November 2012

  • James Momoh: Working to Bridge Gap between Media and Security Sector in Africa

    James MomohBy J.R. Warner, Africa Center staff writer Former combat correspondent James Momoh of Liberia, who recently joined the Africa Center for Strategic Studies as an adjunct faculty member and advisor on media relations, understands the challenge associated with reporting in conflict-affected and post-conflict environments. “The media needs to be an integral part of security sector reform and its implementation,” Mr. Momoh said during a presentation at an October 2012 ACSS workshop in Dakar, Senegal. “This cannot be done behind closed doors.” The media in many African states has had a historically antagonistic relationship with the governments—especially the security sector, Mr. Momoh said during the presentation. During his time at the Africa Center, he will work to help bridge the gap between the media and the security sector on the continent. A seasoned journalist who covered conflicts throughout West Africa, Mr. Momoh has closely observed the evolution of media and press freedom in Liberia and throughout the region over the past several decades. “The media in the 1980s was basically controlled by the government,” Mr. Momoh recalled of his time reporting in Liberia.  Media outlets required clearance from the government before publishing or broadcasting.  Publishing houses that violated this policy risked being shut down or even destroyed. Non-compliant journalists operated in fear of constant intimidation. Many were arrested or detained by the government. Meanwhile, the government maintained a monopoly over the country’s media. “Government media existed basically to protect government interests,” Mr. Momoh said. “When the government was accused of human rights violations, the government media projected a positive image of the government.” Reporting conditions in Liberia deteriorated drastically with the outbreak of the Liberian Civil War in 1989. “Peacetime repression gave way to the dangers of reporting from war zones,” according to a report by Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Apart from a short-lived cease-fire from 1996 to 1999, the war continued until 2003.

    For journalists, the threat of violence and intimidation intensified during the conflict. “The media disappeared because of the insecurity,” said Mr.  Momoh. “Liberia became a failed state. The media could not function and had to go underground.”

    Warring factions were also able to compromise the integrity of a large share of the media houses that remained active in the country. “With Liberia caught up in highly factionalized conflict, many media outlets became, wittingly or unwittingly, mouthpieces for the competing factions’ propaganda,” according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. The reporting environment in Liberia has improved drastically since the civil war ended in 2003. “Today, we have a proliferation of media institutions in the country because of the relative peace that exists. There are more independent papers, there’s an increase of radio stations and television stations,” said Mr. Momoh. “Today’s era has become an era of relative press freedom in Liberia.” In some ways, Liberia’s government has been a pioneer in the region in terms of press freedom. In 2010, for example, the country became the first state in West Africa to enact a Freedom of Information law. The impact of enhanced media freedom has been clearly visible. “The rapid spread of mobile phones and FM radio in the last decade has had a stabilising role in the intrinsic sense of opening access to information,” according to a December 2011 study by International Alert on media, information flows, and conflict in Liberia. “[This] has also necessitated examples of specific good practice as the media, citizens and community leaders seek to build peace and counter information which might otherwise stoke conflict.” But despite significant progress, state-media relations in Liberia continue to face major challenges. “Liberia saw increased attacks against journalists in 2011, both in the form of physical violence, as well as the use of libel charges by politicians to silence journalists,” wrote Freedom House in its latest annual examination of press freedom around the world. Meanwhile, the watchdog has also expressed concerns about the ethical standards of some journalists in the country. “Reporters commonly accept payment from individuals covered in their stories, and the placement of a story in a paper or radio show can often be bought and influenced by outside interests.” And Liberia’s case is not unique. Government censorship and interference in the operations of the media is commonplace in African states experiencing or emerging from conflict or political crises. Reporters in these environments routinely suffer from resource and capacity restraints. On the other hand, a lack of professionalism on the part of some reporters can undermine governments’ confidence in the media. What results is a relationship defined by mutual suspicion and mistrust. Ultimately, in the absence of independent, empowered, and capable media, post-conflict states struggle to consolidate peace and promote accountability and good governance. Conflict can have a devastating impact on public-sector institutions and accountability mechanisms. As these institutions are rebuilt, governance experts say the media can play a crucial role as a watchdog and as a venue for dialogue between the government and society at large. Accordingly, empowering the media and fostering constructive relationships between reporters and governments in these states must be a priority. One key responsibility for media outlets in post-conflict environments, according to Mr. Momoh, is to remain engaged with the security sector—especially as governments embark on security sector reform. Given that one of the most basic functions of any state is to safeguard the security of its citizens, ensuring that citizens receive timely and accurate information about key factors and institutions impacting their security is crucial for maintaining the legitimacy of the state itself. As an advisor on media relations at ACSS, Mr. Momoh will spearhead several initiatives aimed at improving the security sector’s relationship with the media. Mr. Momoh plans to help ACSS alumni in the security sector develop a better understanding of the role that a free, independent, and professional press can play in contributing to government oversight and accountability, especially in the security sector. Mr. Momoh also will work to assist African journalists in enhancing their understanding of the security sectors in their respective countries. In addition, he hopes to help foster appropriate standards of journalistic ethics and standards of reporting on the part of journalists. Professor Thomas Dempsey, chair for security studies at the Africa Center and a retired U.S. Army colonel, said a free, independent press can be an important aspect of a healthy security sector. “Building a more functional and effective partnership between African security sectors and the press requires input from experienced African journalists who are familiar with the unique challenges of reporting in an African context, and who also have experience reporting on security issues,” Mr. Dempsey said. “Mr. Momoh meets all of these requirements, and we anticipate that his credibility with local media and journalists will help us identify other African journalists who do as well.”
  • Africa Center Seminar Looks at ‘Credibility Gap’ Between Security Sector and Civilian Overseers

    Colonel Elias Paulo MatarucaBy J.R. Warner, staff writer, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies View Photos of the Event WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite significant democratic progress in Africa over the past two decades, ensuring democratic control over the security sector remains a serious challenge across much of the continent, according to subject matter experts who gathered for an Africa Center seminar in November. Yet, strengthening civilian oversight of the military and other security organizations remains a prerequisite for consolidating democracy, said the experts, who attended an Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) seminar on Managing Security Resources in Africa. The November 5-9, 2012, seminar took place in Washington, D.C., and was attended by 40 professionals from 13 nations in Africa. Mutual mistrust and suspicion are key drivers of the problem, experts and practitioners said. “There is a huge credibility gap between security sector officials and civilian leaders with oversight responsibilities,” said Dr. Assis Malaqiuas, Academic Chair in Defense Economics at the Africa Center, during the week-long seminar. “Civilian authorities and civil society groups generally hold the view that military budgets are excessive, particularly within the context of scarce resources and acute developmental needs,” said Dr. Malaquias. “For their part, security sector officials believe that the civilian oversight mechanism is poorly informed, inefficient, and corrupt.” Military-backed coups d’état earlier this year in Mali and Guinea-Bissau underscore fragile state of civil-military relations in many parts of the continent. But, according Dr. Mathurin C. Houngnikpo, Academic Chair in Civil-Military Relations at the Africa Center, the blight of military overreach is not limited to autocracies and fragile states. “Military acceptance of civilian authority remains a missing piece of Africa’s democratic transition puzzle,” wrote Dr. Houngnikpo in a January 2012 Africa Security Brief published by ACSS. “Even where legitimate civilian rule predominates, civil-military relations remain strained in much of Africa.” Embracing the doctrine of democratic civilian control of the military, according to Dr. Houngnikpo, will enhance the legitimacy, capacity, and performance of the armed forces. “The practical realization of this doctrine requires Africa’s parliaments to assert and exercise more robust control and oversight of the security sector,” he insists. “As the ears and eyes of citizens, parliamentarians must ensure that principles of good governance and the rule of law apply to the defense and security forces. … A state without parliamentary oversight of its security sector should at best be deemed an unfinished democracy.” Within parliament, Public Accounts Committees are a particularly useful tool for civilian oversight of the security sector. Normally chaired by a member of an opposition party in order to safeguard integrity, these committees provide a useful venue for holding hearings on issues of public interest, examining audits, scrutinizing public expenditure, identifying concerns, and articulating policy responses and corrective measures when necessary.

    Video Recorded in Portuguese While parliament remains an indispensible mechanism for civilian oversight, Colonel Elias Paulo Mataruca, National Director of Logistics and Asset Management for the Mozambican Armed Forces, said that a wide range of institutions can and should play a role. Civil society and the media, for example, must be empowered to act as watchdogs that articulate and amplify public concerns about the management and performance of the security sector, he said. The executive branch must develop internal control mechanisms, such as independent auditors, he said, and an independent judiciary is essential as well. If adequately empowered, individuals and civil society organizations can use the courts as a venue to ensure that the security sector operates within the law. According to Colonel Mataruca, public scrutiny over the defense and security sectors yields tangible benefits for governments and militaries alike. “Enhanced democratic oversight of security sector spending brings about an atmosphere which is conducive for anti-corruption efforts by making security office-holders accountable for their activities and expenditure of resources,” Colonel Mataruca said during a presentation at the ACSS Seminar. “Increased transparency,” he added, “has also led to a higher level of public trust in the defense and security sector.” The Africa Center for Strategic Studies is one of five Department of Defense regional centers for research and academic outreach and supports U.S. policy by bringing civilian and military leaders together for informed debate on current security challenges facing Africa and the international community. Since 1999, more than 6,000 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.

  • U.S. General David M. Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, visited the Africa Center for Strategic Studies

    General Rodriguez Visits ACSSView Photos of the Event U.S. General David M. Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, visited the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on November 14, 2012, to take part in wide ranging discussions on African security with ACSS faculty and staff. Based in Washington, D.C., the Africa Center is one of five academically focused U.S. Department of Defense Regional Centers. ACSS engages African partners, states, and institutions through focused and efficient academic and outreach programs that foster long-term collaborative relationships. The center also conducts policy-relevant research and acts as a conduit for an African security policy dialogue.
  • Crucial Link Between National Security and Effective Resource Management Explored at Africa Center Seminar

    Managing Security Resources in Africa 2012View Photos of the Event WASHINGTON, D.C. – A week-long Africa Center seminar on the crucial link between national security and effectively managed financial and human resources was attended by 40 senior military and civilian officials from 13 African nations and the United States. The seminar, “Managing Security Resources in Africa,” concluded November 9, 2012, and took place at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C., where the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) is co-located with the National Defense University. Seminar participants included practitioners and policymakers responsible for resource management in Africa military and security organizations. Participants explored the importance of predictable policy environments, transparent procedures, and accountability for officials. They also discussed the importance of adopting appropriate, internationally-recognized budgetary and procurement practices and examined the policy, institutional, and capacity challenges facing the funding of the defense sector in Africa.

    MSRAGroupPhoto“The Africa Center did a great job in planting a seed,” said one participant. “We hope tomorrow we will enjoy the shade of the tree.” The participant added that the program will have a great impact in promoting accountability and efficiency in the security sector on the continent. Africa Center programs are conducted under a strict policy of non-attribution to permit the candid exchange of ideas.

    At the seminar’s closing ceremony, Mr. Michael Garrison, ACSS Acting Director, thanked the participants for their commitment to lively discussions. He expressed the Center’s dedication to creating programs that bring together civilian and military leaders from across Africa to discuss security challenges with the goal of finding African-led solutions. Dr. Assis Malaquias, ACSS Academic Chair for Defense Economics and faculty lead for the seminar, told participants that the main goals of the gathering were to share ideas about how to best manage scarce security resources in Africa and to strengthen the network of resource management professionals on the continent. “I believe these goals have been met,” said Dr. Malaquias, who encouraged participants to keep in touch when they return to their countries. “Now, my challenge to you is to strengthen this network when you go back home.” . The seminar, also known by its acronym MSRA, ran from 5 to 9 November. The keynote address at the opening ceremony was given by Dr. El Hadj Ibrahima Sall, President of the Université Polytechnique de l’Ouest Africain (University of Technology in West Africa). Sall discussed the nexus between resources management and strategy. He emphasized the critical importance of efficient management of resources to achieve a country’s security goals in Africa. The Africa Center for Strategic Studies is one of five Department of Defense regional centers for research and academic outreach and supports U.S. policy by bringing civilian and military leaders together for informed debate on current security challenges facing Africa and the international community. Since 1999, more than 6,000 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.
  • (Français) Les participants à un séminaire du CESA vivent en direct l’élection présidentielle américaine

    ellection_night_2012Une dizaine de participants au récent séminaire du Centre d’études stratégiques de l’Afrique (CESA) sur la gestion des ressources dans le secteur de la sécurité ont eu l’occasion de vivre en direct les résultats de l’élection présidentielle américaine  du 6 novembre 2012 dans un hôtel de Washington, D.C.  Ces cadres civils et militaires de haut niveau ont profité de leur temps libre en fin de journée  pour assister à l’une des nombreuses soirées électorales organisées par les Partis Républicain et Démocrate dans la capitale américaine.

    «  Cela a été un expérience unique pour moi. J’y avais pensé avant de venir aux États-Unis pour ce séminaire, mais je ne savais pas comment faire », a notamment déclaré le capitaine de vaisseau Houcine Nasri du ministère tunisien de la défense. « Je remercie vraiment le CESA de m’avoir donné l’opportunité d’assister  à cette soirée parmi des américains, de voir comment ils vivent ce moment important non seulement pour leur pays,  mais aussi pour le monde entier ».

    La soirée a également fait forte impression sur Mountaga Dioume, cadre au ministère sénégalais des finances qui a lu sur les visages de la foule autour de lui, « l’angoisse (ou l’optimisme) des uns et des autres  au fur et à mesure que la télévision égrenait les résultats. La fête était là pour masquer les angoisses, mais on sentait bien que les américains présents étaient surtout préoccupés par les résultats ». M. Dioume a également ajouté : «  nous avons pu apprendre de la plus grande démocratie du monde que tout commence par les élections. Cela devrait faire tâche d’huile chez nous ».

    Satydanand Aujeet, fonctionnaire au cabinet du premier ministre de l’Ile Maurice a insisté quant à lui sur le déroulement sans incident de la soirée. «  À aucun moment, je ne me suis senti en insécurité. Il ya eu des manifestations de joie certes, mais on n’a pas vu de casse, ni de blocage de la circulation. Cela traduit bien la maturité de la démocratie américaine ». M. Aujeet a également trouvé que le discours du perdant Mitt Romney, après qu’il ait téléphoné au président Obama pour le féliciter de  sa victoire était empreint d’un vrai sens de la responsabilité. «  Il a proposé de travailler avec le président et j’ai trouvé cela très intéressant. Le fait aussi qu’il ait dit dans son discours qu’il allait prier pour que le président réussisse montre que pour lui, l’intérêt de l’Amérique passe avant celui de son parti. Il sait que si le président ne travaille pas bien, c’est tout le pays qui va souffrir».

    David Makvwi, Directeur à l’agence nationale du renseignement militaire au Nigeria a d’abord été frappé tout au long de la soirée par le ratio police/citoyen -l’expression est de lui- dans la ville, qu’il a trouvé tout à fait ordinaire. « Il y a certainement eu un renforcement de la présence policière dans des points sensibles, mais je n’ai pas vu de brigades antiémeutes ou des unités de ce genre dans les rues. Dans nos pays cela se passe tout à fait autrement ».

    Certains de ces cadres et officiers supérieurs africains, très heureux d’avoir appris  en passant la différence entre « Red State » et « Blue State », ont également remarqué la volonté affichée des leaders  démocrates et républicains de rechercher le consensus dans la gestion des affaires du pays. Une preuve que ce qui est important pour eux, c’est d’abord l’intérêt de l’Amérique, et non celui d’une région ou d’un parti.

    « Très souvent dans nos pays, il y a une tendance à favoriser seulement les membres du parti au pouvoir, ou les régions qui lui ont été favorables lors des élections. Il serait vraiment intéressant que nous soyons capables en Afrique de dépasser ce stade », a notamment déclaré M.  Makvwi.

    Mangad Mahesh, cadre comme M. Aujeet à la primature de l’Ile Maurice a été littéralement enthousiasmé par cette expérience. «  De ma petite ile de l’océan indien, je n’ai jamais pensé que j’aurais un jour l’occasion de parcourir des milliers de kilomètres pour  assister à une soirée électorale lors d’une présidentielle aux États-Unis. C’est le genre d’occasion qui ne se présente qu’une fois dans la vie».

  • ACSS Kicks Off Seminar on Resource Management in Africa in Washington, D.C.

    MSRA Participants DiscussingView Photos of the Event On Monday, 40 senior-level military and civilian officials from 13 African countries and the United States participated in the opening ceremony of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ (ACSS) “Managing Security Resources in Africa” seminar in Washington, D.C. The week-long gathering that runs through 9 November, will give participants an opportunity to analyze the importance of applying practical resource management principles in Africa's security sector. The seminar also aims to reinforce the link between effective resource management and the attainment of national security goals. At the seminar’s opening ceremony, ACSS Acting Director Michael Garrison stressed that ACSS programs are designed to bring security sector practitioners together and provide a capacity-building opportunity through frank and open discussions. He emphasized the Africa Center’s commitment to continuing the dialogue after the program through an active outreach program that engages alumni by visiting ACSS communities and formally organized country chapters across the continent. He also encouraged participants to interact with ACSS faculty members, learn more about the Center’s research publications and use ACSS social media forums to stay in touch. Keynote speaker, Professor El Hadj Ibrahima Sall, President of the Université Polytechnique de l’Ouest Africain (University of Technology of West Africa) in Dakar Senegal, stressed the importance of strategic planning in managing security resources. Sall said that as a general principle, African countries should always concentrate their resources where they are most effectively used. He added that each nation should develop a strategic planning framework that serves as a compass in allocating funds. To reach this goal, he said, African countries need to have what the World Bank calls a Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF): a three-to-five-year plan with budget allocations for their security sectors. The plan would be assessed annually, and remaining funds would be re-allocated. “The strategic plan can also serve as a starting point when it comes to negotiating with the parliament during budgetary trade-offs,” Sall continued. “Without a strategic plan, senior security sector leaders and the minister of defense come to the table empty handed.” Urging participants to work for regional cooperation, Sall said that transnational threats are critically undermining security as a whole in Africa. He argued that it would be challenging for African nations to achieve human security if they don’t pool their resources together and rethink their approach.

    Video Recorded in French

    Dr. Assis Malaquias, ACSS Academic Chair of Defense Economics, addressed seminar participants, asserting, “African militaries have to respond to a large demand for security, with very limited resources, more than elsewhere in the world. This makes the management of security resources very critical. Moreover, security for the state and the citizen is so important that managing resources efficiently becomes a matter of life or death for some states.” Dr. Malaquias said that this timely seminar is meant to be a hands-on workshop for participants. Focus will be on exchanging their views on critical issues in their area of expertise. “We brought you together to ask questions like: what is the impact of a particular size of the military on security? Is big size synonymous with better security? How do you manage your security resources to get the best out of your armed forces?” Dr. Malaquias speaking with ParticipantsMalaquias also pointed out that the seminar’s main objective is to facilitate the sharing of best practices resulting in better management of scarce resources in Africa in the near future. Setting the stage for a challenging and productive week, he concluded, “Security resources are just part of every state’s assets and so far, the countries with the best record in overall resources management in Africa also tend to do well as far as the security sector is concerned.” The seminar will include sessions focused on planning and budgeting for national security; procurement principles and practices; regional dimensions of resource management; and coordinating international assistance. ACSS is the pre-eminent Department of Defense institution for strategic security studies, research, and outreach in Africa. ACSS offers a range of academic symposiums, workshops, and programs throughout Africa, the United States, and Europe. Since 1999, more than 6,000 African and international leaders and security stakeholders have participated in ACSS programs.

  • Africa Center Symposium Highlights Successful Election and Civilian Oversight of Military

    From left, Dr. Mathurin Houngnikpo, academic chair for civil-military relations at ACSS; Amb. Michele Thoren Bond, U.S.Ambassador to Lesotho; the Honorable Sephiri Motanyane, speaker of the National Assembly of Lesotho; Mr. Pitso Makosholo, acting Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Defense of Lesotho; and Vince Crawley, deputy director of communications and community affairs at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS). Photo by Vince CrawleyMASERU, Lesotho — On Wednesday, October 31, 2012, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), in partnership with U.S. Embassy Maseru, held a symposium titled “Legislative Oversight of the Security Sector.” The gathering of approximately 40 officials and community members was organized by the Lesotho Community Chapter of the Washington, D.C.–based ACSS and included discussions on civil-military relations. The symposium took place against a backdrop of the upcoming U.S. election and Lesotho's May elections, which resulted in the country's first peaceful electoral transition of power and first coalition government.

    View photos of the event

    Dignitaries attending the opening ceremony of the October 31, 2012, symposium included The Honorable Sephiri Motanyane, Speaker of the National Assembly of Lesotho; Ambassador Michele Thoren Bond, the U.S. Ambassador to Lesotho; and Mr. Pitso Makosholo, acting Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Defense of Lesotho.

    In his opening remarks, Motanyane noted that the nation’s increased stability and security directly support economic development initiatives. Motanyane, who has been connected to parliament since the nation of 2 million people gained independence in 1966, has lived through election annulments in 1970, a 1986 coup, and the 1994 military-supported government takeover before democracy was restored with free elections in 1998. Motanyane was selected in 1999 to attend the first-ever Africa Center for Strategic Studies event, the inaugural Senior Leaders Seminar in Senegal, shortly after ACSS was established to promote security dialogue across Africa. Motanyane spoke of the dramatic increase in the professionalism of the Lesotho Defence Force over the past two decades.

    Members of the Lesotho Community Chapter of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), October 30, 2012, in Maseru, Lesotho.

    “I say today, the military we have today is very different from the military of yesterday because of the interaction that we have with other military establishments of the world, particularly that of the United States of America,” Motanyane told the government and civil officials at the symposium.

    “The May 2012 elections were universally acknowledged to be free and fair,” Motanyane told the gathering, which included Lieutenant General K.T. Kamoli, commander of the Lesotho Defence Force. “The only military involvement,” he said, “was to use helicopters to deliver ballots to remote mountain locations.”

    “You did your job, and the outcome of that free and fair election is that it produced a credible government,” Motanyane said, adding, “… it is credible because the instrument that brought it to power was credible.”

    Ambassador Bond said “the Africa Center symposium was well-timed, in light of the U.S. election scheduled for November 6 and of the recent Lesotho national election. Only five months ago, Lesotho held free and fair elections that resulted in a peaceful transfer of power and the first coalition government in Lesotho’s history.”

    “All political parties involved deserve credit for competing vigorously in the election, and accepting the results as the legitimate will of the people,” Ambassador Bond said. “I would also like to highlight the responsible role that the Lesotho Defence Force played in this election. Soldiers remained in their barracks all day, except to deliver ballots.  This historic election and peaceful transition is a vivid demonstration of the continued maturation of Lesotho’s democratic institutions.  It will stand as a powerful example to future generations of Basotho, and to the rest of the world, of democracy in action.”

    Ambassador Michele Thoren Bond, the U.S. Ambassador to Lesotho.

    Ambassador Bond stressed that, no matter which candidate wins the U.S. presidential election, the United States would continue to have a strong partnership with Lesotho. Under the U.S. Constitution, she said, the elected president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, embodying civilian control of the military.

    Over the past two years, Bond said, the U.S. Embassy in Maseru has sponsored 11 officers from the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) for training in U.S. military schools and institutions for courses that include leadership and transnational threats. The United States would be interested in Lesotho one day using its hard-earned military professionalism to contribute to peacekeeping missions, she said.

    “The LDF has long played a critical role in providing humanitarian assistance to the farthest reaches of the Mountain Kingdom,” Ambassador Bond said. “I hope that, given its experience and demonstrated commitment to excellence, the LDF will develop its capacity to contribute to humanitarian efforts and possibly even peacekeeping operations on the African continent.”

    In his remarks, Mr. Makosholo, the acting Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Defence, recognized the importance of previous ACSS visits, which included a May 2011 symposium on the appropriate role of the military in elections.

    The theme of democratic control and civil-military relations is particularly resonant following Lesotho’s successful 2012 elections, Makosholo said.

    “The key word in civil-military relations is civil control,” he said.

    “Civil control means the obedience and respect which the military owes to the state,” Makosholo said. “Like other Institutions, the military has a duty of loyalty to the state which employs them on behalf of the citizenry. What is important to note is that, in that arrangement, the military advises on the formulation of defense policy and assist on its implementation.  It does not make the defense policy. The legitimate political authority makes the defense policy with the advice and assistance from the military.”

    Makosholo added that “Civilian control is an essential aspect of a democratic government.  This is a condition, which ensures that the military operates in accordance with the constitution and the wishes of Parliament.” However, he added, “The control measures are not aimed at interfering in operational matters and the military chain of command.”

    crawley_lesotho_2012

    In addition to the October 31 symposium, ACSS faculty and U.S. Embassy staff took part in an October 30 roundtable discussion with approximately 75 officers of all ranks from the Lesotho Defence Force, discussing civil-military relations. The discussions were led by Dr. Mathurin Houngnikpo, the ACSS Academic Chair for Civil Military Relations. Also taking part in the events were: Mr. Vince Crawley, ACSS Deputy Director for Communications and Community Affairs; Mr. Kareem Oweiss, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations; and Ms.Amelia Carvalho, Community Affairs Specialist.

    The visit to Lesotho was part of the ACSS Topical Outreach Program Series (TOPS). TOPS are short duration academic outreach visits conducted in partnership with U.S. Embassies to maintain and deepen collaborative relationships with security professionals who have participated in past ACSS programs.

    ACSS is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and conducts seminars, symposiums, and conferences across Africa and in the United States to encourage dialogue and seek African-led security policies that promote civil-military cooperation, respect for democratic values, and the safeguarding of human rights. More than 6,000 security professionals and experts in related fields have taken part in ACSS programs.

    Article from the Lesotho News Agency