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Security sector reform full of contradictions

According to the principles of Security Sector Reform as set out in the United Nation’s Secretary General’s 2008 report entitled Securing Peace and Development: The Role of the United Nations in Support of Security Sector Reform, Security Sector Reform (SSR) is described as, “a process of assessment, review and implementation, as well as monitoring and evaluation of the security sector led by national authorities.”

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In the same report, the Security Sector is defined as “the structures, institutions and personnel responsible for the management, provision and oversight of security in a country.” The report also states that the goal of SSR is, “the enhancement of effective and accountable security for the state and its peoples without discrimination and with full respect of human rights and the rule of law.”

Zimbabwe’s top securocrats have recently rejected the notion of SSR in the country, arguing that it fortifies a western-led anti-Zanu PF regime change agenda. This has consequently ruffled the political feathers of pro-SSR parties in the country who are demanding that reforms are enacted before elections can take place.

It should be observed that when it comes to security sector related issues, the world is full of contradictions. In fact, while it is acknowledged that SSR is intended to promote “human rights and the rule of law,” it also controversially argued that so-called non-democratic regimes such as Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tunisa, are most urgently in need of SSR. This is a misconception.

Instead of attempting to delve into the debate of SSR in Zimbabwe, I deem it a priority to argue that on the contemporary global arena, no single nation-state has the moral high ground when it comes to the relationship between the security sector, human rights and the rule of law.

For instance, Professor Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on executions recently stated that robotic weapon systems with varying degrees of autonomy and deadliness are being tested or used by the United States and Britain (countries often perceived to be at the forefront of the human rights discourse) without debate on moral and legal issues. These weapons, commonly known as “drones” are believed to have killed more civilians than militants in Pakistan and Yemen.

Furthermore, the controversy surrounding Guantanamo Bay prison, as well as the recent furore ignited by CIA employee Edward Snowden’s leaks of state secrets, all point towards the furtive and duplicitous nature of security establishments, even in the so-called open societies of the world.

The irony resonates in the Sadc facilitator’s tendency to call for security sector reforms in Zimbabwe before elections.

Yet, when Jacob Zuma was asked to answer for the recent surreptitious involvement of South African troops in the Central African Republic, he responded: “The problem in South Africa is that everybody wants to run the country… there must also be an appreciation that military matters and decisions are not matters that are discussed in public.” No need to mention Marikana.

Back in Harare, The MDC-T is calling for security sector reforms before elections can be held this year. Yet, recently MDC-T security guards allegedly assaulted Zimbabwe Independent journalist Herbert Moyo and barred him from covering a demonstration at the MDC-T Harvest House headquarters. No mention of reforms there.

Now what can I conclude of all this? Nothing, except that all is fair in love and war.

4 Responses to Security sector reform full of contradictions

  1. Fed up June 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    What are you trying to say exactly? Hapana zvawanyora zvinemusoro apa! Ssr is particularly important in zim because of the grossly high and disproportionate levels of unprofessionalism and partisanship of our armed forces especially top brass that behaves as if its an appendage of zanu pf period! As individuals serviceman will always have their own ideological beleifs but once you are in office as a serviceman you leave those behind and serve your country with distinction and dedication and if our armed forces stuck to their constitutional mandate then there would be no need to talk about ssr. For the record,those countries you mentioned have professional service men of great repute who serve the constitution and not a political party.

  2. Fed up June 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    .What are you trying to say exactly? Hapana zvawanyora zvinemusoro apa! Ssr is particularly important in zim because of the grossly high and disproportionate levels of unprofessionalism and partisanship of our armed forces especially top brass that behaves as if its an appendage of zanu pf period! As individuals serviceman will always have their own ideological beleifs but once you are in office as a serviceman you leave those behind and serve your country with distinction and dedication and if our armed forces stuck to their constitutional mandate then there would be no need to talk about ssr. For the record,those countries you mentioned have professional service men of great repute who serve the constitution and not a political party.

  3. chimwango June 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Writer are you trying or are you telling us that the cry for ssr in this country is of no use?.If that is the case we need not to doubt that you sympathise with concourt and the present system .How do you expect progressive institutions of this nation to remove the dictator without ssr?You think after loosing power in the forth coming election they can easily hand over power when they do not want to recognize anyone who did not fight in the liberation struggle even if people have voted for him in a fee and fair election.Lets be serious if we want the dictator to go.

  4. Mavara Azarevhu June 17, 2013 at 1:02 am #

    Security sector reform reform. Imagine this scenario. The chief security guard at the firm tells the company secretary that he will not obey orders derived from stake holders. Hey you resign or get fired. Havana protocol. Reform institutes rules of operation. Kana zvisinga kuitiri, baya.

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