operational capacity building of security forces; 5/ the annual revision of the aforementioned laws by the National Assembly; 6/ the adaptability of the laws facing diffuse and evolving threats; 7/ a significant national effort to mobilize the resources necessary for the implementation of the two laws; 8/ the progressive empowerment of National Security forces through the creation of a national civilian-Defence Industry for the production of goods both for military and civilian use; 9/ the effective accountability of the security institutions through regular reports made available to the National Assembly as for the good execution of the measures contained in the laws and a publication of the annual results ; 10/ the preservation of a budgetary credibility!

By JF CURTIS

 

Security in Africa: perspectives for 2016!

The past year, had its “crop” of crises and victims on the African continent. The security balance sheet of year 2015 is thus mitigated enough. If we trust the 2015 Global Peace Index (GPI), published by Institute for Economics and Peace, insecurity globally stagnated from a point of view of its intensity. According to the GPI, we count among the most secure countries : Ghana, Botswana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Tanzania and Gabon. It should be noted, that Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau, demonstrated the most remarkable national security level improvements. On the other hand, we notice among the “bad pupils” : South Sudan, CAR, Somalia, DRC, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Mali, South Africa and Burundi.

Several factors allow to estimate the level of safety on the continent. The threats are multiple and strike the African countries in diverse ways and with a relative intensity. Terrorism remains the major threat affecting countries as Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Mali. Politico-military crises (political instability) also affects countries such as Burundi, DRC, South Sudan and CAR. A high level of criminality also strikes Nigeria, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Angola and Libya. The small weapons illicit traffic affects all the regions of the continent, given the conflicts which occurred there and which continue (Libya, Mali, CAR, etc.). Maritime piracy, also continues to weaken exchanges in the African waters, especially in the Gulf of Guinea and Gulf of Aden (Somalia, etc.). Finally, the questions of the security sector governance, remain a concern, because the security systems of several African states, are failing and require in-depth reforms. We do not pretend, to cover all the issues which threaten those states, but this brief assessment allows us to realize the urgency, to take into account very quickly all these challenges by building a strong security sector governance and reinforcing the regional and international cooperation.

In 2015, we made a few recommendations based on a 2014 security assessment in Africa. Today, it seems  crucial to assess if those recommendations have been carried out and if so, how effective they have been?

1/ With regard to the issue of political violence and political crises generally, it should be noted, that several elections were positively conducted on the continent in 2015. Ivory Coast moreover surprised the international community by its political maturity. On the other hand, countries as Burkina Faso which finally held calmed elections at the end of the year, endured military coups, bringing disorder. The Year 2016 will be too, rich in presidential elections in particular in Gabon, DRC,  Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda and Benin. The conditions around some of these elections remain shady and conflicting. We thus recommend, in order to prevent pre-electoral, electoral and post-election tensions, the following : a) the signature of a charter of acceptance of democratic alternation by all political parties, to reiterate their respect for the democratic game; b) the signature of a charter of inviolability of the constitution by all political actors, to avoid any unconstitutional violence; c) the UN and AU support in the follow-up of the pre-electoral and electoral process by the installation of surveillance missions. These missions could include nationals of countries which had successful elections in 2015, such as Ivory Coast, Guinea and Burkina Faso; d) a strong mobilization of the civil society following the example of the ” Balai Citoyen” in Burkina Faso. Indeed, citizen mobilization so as to ensure transparent and democratic elections is more than necessary in Africa. Citizen watch has to express itself in the respect for the law and be taken into account by national leaders.

2/ Concerning the fight against terrorism, the continent mobilized militarily speaking. Indeed, several initiatives were taken or are in the course of execution, both at the coordination and operational levels, in particular the creation of a multinational mixed force ( 8700 men) by the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the G5 Sahel which organizes the installation of a joint integrated general staff. In a pragmatic way, all the current initiatives are essentially military, in regard to regional cooperation or combat equipment assistance or intelligence support or still in terms of capacity building of the African armies by the western armies. The civil dimensions of this merciless fight against terror spread by the Islamic State, Boko Haram, el Shabbab or Aqmi, remains neglected. Thus we recommend for 2016 the following measures: a) a regional and national mobilization for the implementation of sensitization and awareness politics, towards populations to thwart the psychological warfare engaged by these terrorist groups; b) the actual setting up at the national level, of watch groups in all the communities, to alert the authorities in case of threats; c) the increase of the Human Development Index (HDI), in every African country to break the link “ignorance-poverty-terrorism”; d) a greater commitment of the Muslim communities, in the fight against terror, by creating watch committees in order to foster awareness and sensitization; e) the effective creation of elite units specialized in counter terrorism, would be a main advantage; f) the formulation and implementation of national policies aimed at preventing and repressing any religious radicalisation!

3/ Concerning the post-crisis tensions which affect few countries, such as Burkina Faso, we suggest the following : a) the pursuit of any Security Sector Reforms (SSR) national program, in countries such as Mali and Ivory Coast. The formulation and implementation of a SSR national policy in countries as Burkina Faso, enduring a paralysis of its security systems is necessary. The SSR must be regularly monitored, by an independent mechanism, to ensure its coherence and its efficiency; b) the institution of viable mechanisms of human development, allowing to fight against the impoverishment of the African societies and so to reduce their vulnerability; c) the acceptance of the rules of good governance is critical for these countries, which in a context of recovery also have to create a mechanism in charge of promoting on one hand, integrity, transparency, ethics and accountability and on the other hand, sanctioning any breach in these principles.

4/ Regarding training and capacity building, the creation of civilian think tanks dedicated to strategic thinking, is on the agenda more than ever. Indeed, reflection remains the heart of anticipation and prevention. Several centres or institutes already exist regarding security on the continent in particular, The Institute for Security Studies (ISS, South Africa), the Moroccan Centre of Strategic Studies (CMES, Morocco) or still the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC, Ghana) and the Institute for Strategic Studies and Defence (IESD, Ivory Coast). The interaction between these centres and states, is critical to enrich research on the highly strategic matters. However, it is crucial that these centres are not just the consequence of a trend. Indeed, the example of the IESD is edifying, because since the launch of its activities in June, 2015, no activity was organized. Worse, the IESD does not have a management team, no recruitment was made, it has no headquarters and no training program. It is almost an empty shell.

5/ Finally, with regard to borders control, the African states are more than ever vulnerable, because having excessively permeable borders. Indeed, this porosity favors the traffics of every type from drug trafficking, to human trafficking. It is time for the African countries to consider borders control as an absolute priority. Sound national borders control policies must be formulated and implemented. The cross-border cooperation owes, too to be reconsidered and improved in particular in the monitoring of migration flows! Moreover, a better control of the borders contributes widely to the fight against several plagues of which terrorism.

So as to conclude, we have in a few words, covered critical issues to be addressed in 2016. It is up to African states, to welcome the strategic reflection with open arms, in order to enrich the existing state capacities. Besides it is urgent that the resolutions stemming from various meetings on security held in 2014 and 2015 (Dakar Forum , Tana Forum, etc.), see a beginning of implementation. To finish, the task can seem extremely difficult, however to reflect Antonio Gramsci’s famous quote,  ” even if we are pessimists because of intelligence, we have to be optimists because of will “.

By JF CURTIS

Security in Africa: Three major challenges

The current events on the African continent are rich enough to remind us how much instability strikes the region but very often with the same denominators. North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa are confronted with common challenges such as terrorism, illegal immigration, problems of governance, military empowerment, etc. Moreover, the recent visits of King of Morocco in Senegal then in Ivory Coast, testify of the necessity of strengthening the regional cooperation. The stakes are multiple and rather complex to be all covered in this article. We are thus going to look at three major issues for the African countries to consider:

1/ The fight against terrorism: while the fight against AQMI, BOKO HARAM and AL SHEBBAB seems to stagnate, it is important to put in perspective the partial results of this ongoing fight. Indeed several leaders of those groups were neutralized by the special forces of ” qualified and equipped” countries. Moreover, sleeper cells were identified then handled in countries of the region. Is it sufficient when we know that the recruitment of the followers of religious extremism and its realization through terrorism, continues to make emulators?  It is unfortunately the most vulnerable populations which are the favourite targets of the recruiters of these extremist groups. In other words, the poor people are specifically targeted because very often or too often receptive to messages conveyed by these movements. We thus insist on the necessity for the African countries, to create effectively the conditions of human development for their populations, poverty must be fought. The redistribution of wealth has to be a reality once and for all in Africa. The armed struggle against these movements must too be maintained, but especially the anticipation of this threat has to be the keystone of this war. The African armies must be trained and supported in logistics by the West, to eradicate this permanent threat. Besides, the African States have to develop an inclusive African strategy of fight against this plague, based on the key role of communities. Finally, the raising awareness of the youngest, remains a success factor of this fight against terror. The African countries must be more active on the frontlines of psychological warfare against terrorism and to do so, they can outsource this merciless fight.

2/ The fight against illegal immigration: on this point, the current event reflects the urgency to act for the African governments. The images of illegal immigrants or refugees, piled up in boats and for many having died during their crossings towards Europe, shocked the world opinion. But did these images really move the African themselves? What about the mobilization of countries where these immigrants’ waves come from? What about the African solidarity in front of this drama, which testifies of a collective failure to ensure the human development on the continent and so to make it attractive for all these desperate persons? Let us not forget that all these migrants, fled their countries for a quest of human dignity somewhere else. Living in better conditions, free and far from the possible oppression of some regimes, that is what also motivates the illegal immigration. The time is for the mobilization of countries suppliers of these immigrants to create the conditions of their care and especially the conditions of their self-fulfilment on their lands of origin. Indeed it is of the responsibility of the Africans, to make attractive their countries not only for the foreign investments but especially to avoid these flows of refugees or immigrants. If the socioeconomic conditions were gathered, if these countries had a sustainable policy in favour of the citizen, job opportunities and a strategy of effective redistribution of wealth, we would not certainly be there! It is thus urgent that the continent, which aspires to emergence, begins to emphasize the human development. Why leave when one feels at home and cared about? Finally, let us not forget that these refugees are the visible face of the iceberg, but what about all those who cannot leave, who are in a total precariousness and thus vulnerable to terrorism and to crimes of any kind? Today, we think that the priority for the African Union ( AU), should be to set up a mechanism of fight against this massive illegal immigration then to dismantle the networks which are associated to it. The priority for the member states of the AU, has to be: the redistribution of the wealth, the emergence of a strong middle class, more jobs and a national attractiveness.

3/ The military empowerment: the North / South military cooperation is in a permanent imbalance. An imbalance widely in favour of the most advanced countries. The military-industrial complexes of these countries, are in a constant war of influence and economic warfare. The competition is rough to win markets with countries of the “South”, in search of stability and often little democratic. France, the United States, Israel and China, to quote only those, intervene either directly, thus officially (technical support, equipment, logistics, training, etc.), or indirectly, thus unofficially (covert operations, arms sales, discreet support for a regime, etc.). Every time, a common denominator: the economic interest, the regional positioning, etc. China has for example, a tradition of discreet arms sale, to regimes wishing to remain and undergoing rebellions. As for France, it operates openly in Mali for a certainly noble cause but obviously interested. The United States too, intervene discreetly in the training and the logistic backup, in particular in the fight against terrorism and regarding intelligence. The strategy of influence is thus very active in Africa on the military sector. The empowerment of the African countries regarding security and defence, should constitute a priority for their leaders. How to create the conditions of a credible national defence, a capacity to defend oneself only then within a coalition? The example of Ivory Coast is edifying on this question of the autonomy. Indeed, by creating with the support of France, an Institute of Strategic Studies and Defence, Ivory Coast makes a commitment on the ground of regional training, thus capacity building. Capacity building, is the basis of empowerment in the sector of security and defence. The African Union and the sub-regional organizations, should urgently, accelerate their reflections on the strategic autonomy which would allow the African to assume without complex , their security on the continent. We suggest that the African countries, actually emphasize training and equipment. All this, that must obey a precise and coherent sequencing. These countries, should formulate national security policies, laws of military and security programming and by effectively implementing them. Finally it would be useful for some African countries, not able for multiple reasons to aspire to military autonomy, to consider the example of Costa Rica, which chose to have no army but a strong police. To ensure its national defence, Costa Rica signed a military agreement with the United States, which are ready to intervene if needed. This measure allowed Costa Rica to dedicate its budget to education, environment, training, research and tourism. Costa Rica is not thus autonomous militarily but it is an emerging country.

These three security related issues are only a tiny part of the challenges facing Africa. The continent presents in spite of all the troubles which it faces, indicators favorable to its emergence, such as the massive investments. It is important that the African leaders meet around a table, to review all the challenges of the continent and bring it viable, inclusive and coherent solutions, once and for all. By putting in the center of this collective reflection, ” the African citizen “. To resume Antonio Gramsci’s quotation, it will be a matter for the African leaders “to ally the pessimism of the mind with the optimism of the will “.

 

 

 

Thoughts on governance in the security and defence sector

This short paper aims to share few thoughts on governance issues in the security and defence sector based on my personal assessment of cote d’Ivoire. Transparency International published an outstanding index in 2013 (GI2013) by assessing corruption risks in the defence sector. The topics (themes) that I cover below, all come from that Index. One can easily apply the guidelines to any country and adapt them to the national reality.

1/ Legislative scrutiny over defence and security policies:

There is a formal provision for effective and independent legislative scrutiny of defence policy in Cote d’Ivoire (article 71 of constitution). However, in practice, that provision is insufficient because the national Defence Policy formulation process itself is not mentioned in the constitution as being part of the National Assembly (NA) mandate for scrutiny.

Indeed, Article 71 of the constitution stipulates that only “Military Personnel status”, “the Police status” and “Defence organization” are all subjected to the national assembly inputs. This is largely unsatisfactory and limits the action of the National Assembly.

The budget issue is also mentioned in that article 71, so it is the responsibility of the NA to vote the national defence budget before it is implemented. There is to this date no evidence of such vote for the past 4 years.

At last, despite the fact that the legislative scrutiny is referred to in the constitution, the influence of the NA on the defence policy formulation has always been very limited if not ineffective.

So as a general recommendation, legislative scrutiny over defence and security policies in any country is necessary and clearly proves a good level of transparency.

2/ Public debate over the defence policy:

Unfortunately, in cote d’Ivoire, the national defence policy is not debated and publicly available. One major reason for that is the opacity surrounding this issue. Moreover, a national security strategy has been adopted by the National council for Security (CNS). Unless this security policy is adopted by the national assembly, it will not be publicly available.

Therefore, one must admit that efforts have been made to bring issues related to national defence to the public.

The security sector reform is bringing the authorities to formally formulate a national defence policy which is inclusive and holistic. For instance, the national SSR strategy is available publicly and has been debated openly (all SSR actors participated) before being adopted. On the other hand, a public consultation (survey) has not been done to this end.

At last, the national assembly has not yet examined and passed the Law related to  the National Security and defence  Policy. This is due to the fact that this policy has not been made available to the national assembly.

As a general rule for a country to prove a certain level of transparency and good governance, it is critical to involve the public in the formulation of any defence or security policy through a public consultation (survey).

3/ Anti corruption policy dedicated to the defence and security sector:

Cote d’Ivoire has an openly stated general anti-corruption policy. Indeed, “the national plan for good governance and against corruption” and “the order N° 202013-660 of September 20th of 2013 about prevention and fight against corruption” are the main anti-corruption instruments.  They also apply to the military forces and the police.

However there is no openly stated and actively implemented anti-corruption policy towards the defence sector exclusively. “The military code “ does not specifically address corruption issues that might concern the soldier. In 2013, the Ministry of Defence initiated an Ethical Charter and a military code of conduct.  To this day there is no evidence of any of those two initiatives to be effectively adopted by the national assembly or any other institution. Nor are they publicly available. To this date the ministry of defence has arrested many soldiers involved in racketeering, extortion and fraud. Still efforts have to be made to implement the rules equally among soldiers involved in such crimes.

So in order to be effective, an anti-corruption policy must be clearly stated and strongly implemented.

4/ Whistleblowing as a solution to fight corruption:

Whistleblowing as a mean to fight corruption is more and more encouraged by the government. There is a law that protects whistleblowers from any type of threat (Order N°202013-660, chapter 3). This law applies to any citizen whether he belongs to the defence or the security ministries.

It is almost impossible to say whether this law offering protection is working in practice because security must prevail for any whitleblower. However, the chapter dedicated to this matter exists. The law has to be applied. Besides, the lack of trust among military personnel prevents any whistleblowing activity.

Whistleblowing as a mean to fight corruption in the security forces is a effective way provided there are clear guidelines and that allegations are not made on a subjective basis.

5/ Objective appointment and promotion within the security and defence forces:

The military personnel are unfortunately not subjected to an independent, transparent and objective appointment system in cote d’Ivoire. Nepotism and tribalism have for the past 3 years harmed the whole selection process for appointments in the military. Indeed, there is a committee in charge of appointments within the military but this committee lacks independence and transparency. Most of the time appointments will be made accordingly to political orders coming from above. Since the end of the crisis in 2011, tribal biased appointments have been denounced by international NGOs such as International Crisis Group and Amnesty International.

Regarding promotions, theoretically, military personnel are promoted through an objective and meritocratic process. Besides, within the defence and security institutions can be found specific committees in charge of assessing potential candidates for promotion, in conformity with the law and internal rules. However, political consideration and favoritism sometimes weaken the process. In many cases external institutions influence decisions made by those committees. So there is no independent oversight on this matter.

Appointment and promotion are key matters when it comes to governance in the defence and security sectors. So they both have to be tackled very seriously.Objectivity and merit must prevail in the decisions made. Moreover, mechanisms created to manage appointments and promotions must be independent.

6/ Defence purchases coherence with identified and quantified requirements:

In cote d’Ivoire, most of the defence purchases made do not derive from any coherent assessment mechanism. So there are no clearly identified and quantified requirements. For some specific security situations, needs are identified and purchases made. So it is more opportunistic than thoroughly planned. For instance the latest purchase of surveillance and war vessels in 2014, does not comply with the national security strategy or any other policy document. However these maritime acquisitions derive from the need to counter maritime piracy and to show neighbors the maritime capacity of cote d’ivoire in case of dispute or crisis.

Coherence and conformity must prevail when it comes to defence or security purchases because requirements exist within security and defence policies and acquisition laws and must be implemented as planned.

 

From crisis to emergence

African countries all seek emergence a way or another. The path to emergence is long and tortuous. unfortunately “scourges” like corruption,  political crisis and military conflicts negatively affect that “hope for development”.

The case of Senegal is a good example of an African country seeking development and reaching its goal. Senegal is always cited as an example of good governance and good practices compared to many other countries. A Senegalese NGO created an indicator (mackymetre.com)  to measure the level of implementation of President’s Macky Sall presidential program. The Senegalese note their president’s program in terms of what has effectively been achieved since Macky Sall is in power. As of today, 100 key actions have not been executed, 23 are being implemented and 15 have been achieved. 9.6 per cent of the Senegalese are satisfied with the implementation level while 31.2 per cent are not! Those results just confirm the world bank latest “doing business” ranking regarding Senegal which ranks 178 out of 189 countries. On the other hand, Mo Ibrahim’s Foundation for Governance, ranks Senegal 10 out of 52 countries in 2013.

This Senegalese progress and governance indicator should become a reference in west Africa and be implemented as much as possible in order to foster governance good practices and democratic scrutiny.

Although Senegal still faces the Casamance crisis, the country is reaching development at a reasonable pace despite a difficult business environment!

Another country that deserves our attention is Cote d’Ivoire. The country came out of it’s political crisis in 2011 and is growing fast in specific fields and is slow in others!

Cote d’Ivoire is still in a post crisis environment because stabilisation is not achieved yet. Indeed, major fields like Governance, social reconstruction and economic recovery, Security Sector Reform (SSR), Justice and Reconciliation are unevenly taken into consideration.

President Ouattara announced emergence in 2020. This announcement was made without any public consultation to make sure people understood what “emergence” meant exactly?

In fact the best way to assess the level of implementation of the President’s presidential program is to monitor it’s key actions until today. A way to do so is to ask the people themselves. In order to reach emergence, we should have asked the people what their expectations were and their assessment of the President’s program implementation.

So Cote d’Ivoire is performing great regarding major investments but insufficiently regarding small and medium businesses involved in economic recovery. Justice is still unevenly applied, social reconstruction is more or less on it’s way, governance needs to be strengthened, SSR is hardly implemented because of a lack of national ownership and a lack of independent monitoring/assessment mechanism. At last, reconciliation is stalling because the major actors concerned are lacking political will and the origins of the crises that stroke the country are not tackled efficiently and entirely.

Indicators like Mo Ibrahim and Transparency International, rank Cote d’Ivoire among the worst countries despite the World Bank promising analyses (Doing business).

The stabilisation process will continue to stumble and stall unless problems that led to all the crises are solved a way or another. It is precisely the lack of involvement of the actors which slows down the whole recovery process that should if achieved lead Ivoirians to emergence in 2020.

Finally, in the case of Mali a political crisis melt with a terrorism issue. Mali is far from emergence therefore efforts are being made in that end. The major issue for now is pacification of the territory and solving the issue with MNLA. Recovering the territories is the priority and fighting Al Qaida is a prerequisite to peace and prosperity in the country and furthermore in the region.

The Malian government is tackling the stabilisation process with the help of international experts. One must bear in mind that a successful stabilisation process in the country is a prerequisite to its development. Reconciliation with the “Tuareg people” is also a prerequisite to stability in the country.

From those three specific examples taken in west Africa, one can easily assess the need for a sound, coherent and inclusive stabilisation and recovery program in a post conflict environment in order to reach emergence.