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Zimbabwe has reformed security services

21 Mar 2021 at 07:23hrs | Views
Security Sector Reform (SSR) aims to enhance Security Sector Governance (SSG) through the effective and efficient delivery of security under conditions of democratic oversight and control.

SSR offers a framework for conceptualising which actors and factors are relevant to security in a given environment as well as methodology for optimising the use of available security resources.

In some words Security Sector Reform SSR can generally be defined as a process of transforming the security sector to strengthen accountability, effectiveness, and respect for human rights and the rule of law.

The security sector is a broad term used to describe the structures, institutions and personnel responsible for the management, provision and oversight of security in a country.

Security Sector Reform strives toward improving Security Sector Governance (SSG), a term referring to the multi-stakeholder oversight process by which a security sector is internally and externally governed. Zimbabwe has received demands for the security sector reforms as a condition for the opposition to participate in the elections. They have a lot of support from the West and each time there are elections you all here a demand that there must be reforms.

The way this is said appear to suggest that there is a total abuse of process by the security forces. This has become a point the MDC A forward to the Zimbabwean detractors. It is now clear that despite what Zimbabwe does to engage the West there will always be demands which are senseless.

Zimbabwean Security forces are capable of delivering security professionally, at a reasonable cost, and in a way that helps to ensure the rule of law. Again whether MDC agrees or not Zimbabwean Security sector is representative of the population as a whole. It is inclusive, adequately reflecting a country's various communities and gender sensitive. In all the security forces Zimbabwe boasts of several ladies and we have very senior officers showing that Zimbabwe is gender sensitive. We must never forget that ZANU PF fought for human rights removed the lines and the walls of oppression.

To the contrary Security forces operate transparently providing information to the public and in every Security Sector there is a public relations officer who communicates with the public to an extent which is necessary.

Zimbabwe as a country has security objectives and policies which are set out in a National Security Policy and its supporting documents that define the respective tasks and responsibilities of the various components of the security sector.

Executive and civilian management authorities in charge of the security forces are capable of giving them proper direction and management. Zimbabwean Security forces are overseen by, and accountable to, democratically-constituted civilian authorities in charge of their activities. Hence the minister in charge of any security branch is a civilian. The security sector is accountable to a robust judicial and legal framework. The police work together very well with the judiciary.

Civil society and non-governmental actors with a role in monitoring the governance of the security sector are active and can operate independently the Police as Domestic security sector does smoothly interact with one another and they are well integrated into regional and international security frameworks.

While we appreciate that Security Sector Reform (SSR) refers to the process of transforming the ‘security sector' – those institutions that safeguard a country and its citizens from security threats – to ensure the provision of effective security to both the state and its people within a framework of accountability and democratic governance. A fairly recent concept, SSR emerged in the 1990s as the Cold War ended and security challenges become more complex.

The objective of SSR is to create a secure environment that facilitates development, poverty reduction, good governance and the consolidation of democracy based on the rule of law. Typically undertaken by a government with the support of international partners and civil society actors, SSR involves a systematic review of the policies, programmes and activities of a country's security sector. It addresses both the core state providers of security (such as the military, police, intelligence community, border guard, judiciary and penal system) and non-state providers (like private security and military companies and non-state armed groups).

The Zimbabwean Security Sector has already been reformed before the noise being made by the Mdc. Our security forces already reformed from cruel human rights abusers under Ian Smith to a friendly and professional sector. The sector provides rule of engagement and integrity within defence and security institutions.

It is the Zimbabwean Police who understand the Protection of the human rights of military service members and the public at large.

Zimbabwe can boast of a police force which understands the process of Promoting better communication of security sector institutions with citizens and earnestly encouraging active participation of civil society.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police engages in Re-training discharged personnel for civilian employment and Ensuring social rights in transition from conscription-based to a professional army.

To this end every security sector has a staff college were members attend and enrol in a number of courses and training their members to be equipped for life after the force.

It is therefore baffling that as a country we are still under sanctions because some one keeps saying there are no security reforms. The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) is an international foundation whose mission is to assist the international community in pursuing good governance and reform of the security sector. DCAF develops and promotes norms and standards, conducts tailored policy research, identifies good practices and recommendations to promote democratic security sector governance, and provides in-country advisory support and practical assistance programmes. It has never issued any alarm over Zimbabwe. Instead it has recommended that our army and police be given peace keeping duties. The United Nations has praised the ZRP for the way they have discharged their peace keeping duties.

We wonder why the opposition only cries for these reforms only towards elections. They literally make a case for election unfairness bu soiling the name of of our good security officers.

Security sector reform means transforming the security sector/system, which includes all the actors, their roles, responsibilities and actions, so that they work together to manage and operate the system in a manner that is more consistent with democratic norms and sound principles of good governance, and thus contributes to a well-functioning security framework.

SSR assumes that effective and democratic security delivery is fundamental for reducing poverty and for sustainable economic, social and political development.SSR's main objective is to attain an effective, efficient and well governed security provision system. SSR aims to ensure that the appropriate level of resources is attributed to the security services so that the rest can be duly invested into social and economic development. A functional security sector is a precondition for democratisation. A well-functioning security sector contributes towards regional stability and enhances opportunities for international cooperation.

Since 1980!Zimbabwe realised that Security Sector Reform (SSR) is a fundamental component in Zimbabwe's stabilisation and reconstruction, and engaged in ways to achieve this. But despite all the work the opposition continue to poise Zimbabwe on a political knife edge and the security sector is being used as a scape goat to impose a regime change agenda.Understanding the military, promoting a new dynamic in military relations, and encouraging SSR is vital to ensure the transition leads to sustainable development. But MDC shows a serious gap between them and the reasoning. They are poised to drag the country into the mud.

Zimbabwe must not consider fundamental reforms in the provision of security and justice services to the people of Zimbabwe. Over the past ten years, the Zimbabwean security sector has increasingly come into the spotlight as unduly politicised, non-partisan, and as infringing on the human rights of the citizens. However there was never any proof of such allegations.

SSR has evolved from an application of the post-cold war development agenda, with its emphasis on good governance and democratisation, to that of the state security structures. Zimbabwe's formal security sector comprises the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS). All these organisations are considered as the most professional entities in Africa. So cries of security reforms are based on lies and active fear of loosing elections. This is why we never here a call for these reforms until two months to elections.

Before it's self destruction Mode MDC has a reasonable representative number in parliament They never sponsored a motion to that effect. They raise this motion only to the press and to their foreign vampires two months before elections. The opposition must realise that SSR is a coordinated series of actions designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a state's security

Those who are looking for reasons to punish Zimbabwe have largely taken the radical view that more often than not, the military has acted undemocratically through uttering and overseeing an array of operations meant to stifle democracy. They have not taken into account that the army in every country they are used in domestic affairs where the police have been overwhelmed. This does not suggest that the army is being used in an undemocratic nature.

The security reform cry has become a tired song. Security sector reform is not just a process focussed on building military and police institutions. It's an important part of a broader peacebuilding enterprise and supports states in their own constitutional and political development. Zimbabwe has invested extensively in security sector governance and sustainability. Zimbabwe accepts and respects a democratic, accountable and well-functioning security sector, which is an integral element in a broader system of government that provides protections for all citizens, based on the fundamental principles of universal human rights and respect for the rule of law.

This is what makes security sector reform relevant not just in post-conflict reconstruction, before elections but also in conflict prevention. Because trust between citizens and the state is premised on the existence of institutions which serve and protect the needs of those citizens. Where that trust is undermined, instability is rarely far behind. Police are often the first point of contact between a state and its citizens, but when corruption and abuse are allowed to flourish, that social contract begins to erode.

Zimbabwe does not have problems with its security sector. We do agree that some overzealous officers spoil the name of the force but again this can not be attributed to the whole face. The opposition must realise security reforms must have local ownership. The process must be driven by credible local leaders and the local population. Not America and those who are not part of our country. There must be Effectiveness: Security and justice providers need to be able to provide an effective service to the population. They should have the knowledge, skills and resources to be able to carry out their allocated tasks. They must be accountable Security and justice providers need to operate within the law. They should not abuse their positions. The population should be able to trust in the fact that there are functioning measures to ensure abuse does not happen - and if it does, that there are suitable (and working) mechanisms for redress and preventing re-occurrence.

Security and justice sector development also takes into consideration three main practical challenges: Zimbabwe understands that Security and justice actors and institutions do not operate in isolation. Whilst focus on support may be concentrated in one or other area, it is paramount to ensure that this fits into and interacts with the wider security and justice system. SSR practitioners must retain a holistic vision of security and justice development. Security and justice development goes to the core of the interests of individuals, organisations and states. It is not just about creating structures and improving skills. SSR practitioners must remember that security and justice development is first and foremost a political undertaking.

Technical. There are many different elements in security and justice development: different thematic areas, and diverse processes and organisational systems. SSR practitioners must recognise that security and justice development is a technically complex process. Zimbabwe has taken immense strides towards stabilisation and reconstruction under the ND. New dispensation

Comprehensive and fundamental reform within the security sector in Zimbabwe at this point in time lacks political and social reasoning. So the noise which is only raised towards elections is not in anyway reasonable. These cries are only heard towards elections. This is because the opposition will be making a case for rigged elections. Even though there is no shred of evidence that there is a problem. For how long are we going to be held at ransom whenever there are elections coming.

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
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