Tag Archives: recovery

African Armies Governance: An expected transformation

Last year I wrote an article emphasizing the climate of uncertainty which prevailed within several African military institutions in particular Chad, Ivory Coast and Somalia, to take only these examples. Several countries being in phase of reconstruction because of successive military and political crises, know difficulties rebuilding their armies and maintaining a certain cohesion or often an exemplary discipline. Gambia, Mali and Burkina Faso, are examples of country among which the armies for diverse reasons, remain fragile in spite of all the efforts of current reconstruction.

One must recognize that, the largest number of countries which armies are fragile, is because of internal crises and because of political manipulation of the military tool. The political instrumentalization for purposes of positioning, remains the main cause of the diverse unrests but you should not either hide the insufficiency of governance of these armies. The case of Chad reminds us of how much the non-payment of bonuses due to soldiers who intervened within a UN framework, is an aberration regarding  the governance of the defense sector. Worse, the Chadian President requested the international financial support, to support the actions of his soldiers in Mali within the framework of the fight against terrorism and it was the object of no reaction. Let us not forget that Chad remains one of the most committed countries in the fight against terror.

How do these countries manage not being able to settle arrears of bonuses promised in a context or an other one? How do they manage not to anticipate these unrests within the armies being regularly transformed into mutinies? It seems that the weaknesses of these countries are at the level of the governance of their armies. A Coherent and active governance of the Defense sector effectively allows to anticipate major crises such as mutinies. The governance of the Defense sector rests essentially on the bodies of the armies in charge of governance, which are  the inspection and control services, contributing to the stability of the military institution. Besides another mechanism of anticipation and governance of the Defense sector is the National Assembly which through democratic control of the armies, provides coherent governance of the military and alerts on possible deficiencies to consider. In fact this is about a major gouvernance watch device based on internal mechanisms to the armies (inspection and control) but also over external mechanisms (Civil society, NGOs, National Assembly, etc.) to anticipate crises which can destabilize the concerned countries.

So, the transformation of African armies on the basis of a sincere commitment of the decision-makers, is imperative more than ever. The general unrest of the armies which very often is only an accumulation of dysfunctions from inheritance, must be handled frontally with realism and political courage. When it turns out to be necessary, a simple revision can settle this discontent through a Security Sector Reform (SSR), in the worst case, a revival (dissolution and reconstruction) of the armies is inevitable. In any case, a brave political will matched by a consequent defence budget, determines the success of such an initiative, wether it is about restructuring, revision, or dissolution with the aim of reconstruction.

Outside the African continent, several countries experimented the dissolution of the armies with mixed results (Costa Rica, Haiti and Panama). For Costa Rica and Panama, the effort was put on a well equipped police force and Defense agreements, as for Haiti, which had dissolved its army in 1996, reconstruction was engaged since 2014. We thus recommend on the basis of this observation of general unrest of the African armies, that the African Union ( AU) can convene an emergency meeting to examine this thorny question and to establish an African special program for armies reconstruction of countries wishing it. This program could be financed by the AU countries themselves but also with the bilateral and multilateral cooperations. Finally, A fund raising campaign could support this vast continental program.

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.