Civil-military relations for security provisioning: volunteering for civilian joint task forces

In their work, Civil-military relations and leadership crisis in 2 f'century Africa, Wogu and Ibietan (2014) are of the view that a civil-military relation (CMR) describes the relationship between civil societies as a whole and military organisation or organisations established to protect it. Specifically, it represents the relationship between the civil authority of a given state and its military authority. Studies on CMR often rest on the normative assumption that civilian control of the military is preferable to military control of the state. The principal problem is to empirically explain how civilian control over the military is established and maintained on a sustainable and efficient basis (Burk, 2002:7—9). As an area of study in political science, CMR involves the research and discussion of a diverse range of issues including but not limited to the civilian control of the military, military professionalism, war, civil-military co-operation (CIMIC), military institutional structures for managing civil challenges under the guises of Military' Aid to Civil Authority (MACA) and Military Operations other than War (MOOTW) etc. The discussion in this area includes non-state actors or “voluntary sector” (Mandel, 2004:171—201), as well as more traditional state-centric analysis which dwells on the structure and elite behaviour in nation-states. Omoigui (2005, part 1) perceives CMR as the supremacy and guidance of the civil populace over the military. It requires full democratic control of the military as it plays its role as the ultimate guarantor of national security. In an ideal world, the military should be subservient to the society, and it has a monopoly over the means of violence in the interest of its citizens in response to popular will and consent.

Welch and Johanna (1998) view CMR as interactions between armed forces as institutions and the sectors of society in which they are embedded. Mainly, CMR focus on the relative distribution of power between the government and the armed forces of a country. As one specialist recently wrote, they involve a “process” in which civilian control is measured and evaluated by weighing “the relative influence of military officers and civilian officials in the decision of state concerning war, internal security, external defence, and military policy (that is, the shape, size, and operating procedures of the military establishment)” (Richard, 1997). CMR exist within the contexts of political systems. Though civilian control as an aspect of democracy has attracted the attention of policy-makers around the globe, it is difficult to achieve and maintain a state of equilibrium in CMR. In the conceptual framing of the role of the military in developed states, the CMR literature views armed forces as institutions exclusively geared towards defending the state against external threats. The military is cast as a professional outfit that is not only insulated from civilians, but it is also an autonomous institution designed to operate in both war and disaster management without civil support. This is without prejudice to the civil control of the armed forces in the political sphere where the control of the armed institutions is vested in the executive branch, a symbol of the contract between elected officials and electorates. Containing an institution whose primary business is its franchise on violence within the state is one of the essential components of a democratic state. Garba (2014), sees CMR as the totality of relations between the military and society within which it operates and is necessarily included. It entails all aspects of the role of the army (as a special professional institution) in the fundamental elements of national life. CMR also involves issues of the attitude of the military towards the society, the civilian society’s perceptions of and attitudes to the military and the role of the armed forces concerning the state.

The earliest use of the conception of CMR according to Wogu and Ibietan (2014) can be traced to the writings of Sun Tzu (1870 [ 1971J) and Clausewitz (1832 |1989j). Both writers argued that military organisations were primarily the servants of the state. It is the responsibility of the state to tame this “master-servant” to secure both state and society, and civil society has a role to play in cooperating with the “guardian force” to advance collective security. The opinion of these writers is concerned with the growing militarism in societies all around the world. They, however, further stress a sharp rise in the number of cases that have been recorded so far. Studies which indicate direct contradictions to the presumed roles of the military in the society include Marshall (2005), Huntington (1957) and Janowitz (1960). They were some of the first thinkers who published their seminal books about CMR which effectively brought CMR into the academia, particularly in political science and sociology. The versatility and considerable force with which the Americans adopted Huntington's, and Janowitz's theoretical arguments have become the basis on which most studies of other nations’ CMR have been conducted since security is a precondition of sustainable development.

Since the 1960s, the wave of political independence in African countries has been characterised by unstable governments, alarming frequency of military incursions, and authoritarian one-party regimes occasioned by a failure of leadership and non-existence of viable institutions of governance which have made the military forces of most African states less professional and more political. This therefore, has contributed towards the emergence of inadequate security sector governance framework and deteriorating CMR. After the Cold War in the 1990s, the restoration of democratic governments across Africa catapulted the need for an improvement in CMR and proper security sector governance as a precondition for the sustenance of democracy. However, the 1990s witnessed a mixture of democratic restoration and relapse to fascism or “democratic reversal” across Africa with implications for CMR. The democratic reversal in Africa was rooted in return of military rule (tor instance, in Sierra Leone, Mali), civil war (Democratic Republic of Congo), sectarian violence (Central African Republic), insurgency (Ethiopia), state collapse (Somalia). In the 2000s, particularly after 9/11, African countries have witnessed a new wave of threats — militancy terrorism, insurgency, and sectarian skirmishes, which have impelled the state to reconsider its template of security provisioning. For instance, the Lake Chad Basin was ravaged with the dastardly Boko Haram violent attack. It threatened the very survival of the region because of the use of Improvised Explosive Devise (IED) bombs, hand used grenade bombs, AK47s, arson, and all sort of sophisticated weapons used by the insurgents in killing people. Further, their tactics involved kidnapping, rendering millions of people homeless, destroying properties worth billions, and causing serious economic and health hazard in the region. The ability of each country in this region to free itself from this menace was met with various challenges ranging from the politicisation of the conflict; high level of corruption; conventional military engagement consistently like deployment of security agents to the most affected areas, declaration of a state of emergency, call tor internal assistance, relocation of military command centre; and the ill-preparedness of the security personnel lo- gistically and operationally. The dire consequences of this violent clashes exerted pressure on African leaders. Hence, integration of civil society in complementing military action in combating insecurity in the region as was justifiable from the activities of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) assistance of the government’s Joint Task Force (JTF) and the Joint Multinational Task Force (|MTF) (comprising troops from Nigeria, Niger Republic, Chad, and Cameroon) in launching military offensives against the insurgents.

The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) — or yangora — is a youth vigilante organisation that functions as a community-based police force. It is a necessary creation that was born “in reaction to the failure of the Nigerian military to protect civilians against Boko Haram” (Daniel, 2015:14). Bamidele (2016) is of the view that the civilian JTF emerged and volunteered to assist the Special and Joint Task Force with the counterterrorism campaign. They are armed with mundane weapons such as bows and arrows, swords, clubs, and daggers and operate under the supervision of the civilian JTF sector commanders. With the aid ot the CJTF, Borno state in Nigeria has experience normalcy to a certain high level and many Boko Haram members who feared the CJTF have run out of Maiduguri. The creation ot civilian JTF as part of the mechanisms tor combating the menace of Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria represents a veritable example of a citizen-driven coordinated response to security challenge and an indication of how terrorism can be tackled and prevented. The civilian group exploits their knowledge of the communities to identify suspected Boko Haram members or other suspicious individuals. Civilian JTF members have been successful in stopping many attacks through swift identification ot strange faces in their communities. They have also helped the security agencies to arrest Boko Haram members (Okereke, 2013, cited in Bamidele, 2016). The IASC (International Agency Standing Committee) (2008) posits that engaging military support for humanitarian operations is not a new endeavour. In today’s security environment, however, the military is ever more involved in the “direct” provision of aid. At the same time, humanitarian actors are often faced with situations where there are no alternatives but to rely on the military, as a last resort, for safety and to access populations in need at the serious risk of compromising their neutrality, impartiality, independence, and thus their ability and/or credibility to operate. Combined with the tides toward “integration” and “whole-of-government” approaches, as well as the increased propensity of some governments to deploy mixed civilian-military teams to provide aid as a ‘tool’ to address security threats, the situation calls for enhanced understandings between the military and humanitarian professionals at all levels.

Insecurity story in Somalia is akin to what has been happening in other African countries. Bradbury and Healy (2010) maintain that for over two decades, the nature of the Somali crisis and the international context within which it is occurring has constantly been changing. It has mutated from a civil war in the 1980s, through state collapse, clan factionalism, and “war- lordism” in the 1990s, to a globalised ideological conflict in the first decade ot the new millennium. Between 2006 and 2008 the country further recorded violent insurgency, military occupation, rising jihadism, and massive population displacement has reversed the incremental political and economic progress achieved by the late 1990s in south-central Somali. The consequences of this dastardly act in the early 1990s include the “killing of an estimated 25,000 people, 1.5 million people fled the country, and at least 2 million were internally displaced”____by 2006—08, 1.3 million people were displaced, 3.6 million people required emergency food aid, and 60,000 Somalis a year fleeing the country” (Bradbury & Healy, 2010: 10—14). The role of international organisations, regional bodies and other NGOs such as the United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNOSOM), the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and a host of other women organisations like the Coalition for Grassroots Women Organisations (COGWO); the Peace and Human Right Network — Iskuxirka Nabadaiyo Xuquuqal Adamiga (INXA), the Network Women Pioneers for Peace and Life, known as HINNA (Haweenka Horseedka Nabadda), among others. These organisations have carried out a lot of activities in promoting peace-building in Somalia. For instance, the actions of UNOSOM in the early 1990s created awareness by turning world attention to the catastrophic happenings in Somalia and assisted in saving lives by securing food supplies. It facilitated some regional agreements that improved security, reopened Mogadishu airport and seaport, and supported the revival ot critical services and the creation of local NGOs. It also provided employment and injected enormous resources into the economy. The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has also been supporting past Somali reconciliation efforts to promote peace and security. For instance, the 2002 reconciliation between the Transitional National Government (TNG) and the Somali Restoration and Reconciliation Council (SRRC) was because ot the IGAD initiative. Other women civil society organisations like Coalition for Grassroots Women Organisations (COGWO), HINNA, INXA, among others have also contributed immensely in participator)’ security in Somalia by uniting women voices and peace-building efforts; promote women’s rights to support victims of violence; use of the poem as a strategy in promoting peace; initiatives to disarm and retain young militiamen; organising peace campaigns; promoting peace and political advocacy; and, stimulating the engagement of civil society organisations. Conclusively, the activities of civil society organisations have achieved much in the past two decades in Somalia by helping to “disempowered the warlords, reduced the significance of clan affiliation, ensured civil society representation is essential to any peace and reconciliation process and made progress on the participation of women in politics” (Faiza, 2010:65).

Uganda has experienced continual struggles for political control and violent conflicts since its independence. The conflict worsened between 1986 and 2006 because of successive insurgent groups who fought against the Ugandan government. The explosion of the conflict can be traced to the coming to power of Yoweri Museveni — the leader of the National Resistance Army (NRA) in 1986 after engaging the Uganda’s government in a guerrilla war for five years. The formation ot the national government by Museveni led to the rise of another leading rebel group named the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) which further deteriorated the security situation in the country. The country has suffered escalated state violence, coercion, lawlessness, banditry, robberies, harassment, cold-blooded murders, and insecurity — “as security forces have been a dominant means of political control and retaining power” (Omach, 2016:82). The role of civil society in participatory security in Uganda according to Omach (2016) include championing the cause of human rights, provided leadership, engaged in advocacy tor peaceful resolution of the conflict, facilitated contacts between rebel fighters and the government, promoted reconciliation between rebels and the community, organised workshops, issued statements, facilitated the formation ot peace clubs to change community attitudes, carried out counselling and facilitated reintegration ot abducted persons who escaped from rebel captivity, build a culture of peace, and foster reconciliation. The civil society organisations (CSOs) that took part in the Ugandan peacebuilding activities include the Aclioli Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARLPI) — an interdenominational peace initiative comprising the Anglican Church of Uganda, Catholic Church, and Moslems, and Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church; Ker KalKwaro Aclioli — the cultural institution of traditional leaders and Human Rights Focus, a local NGO based in Gulu district; Gulu Save the Children Organisation (GUSCO); Kitgum Concerned Women’s Association (KICWA); Civil Society Organisation tor Peace in Northern Uganda (COSPNU), Human Rights Focus (HRF), and Gulu Hope tor Peace (GHP).

The CAR has also suffered from heightened security challenges in the name of “persistent poor governance by a centralised state over many years before the Seleka rebellion in 2012, especially in the handling ot the country’s security and economy” (Thierry, 2015:7). In addition, Thierry (2015) further posits that fighting between the anti-balaka and ex-Seleka in the centre ot the country has exacerbated and has been accompanied with fighting between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities in divided cities of the country; cattle herding and cattle theft; widespread banditry; border insecurity; constant insecurity that caused the formation of armed groups to defend oneself/group; and the government’s chronic economic mismanagement also provoked deep resentment among the population while the absence of education or job opportunities made disenfranchised young people particularly vulnerable to recruitment by armed militia or manipulation by politicians. With state structures in disarray, efforts by local, regional, and international CSOs in promoting peaceful co-existence in CAR were strengthened as religious organisations organised ecumenical prayers and joint celebrations of Christian and Muslim festivals to symbolise religious tolerance in addition to their counter-narrative sermons. The Central African Brothers (CAB), Vitalite Plus (VP), the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) which was transformed in 2014 into a full- scale UN peace-keeping mission, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), etc. also contributed in CAR peace-building activities by creating local peace committees and provide training tor their members, raising public awareness of the need for peace and trying to mediate directly between communities in conflict, lobbying for reconstruction initiatives, monitoring security and crime in the neighbourhood, developed training programmes for youth (considered primary perpetrators of violence).

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