terça-feira, 17 de agosto de 2010

Why a Stabilisation Force?

Artigo de David Zounmenou, senior researcher, African Conflict Prevention Programme (ISS Pretoria), publicado a 10 de Agosto.

"It is a well-known historical fact that the army remains the most important factor of instability in Guinea Bissau, using violence with ease to effect control over other branches of the state for its own sake. It is the same old guerrilla force that fought the Portuguese colonial power since the 1950s under the leadership of Amical Cabral that constitutes the bulk of the armed forces, ill-disciplined and without any socio-economic survival alternative. While a number of reforms have been initiated, none has so far produced the expected outcomes. Bearing this in mind, one could argue that although the president of Guinea Bissau had strategic considerations in nominating the new chief of the army, that is to gain control of the army in order to reinforce his authority, his appreciation of the situation failed to anticipate the reaction of the international community. In fact, it clearly appears that the president does not have the necessary leverage to impose his authority on the army and the country. For, if he was not able to allow Indjai to take over from Zamora forcefully as the new army chief of staff, it is highly likely that Indjai's next move could be to depose him if not to physically eliminate him.

This background is necessary in understanding the context in which President Sanha calls for help. President Malam Bacai Sanha found himself locked in a power game, which keeps the country and the reform process hostage. His call for the stabilization force acknowledges that the balance of power is not in his favour and this could be an impediment to the successful post-conflict reconstruction in spite of all his good political will. Perhaps, rather than pointing at the failure of the political and the military elite, or his inability to rule the country, this call should be taken seriously, its contours clearly defined, the mandate specifically crafted and the timeframe strategically assigned. The army has agreed to welcome that force provided that it is approved by parliament and that sufficient details are given to the military hierarchy on its structure and mandate. However, this stabilisation force will be useless if it is not incorporated in a revised and adapted post-conflict reconstruction programme that creates the framework for the development of an effective state administrative capacity, a coherent socio-economic plan and an incentive for security sector reform. One of the contentious issues with regard to the latter is the absence of a plan to resolve the perennial problem of war veterans. The authorities in Guinea Bissau have identified nearly 6,000 military veterans, according to a recent census as part of a push for security reforms aimed at ending a cycle of coups by an overly-powerful army. According to the Defense Minister, Aristides Ocante Da Silva, the census will allow the country to have a reliable database to better manage the conditions of war veterans. Better conditions, it is hoped, will encourage veterans and older servicemen to leave the army, which many are reluctant to do, and help the country to meet its demobilisation targets. The goal is to reduce the size of armed forces from almost 4500 to 3440 men to be in conformity with the number set by donors (nota minha: para ser mais correcto o número não é determinado pelos doadores mas antes pelas próprias autoridades da Guiné-Bissau conforme Documento de Estratégias Nacional aprovado na Assembleia Nacional Popular em Janeiro de 2008) in the context of reforms of the armed forces."

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