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See: How to Establish the African Union Army

January 30, 2004
SEGREGATED AFRICAN STAND-BY FORCE IS BAD STRATEGY
Proposed Peace & Security Council is Severely Flawed
By Dan Kashagama

The concept of a segregated African standby force is undemocratic and unworkable. Already Africa has had and continues to have several such armies that have failed to live up to their potential, on account of the contradiction in philosophy, which they represent: an elite force which is counterpoised (even if only in theory) against other African troops.

The most recent agreement by ministers of defence in Addis Ababa to create five regional Brigades is only workable if it is divorced from the African Peace and Security Council that resembles the UN Security Council. The objective measure to determine which African troops are more worthy than others to do peacekeeping is skill, not state of origin.

In the event of a disaster, every good soldier should be able to participate in peace operations regardless of his state of residence. Every member state should contribute to peace and security on the continent, not just the rich states, and not just states with democratic pretensions. A Security Council structured on the lines of the UN version violates the principle and letter of the Constitutive Act of the African Union. Moreover, isn't it up to the Pan African Parliament and the entire Assembly to decide how to resolve security concerns, why do we need another organ under the control of a rigid states formular?

A better alternative, which is consistent with the spirit of unity, is to simply re-designate ALL armies in the African Union as a single defense force. This is the cheapest and most stable configuration. All the soldiers have to do is swear a new Oath of Allegiance to the African Union, and promise to obey the orders of the lawfully designated civil African Union authorities and the African Chiefs of Defense Staff. After that we can work on harmonizing and retraining ALL of Africa's troops and giving all the equal opportunity to contribute to peace and security.

The structure the AUF has proposed for the ACDS would include approximately 162 general and senior officers (the top three from each constituent state). These would be responsible, through the established administrative channels, to the African National Command Authority. The National Command Authority would be composed of all the members of the Assembly of Heads of State, the President of the PAP, the Vice Presidents of the PAP, the Chair of the Commission and the other Commissioners. The National Command Authority would have a central office or HQ, and regional HQs spread across Africa.

Creating a heavily state dependent “Peace and Security Council”, as the one that the AU Commission is currently asking states to ratify, is not so desirable. Why not simply reserve the name "Peace and Security Council" for a regionally balanced HQ Staff of the National Command Authority, instead of fostering onto Africa a governing bureaucrat-heavy competition-prone organ, designed to promote a two-tier state system. By creating a two-tiered state system in which some states are “good” and others are “bad” you merely confirm the neocolonial order. The “sanctions” mentality is stupid, especially since it excludes qualified and skilled soldiers, who might have the misfortune of being ruled by a despot.

The African National Command Authority would have an Office designated as the African Defence HQ (or the Peace and Security HQ). The HQ would be run by the AU Commission, and shared by the Executive Council, and by the African Chiefs of Defence Staff (who are representatives of the heads of the constituent states of the AU). The HQ would keep the members of the Assembly and Parliament up to date with details of activities, and would manage the process of integration, peacekeeping and disaster response.



The President of the Pan African Parliament (or the Chair of the AU Commission) would nominate three members of the ACDS as the Commander of the Army, the Chief of Operations, and Chief of Staff, and other administrative commanders, aiming for regional balance and professionalism. The nominees would then undergo a confirmation hearing process by the interested committees of the PAP.

Below the ACDS would be the Mission Force Commanders, and these would be appointed via differing processes and procedures depending on the nature of the mission and the composition of the army units available for the mission. If the mission is to organize supply convoys for hunger relief, the ACDS would appoint mission commanders with disaster relief expertise, if the mission was to protect leaders in an urban environment the ACDS might choose mission commanders from a special force unit, if the mission involved peacekeeping, then commanders with negotiating expertise, or with good rapport with the peacekeeping troops.

Having a common defense policy presupposes institutional cooperation, joint implementation and ultimately integration, which is the rationale behind Unification. The principles of good governance emphasize settling disputes and working to increase the integration of the African community. The integration of the African armies that will result in peace and security demands common military protocols, common operation manuals, consolidated budgets, joint exercises, shared facilities, and the fostering of unity among the rank and file. What we don't need is five states deciding for everyone else, and in charge of an elite force from which most African soldiers are excluded.

END

    
    
    
    

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