Explaining Army Intrusion in African Politics: An On-going Debate
The role of the military and its relationship to government policymaking are central to a country's democratization. Civilian government officials, including legislators, often do not have the background and training necessary to perform their military oversight roles effectively or to develop the respect of military counterparts. For African democracy to succeed, civil-military relations must be reformed. Democratic government is more likely than any other type of government to meet the ordinary people's needs. The issue of civil-military relations is central to both political and economic development because it is the determinant of the dialogue between civilian politicians and the military leadership. After decades of mistrust, the military and civilian politicians will need to redesign their relationships for a smooth political transition of their country. Diamond and Plattner make a good case for a new civil-military relationship in Africa, arguing that civilian leaders must define the military's role, including its planning, practices and level of armaments.