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Security Sector Reform in Ethiopia : a prerequisite for Democracy

Security Sector Reform in Ethiopia : a prerequisite for Democracy

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Published by De Birhan Blogspot
This is a policy document, peace journalism and paper. Security Sector Reform (SSR) is one of the cross cutting discourses in democratization in the developing world. This thesis argues that if the post Meles Zenawi leadership/administration is to call for a
genuine “reconciliatory dialogue” with all concerned parties or at least wants to be a “democratic
regime”; it must immediately start a comprehensive Security Sector Reform (SSR).
This is a policy document, peace journalism and paper. Security Sector Reform (SSR) is one of the cross cutting discourses in democratization in the developing world. This thesis argues that if the post Meles Zenawi leadership/administration is to call for a
genuine “reconciliatory dialogue” with all concerned parties or at least wants to be a “democratic
regime”; it must immediately start a comprehensive Security Sector Reform (SSR).

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Published by: De Birhan Blogspot on Sep 10, 2012
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Security Sector Reform (SSR) in Ethiopia: a prerequisite for Democracy
 © 
By De Birhan Media10 September 2012
Ethiopia is entering a new era. A new era without its Meles Zenawi, who ruled the nation for 21years to the amusement of his clans, party members and Western allies and to the enormousdisgruntlement of the majority of Ethiopians and also a new calendar year 2005. It is a new erabecause, when Meles Zenawi departed, he left a regime, party, plan and policy that would onlybe energized and operational in his presence. He has built and left a security apparatus that is
militarily “strong” but very weak in “leadership, accountability, transparency, inclusiverepresentativeness”. Believing that democracy is
a necessity for the peaceful and sovereigncontinuation of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region, Ethiopian and international stakeholders
have been arguing that the Ethiopian security apparatus needed a “comprehensive and urgentreform”. This thesis argues that if the post Meles Zenawi leade
rship/administration is to call for a
genuine “reconciliatory dialogue” with all concerned parties or at least wants to be a “democraticregime”
; it must immediately start a comprehensive Security Sector Reform (SSR).
What is Security Sector Reform?
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
 – 
DevelopmentAssistance Committee [OECD-DAC] (2007) report broadly speaking,
the security sector isusually understood to encompass all the organizations that have the authority to use, or order theuse of, force in order to protect communities, individuals, and the state.
These include themilitary, police, border guards, intelligence services, government bodies that monitor suchorganizations, and those institutions charged with upholding the rule of law, including the judiciary and the penal system.
 
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Hallelujah Lulie citing the OECD-DAC handbook wrote in his 2010 paper
 
The State of the Post1991 Security Sector in Ethiopia; Challenges and Possible
Entry Points for Reform”
and notesSSR is seen as
the transformation of the “security system” which includes all the actors, their roles,
responsibilities and actions, so that it is managed and operated in a manner that is moreconsistent with democratic norms and sound principles of good governance, and thuscontributes to a well functioning security framework.Bendix and Stanley (2008) explain that SSR implies three principles:
 
One of the novel aspects of SSR is that it is precisely not about piecemeal tinkering, butaims to achieve a broad reform of all dimensions of security provision, both with regardto (external) national defense and (internal) public security.
 
Reform of the security sector is intended not simply to enhance the efficiency of thesecurity forces, but to ensure that they conform to standards of legality, transparency andaccountability
 
SSR is concerned to have a positive impact not only on the security of the state (or that of the government of the day), but also on the security of communities and individuals,guaranteeing security provisions that are respectful of human rights and within the rule of law.A program of the International Development Department, School of Public Policy University of 
Birmingham in its 2007 report entitled “A Beginner‟s Guide to Security Sector Reform (SSR)”quoting the United Nations Security Council states that SSR “must be con
text-
driven” and
situational. The Report also attests that previously security was regarded as a mere political issueand has been avoided by development practitioners but since the end of the Cold War it is nowbelieved that there is a two way linkage between security and development.Bendix and Stanley (2008) note conflicts have cost Africa US $ 18 billion per year since the endof the Cold War. Taking Sierra Leone as a case study, Bendix and Stanley (2008) attest that theSSR programme, mainly funded and managed by DFID, had the following objectives: thecreation of effective, affordable and democratically accountable security institutions; effectivereconciliation, justice and reintegration of ex-combatants; and the reduction of regional threats to
 
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Sierra Leone. The
SSR in Sierra Leone is cited as one of the “comprehensive “SSRs and “good practice” case.
Akin to other African or international armies, the Ethiopian security sector wasexpected to be apolitical.
If we take the case of Bahrain “Many
close observers of Bahrain have long noted that thesecurity forces are, by design, heavily dominated by Sunni Muslims who are loyal to the Al
Khalifa regime.” wrote Kenneth Katzman
in an August 2012 article on Open Democracy titled
Security Sector Reform in Bahrain.
Following over reactions in 2010/11 on peaceful protesters
 by the security, an Independent Commission made the following recommendations to “correctthe longstanding security sector imbalances and deficiencies”. According to Kenneth some of 
them were:
 
Integrating Shiites into the security services to a far greater degree.
 
Taking away the National Security Agency‟s (intelligence service) law enforcement
powers.
 
Introducing greater transparency into the arrest and interrogation process.
 
Instit
uting a “code of conduct,” based on international best practices, so that the security
services adhere to international standards of human rights practices.
 
Abolishing the military court system and transfer of all cases to ordinary courts.Although the laws were in place, it did not fully keep the security from acting on the peacefulprotesters. SSR may not be easily and suddenly internalized in a security that is transformingfrom in an ethnicised and monopolized hegemony.Similarly, the second most controversial issue was the sale of arms and military training to theBahraini government by the U.S. government which was stopped and later resumed. Suchintergovernmental relations put the SSR not on an impossible endeavor but difficult one. A verypopular criticism on SSR worldwide has been that most donor states that were involved in the
Reform process were rather “excessively arming and training” the security of developing
countries that enabled the latter to consolidate their hold on power and repressiveness.

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