Challenges of Democratisation and the New African Civil-Military Relations

Convener: Dr. Martin R. Rupiya (The African Public Policy & Research Institute, Pretoria/Tshwane, South Africa);

The importance of the panel becomes clear if one takes into account recent events of rapid power changes in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar – confronting the African Union with unique characteristics of political and socio-economic crises that have both sub-regional and international dimensions? These events – reflecting the fragility of the African state in the post-colonial/One-Party-State era – have thrown up interesting dynamics for the new political elite to deconstruct and reconstruct new civil military relations, complete with reformed institutions. The question of the discovery and abundance of natural resources, minerals and hydrocarbons that has become prevalent on the African continent, this has become a game changer--creating the potential for domestic capacity and yet the source/curse of possible instability? Given the specificities of the challenge: from Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Mali, the new Somalia, South Sudan and Madagascar – the constitutional and institutional establishment of new civil-military relations has emerged as the single most important dimension for long-term stability and development. Civil Military Relations include the defined and constitutional role of the Executive; Legislature – complete with Oversight powers; constitutionally mandated civilian bureaucracy and institutions – ranging from Intelligence; Border Guards/Immigration; Police; Army, National Parks and VIP Points such as oil wells and diamond mines as well as Prison officials. An example of the common response has been the time limits of all political and civil service officials responsible for defense and security matters, finding their terms of conditions of service and periods limited in the series of draft constitutions produced in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Egypt. What future does this hold for stable and balanced civil military relations in these and other African states?