The nexus between state and civil society in security provisioning

There is no one way of defining civil society because of the numerous meanings attached to the concept and the attendant contradictions. While some scholars like Madunagu (1999) underscore the state-civil society relationship by declaring the two as antagonistic as each tries to defend its spheres of influence against encroachment by the other, other scholars like Diamond (1999), Rothchild and Lawson (1997), Mouzelis (1996), etc., stress the nexus between state and civil society. Diamond (1999) debunks the idea of conceiving civil society only as organisations independent of the state. He elaborates on the dysfunction between other groups and civil society organisations in society. To make clear this dysfunction, he listed elaborately five elements of civil society. These include the fact that civil society is pre-occupied with public ends, relates to the state, is pluralistic and diversified, does not represent the self-interests of an individual or community, and that civil society has a clear difference from the democracyenhancing phenomenon of the civil community.

On the other hand, Rothchild and Lawson (1997) highlighted African political exigencies which explain the fragility of civil society against the backdrop of post-independence regime formation and management in Africa. They first capture the origin of the concept of civil society which they trace down to the early philosophers (such as Hobbes, Rousseau, Marx, and Gramsci) whose works engineered the evolution of the “social contract” from which civil society today derives its antecedent. Based on examples from the African continent (such as Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda, Sudan, Mozambique, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Zambia, etc.), Rothchild and Lawson (1997) claim the existing political environment in Africa provides a caricature basis for the principle of the “social contract”. They particularly cite the instance of ethnic stupor in which African states conduct their politics on a divisive pedestal rather than an integrative platform:

ethnic self-determination movements, large scale societal disengagement and ethnically based clientelism in numerous African countries indicate the absence of a social contract and these fundamentally divided societies are likely to produce civil societies significantly more sequenced than European philosophy would suggest, at least in the short run (Rothchild &' Lawson, 1997:255).

The two writers delve deeper into the African context by examining the various categories of state-civil society relations in post-independent Africa. They distinguish tour different regime types in Africa which have the capacity “for facilitating more constructive interactions between the state and civil society” (Rothchild & Lawson, 1997:256). These regime types include majoritarian democracy, pacted democracy (bargained settlements), state populism and state corporatism. The strength and autonomy ot any civil society, they argue, is affected by these regime types, thus, regulating state-civil society relations in Africa. They conclude that a regime’s ability to involve civil organisations in the realm ot its political or public sphere tends to contribute more to state-civil society relations in domains of democracy and development. In his work, Mouzelis (1996) dwells solely on the linkage between the state and civil society during modernisation. This linkage, to him, occurs in three different modes through which the “political inclusion of the lower classes in the course ot modernisation takes place” (1996:57) in society. The three spheres include Integrative, Incorporative-Clientelistic, and Incorporative- populistic. In the Integrative model, which he describes as dominant in North-west Europe, politics is portrayed as being inclusive and people-oriented. Under the second mode, Incorporative-Clientelism, there is an emphasis on the people but through personalistic, highly particularistic patron-client networks. Lastly, the Incorporative-Populist mode deviates from the political tendencies of the first two modes; this is because ot the people (masses) involvement in political rallies around a charismatic leader whose political prowess becomes a source of political legitimation in the polity. The conclusion reached by Mouzelis is that culture and the nature ot civil-society-state relations or linkages in the developing areas are not conclusive to development. Until this trend is reversed, Atrica will scarcely experience growth.

Richard (2006), Joseph (2010), Mohammed (2010) and a host ot other scholars concur with the above assertions by maintaining that civil society and the state are not totally detached from each other; they are mutually responsive. Government and civil society also relate in the provision of security in Africa in the following capacities: protecting the inhabitants living in the region; preventing violent conflicts from occurring, and empowering the powerless. Though, these organisations might lack the political will to carry out some policies effectively but “most civil society organisations depend on the military support of the member states” (Kotter, 2007:49) to foster security through participator)' security. In African states’, the conventional role of fighting terrorism and insurgencies such as the deployment of armed personnel to affected areas; use of traditional tactics and “scorched earth strategies” in counterinsurgency operations, declaration of a state of emergency; direct military action with its dire consequences on civilians etc., have all contributed to the de-legitimating ot the state, leaving citizens’ associations and other organisations to step in to fill the vacuum left by the state, which was increasingly incapable of maintaining public security, managing the economy and guaranteeing access to essential commodities and services at affordable prices. Civil society is increasingly playing an active and influential role as educators, advocates, intermediaries, observers, and pursuers ot transnational justice. Jacob and Ayse (2009:176—177) are of the view that:

Civil society [organisations] have an impact on changing behaviours, attitudes and negative stereotypes; educating the parties; healing trauma and injuries; disseminating ideas such as democracy and human rights; drafting committed people to do peace work; challenging traditional structures that perpetuate structural violence; mediating between conflicting parties; reaching out to governments to incorporate elements of peacebuilding in their policies; encouraging disarmament, reintegrating of soldiers and developing a sustained interfaith dialogue.

Kotter (2007:48) believes that a flourishing civil society typically depends on the security and predictability provided by an effective democratic state that is controlled by a government that ensures the rule of law and policies that respond to the needs of the population. As a result, we must emphasise that civil society and democratic states are highly complementary and even interdependent.

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