Nairobi GDAMS 2016 Report

Global Campaign on Military Spending – Africa

GDAMS Nairobi 2016 Report

Contact Person
David Otieno          – Convener GCOMS AFRICA
                                  Mobile: +254 708 566012

May 2016


The Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) Nairobi 2016 was a success after enormous efforts that were put by the planning team composed of David Otieno, Wilfred Olal, Rachael Mwikali and Musa Chekai who coordinated all efforts for the meeting to be successful.

We acknowledge support given by the International Steering Committee – ISC of GDAMS and the International Peace Bureau – IPB that provided financial support that catered for transport and accommodation for delegates from Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. We thank the Coalition for Constitution Implementation – Kenya for financial support which enabled support for local delegates. We thank the Stockholm Peace Research Institute – SIPRI website that enabled the local planning team to get various military spending figures for different countries that were used during the presentations.

Lastly we thank all the presenters that included Musa Chekai, Rachael Mwikali, Bosco Kubwayo, Ferdinand Manirerekana, Simon Rutandorora and David Otieno and all the participants who made the event a reality.

David Calleb Otieno


In the run up to the Berlin World Congress 2016, the African region held a Pre Congress on 17 April 2016 at Hotel Metro in Nairobi with an aim of developing a common African position ahead of the Berlin Congress. The African Prepcom was held concurrently with the GDAMS 2016 and was attended by delegates from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. 

The Nairobi 2016 Prepcom was very critical as it helped the GDAMists to disabuse the argument by the skeptics that Africa needs to increase military spending to address the increasing cases of insecurity in the African Continent.

The Nairobi Prepcom 2016 deliberated on the following: 

Terrorism Threat – Alternatives to Fighting Terrorism and Terror Groups from a Kenyan Perspective focusing on War on Al Shabaab and the Operation Linda Nchi, Main causes of terrorism and the Impact of war on terror on regional peace and security; 

Women and Peace – Peace and Disarmament from a Gender Perspective

Elections, Regional Peace & Security and Military Spending – Linking Flawed Elections to Regional Instability and Increasing Military Expenditure

Corruption, Security and Military Spending – Linking corruption in the military sector to Increasing Military Spending

Burundi, South Sudan, Kenya and Nigeria – Tracking military spending in relation to the crisis facing these countries

Climate Change, Security and Military Spending – Linking Climate Change to increasing conflicts in the region

African Treaties and Military Spending – A focus on African Treaties related to Peace and Security and their contributions to Militarization in Africa 

After the meeting the participants visited the Freedom Corner in Nairobi where participants visited the spot where tree were planted during the GDAMS 2015 and also took the opportunity to pledge solidarity with the Peasants Struggle.

Acknowledgement 2
Summary 3
1.0. GDAMS Nairobi 5
1.1. Past GDAMS 5
2.1. GDAMS Nairobi 2016 6
2.2. Terrorism Threat – Alternatives to Fighting Terrorism and Terror Groups – David Otieno 7
2.2. Women and Peace – Peace and Disarmament from a Gender Perspective 9
2.3. Elections, Regional Peace, Security and Military Spending 10
2.4. Corruption, Security and Military Spending – Musa Chekai 11
2.5. Climate Change, Security and Military Spending 13
2.6. African Treaties and Military Spending – David Otieno 13
2.6.1. The Constitutive Act of the African Union 13
2.6.2. The Protocol Establishing Peace and Security Council of the African Union 14
2.7. Visit to Freedom Corner 17
2.8. Conclusion 17

1.0. GDAMS Nairobi

1.1. Past GDAMS

Kenya has been marking GDAMS since its inception in 2011 with several activities ranging from street processions, seminars, photo opportunities, public forums and tree planting ceremonies among others. In 2011, GDAMS was marked by a photo opportunity where a group of students in Eastland Nairobi posed with a banner. In 2012 several groups including Bunge la Mwananchi (BLM), Wanjiku Revolution and Baraza la Taifa held a procession and presented a petition to the office of the President along Harambee Avenue while in 2013 several organizations under the banner of the BLM and Coalition for Constitution Implementation (CCI) again held a procession to the office of the president where they presented a petition.

In 2014 several organizations including BLM and CCI held a forum at Ufungamano House where a detailed report of Kenyan military expenditures was discussed. There after a march, tree-planting and candle-lighting activities were also held at Freedom Corner in Nairobi. 

In 2015, GDAMS was marked on 13 April with the GDAMS Nairobi 2015 being held at Freedom Corner Nairobi where a detailed report titled “I Would Plant Trees to Combat Climate Change” that contained survey report including street survey conducted in Nairobi to “assess views of members of public on military expenditure and their preferred spending areas” and literature review of various sources that led to comparative military expenditure of Kenya and select countries in the East Africa region and the Africa continent was released to the public. 

After the release of the report, members marched to the memorial site of the Garissa University Massacre where they signed condolence books, laid wreaths and planted trees in their memory.

2.1. GDAMS Nairobi 2016

The GDAMS Nairobi 2016 was very unique as apart from having delegates from the entire East Africa, it also served as the African region Prepcom. The GDAMS Nairobi 2016 provided an opportunity for delegates from East Africa to come together for the first time and discuss the issues related to Military Expenditure one on one.

The Nairobi 2016 Prepcom was very critical as the debate of reducing military expenditure in Africa has always been met by skeptics who indicate that Africa need to increase her military expenditure to address the increasing cases of insecurity in the African Continent due to increasing terror threat and presence of rebel groups. It is worth noting that 2013/2014; Africa had the largest relative military rise than any other region in the world at 8.3% reaching a spending of USD44.9bn.

Therefore the topics of discussions were deliberately chosen to move from the usual release of continental military expenditure figures to topics that were intended at highlighting the fact that the rise in continental military spending is not motivated by the urge to provide security and safety but by other factors like pursuit for profit by the military industrial complex and the corruption that has retreated to the security sector among others. The Nairobi GDAMS 2016 also had presentations on alternatives to addressing the terrorism threats that is always used by the African rulers as a justification to increasing military spending.

2.2. Terrorism Threat – Alternatives to Fighting Terrorism and Terror Groups – David Otieno

The presentation focused on the Kenyan Case study on how Kenya has handled the war on Al Shabaab in an “Operation Linda Nchi” meaning Operation Protect the Country in English.

The meeting was informed that terrorism is always a product of lack of proper avenues for citizens to participate effectively in matters that concern them especially regarding use of natural resources and also representation. The acts of terror are as a result of long term frustrations of the communities and this provides a breeding ground for terror groups to take advantage of the situation to persuade the communities perceiving themselves to be marginalized that the only way to express themselves is by using acts of terror.

The ultimate aim of terrorists is always to the redistribution of power and property rights and the extortion of rents and this is always achieved through media publicity, destabilizing the political system and damaging the economies of the target countries or areas. 

The meeting was informed that the deterrence has in the past been used to stop terrorism. The deterrence strategies that have been used over a long period of time include threats of heavy sanctions and by using police and military forces to fight them all that result in increasing the military expenditure but also helps to embolden the terrorists narrative of marginalization and provide the terrorists with fertile ground for mobilization. This strategy often involves zoning areas, communities and states which are attacked with heavy military gear. However this strategy has not yielded fruit as the attacks have continued to increase despite use of heavy weaponry and sanctions.

There is need to employ an open social, economic and political system that ensures equitable access to all the parties and that is based on social justice and human rights. The economic benefits should be decentralized to all areas equitably and the access to political power must also be equal to all. This makes it hard for the terrorists to sell their ideology to the communities.

In the Kenyan case, areas that have been breeding grounds to terrorists include the Northern Kenya, the Coastal Region and generally areas that border Somalia. These areas have been marginalized since Kenya’s independence and have provided the Al Shabaab terrorists with a fertile ground to conduct their recruitment and activities. Somali which has had a failed political system since early 90s has also not helped matters as they have provided the terrorists a base to organize and plan attacks in Kenya.

Since the launch of Operation Linda Nchi, Kenya has used heavy weaponry and force to target the areas perceived as terrorist breeding grounds including Eastleigh in Nairobi which is inhabited by people of Somalia decent and also North Eastern Kenya. The deployment of Kenyan Defence Forces in Somalia has also helped reinforce the feeling of marginalization to the people of Somalia origin providing terrorists with a breeding ground to recruit and attack.

The meeting further observed that other causes of terrorism in Kenya and Africa include:

Lack of a unifying African ideology which makes it easy for terrorists to radicalize youths with terror ideology. 

Extreme poverty which leads to disillusionment affecting patriotism hence susceptible to terror ideology. Tackle poverty by investing in basic needs and public service delivery is key to tackling terror threat.  

The increasing army of educated but unemployed youths is a target for terror groups. There is need to provide employment opportunities to the youths.  

Neighborhood vigilantes and ragtag armies in Africa provide recruiting grounds for terror groups hence there is need to provide employment for the youths in the vigilantes to make them less susceptible to terror ideology.

Government sponsored terrorism for political gains and politicization of war on terror makes it easy for terrorists to attack and recruit.

Corruption in security sector affects ability of our forces to effectively tackle terrorists. There is need to ensure that security sector expenditures are monitored and used prudently. 

Areas with mineral deposits are a target of terror groups and sometimes Western countries sponsor terrorists to control the mineral resources. There is need for Africa to develop technology to mine her own minerals and also ensure that mineral proceeds are used to benefit locals. 

2.2. Women and Peace – Peace and Disarmament from a Gender Perspective

Disarmament was described as the act of total elimination of weapons, reduction of armed forces and conventional armament especially in a period after war.  This should be based on the principle of undiminished security of the parties with a view to promoting or enhancing stability at a lower military level, taking into account the need of all States to protect their security.

The meeting heard that women bear the brunt of wars which they do not take part in propagating and also play no part in post war situations like negotiations that lead to restoring peace. The meeting heard that women involvement in the peace processes reduces the cost of negotiations which often drag for a long time as the parties involved in the processes are perpetrators but not the worst affected. Women involvement in the process can therefore hasten the process as being the victims will not want the process to drag long.

Several examples were given for example the situation in Burundi where women have been in the forefront in reestablishing peace and stability in post conflict Burundi. The meeting heard that women in Burundi have been running a campaign to consolidate peace and recovery for youth in Bujumbura in a scheme called ‘Cash for Work’ which is offering an alternative for the young people away from being engaged in war. The program has managed to achieve a lot despite it being self-supported initiative hence underscoring the impact the women can have should they be involved in official negotiations and post conflict situations.

The meeting further heard about the resilience of women who remain to take care of their families after losing their husbands and sons during war meaning that the resilience can be tapped on to maintain stability during post conflict situations. The fact that women have managed to play a key role in maintain contacts even during war and without monetary support means that their involvement in post war negotiations can drastically reduce the cost of managing post conflict situation which always has an impact in increasing spending related to military.

There is need to take into consideration the needs of women and have them as a focal point in conflict management and post conflict reconstruction. Women are therefore essential because they bring a more comprehensive peace plan to the negotiating table by addressing societal needs rather than solely focusing on what will make the warring parties happy.

2.3. Elections, Regional Peace, Security and Military Spending

The presentation focused on providing the link of flawed elections to regional instability and increasing military expenditure. The meeting was informed that most conflicts in the region relate to election and how they are managed and it was also observed that when the elections are well managed then conflicts in the region can be reduced which will also lead to reduction of military expenditure.

The presentation scanned through the electoral process in East Africa which was noted to be opaque leading to contested results which often take violent form. This therefore means that the extent to which election laws are transparent and how they can guarantee results that are acceptable to all can ensure Peaceful transitions hence reduced military spending.

The meeting was informed that there has been a trend of increase in military spending by African governments one year before the elections which is always motivated by the urge of the African states to protect power after grabbing power using rigged and flawed polls. This therefore means that the increase in military expenditure during these times is not motivated by the urge to provide security or safety to the citizens but to protect the power explaining why despite such increases in military spending, incidences of insecurity still continue to rise. Subsequently the period after flawed polls is also characterized by increase in military expenditure so that the governments can be maintained in power.

Violence related to flawed elections were cited including Kenya in 2007, Burundi in 2015, South Sudan in 2013 and recently in Uganda where contested pre and post-election management process has led to tensions which in turn has led to violence and thereby having an impact of increased military spending in these countries.

The meeting therefore resolved that there is need for establishment of a regional non-partisan election body to manage polls in the region as most political conflicts are caused by poor election and transition management in the East African region leading to an increase in military expenditure which is not motivated by provision of security and safety for the citizens.

2.4. Corruption, Security and Military Spending – Musa Chekai

The presentation linked corruption both in and out of the military sector to the increasing military expenditure in Africa.
According to Transparency International, a UK based research organization that tracks corruption and perceptions of corruption worldwide, gave every single African country surveyed (47 out of 54) a failing or a near failing grade when it comes to preventing graft in their defence sectors.

The report further stated that defence spending is on the rise across the African continent and further noted that without better tracking on how that money is spent, there is little to ensure that it will go to the areas that need it most in terms of ensuring security and safety for African people.
With a case study of Kenya, it was noted that in 2015/2016, the treasury increased the allocation to the military and the police to KSh215 billion which was about KSh16 billion higher than the amount allocated during 2014/2015 budget and during the same period, the Auditor General reported that only 46.4% of the amount was used while the rest was misappropriated by the military officers who received imprests using different identification card numbers in different payment vouchers.

The same report also revealed that the donation from the USA government which was meant to support Kenya in fighting terrorism was increased by 163% in 2015/2016 up from KSh3.8 billion in 2014/2015 but only 28.7% of the money was used.  The Auditor General revealed that they could not establish how and what the rest of the money was used for.

Also during the same period, the UN donation which was meant to beef up support in fighting terrorism was increased by 29.79% in 2015/2016 fiscal year up from KSh4.7 billion in 2014 and the Transparency International reports indicate that only 71% of the money was used while the rest of the amount was lost to corruption in the country.

Corruption outside military sector was also found to be playing a big role in the rising continental military expenditure. It was revealed that political leaders who have stolen state money through corruption use all means to protect themselves and power because of fear of prosecution explaining the African strongman syndrome and life presidency. They protect themselves and power by purchasing more arms to stop the opposition from taking power for fear of being prosecuted. 

This provides evidence that not all the money that goes into military sector is used prudently and also means that such increases are not motivated by provision of security and safety but to meet the appetite for corruption by top military and government officials.

2.5. Climate Change, Security and Military Spending

The presentation linked climate change to increasing conflicts in the region both at intra and inter-state levels.
The meeting was informed that conflicts related to scramble for natural resources like water and pasture can’t be resolved by purchasing more arms.

The meeting noted that Africa has no proper strategies of addressing climate change and this has led to resource related conflicts and urged the African governments to invest more in protecting forests and climate justice.

2.6. African Treaties and Military Spending – David Otieno

The presentation focused on the African Instruments and Protocols Related to Peace and Security and their impact on the rising continental military expenditure.

2.6.1. The Constitutive Act of the African Union

The meeting was informed that the Articles 3 (a) and 4 (d) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union underscores the need for development of a Common African Defence and Security Policy for the African Continent. This is clearly stated in the Solemn Declaration on the Common African Defence and Security Policy.

Furthermore the article 3 of the Protocol relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union states that the objectives for the establishment of the Peace and Security Council include development of a Common Defence Policy for the Union as stipulated in the article 4(d) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union and it further provides in Article 7 (h) of the protocol that one of the powers of the PSC shall be implementation of the Common Defence Policy of the African Union.

From the Peace and Security Protocol and the Constitutive Act of the African Union perspective, defence is viewed as both the traditional, military and state-centric notion of the use of the armed forces to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity which underscores the motivation of the African states to resort to militarization.

2.6.2. The Protocol Establishing Peace and Security Council of the African Union

This part focused on the analysis to the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and its Contribution to Militarization in Africa

The following is a table summarizing some articles of the protocol relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and their implications on the African rising military spending.

Article Implication on Militarization 1 (h) Regional Mechanisms shall mean the African Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and ResolutionIn most cases these Regional Mechanisms are in form of standby forces or in form of regional states contributing forces to tackle an issue for example AMISOM with forces from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Ethiopia. This increases the milex of the countries and Africa as a whole. 2 (1) talks about establishment of a Peace and Security Council within the Union, as a standing decision-making organ for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts pursuant to Article 5(2) of the Constitutive Act. The Peace and Security Council shall be a collective security and early-warning arrangement to facilitate timely and efficient response to conflict and crisis situations in Africa supported by a Commission, a Panel of the Wise, a Continental Early Warning System, an African Standby Force and a Special Fund.The financial implications of financing such structures like the Council, the Commission, Special Fund and the Panel of Wise all contribute to increased military spending but are not directly impacting on safety of the African Citizens. Furthermore the financial implications of the Standby force are enormous.
Continental classification of Security Sector spending means that it is very difficult to establish whether all these resources go to intended use.   3 – Objectives
Promote peace, security and stability in Africa, in order to guarantee the protection and preservation of life and property, the well-being of the African people and their environment, as well as the creation of conditions conducive to sustainable development;
Anticipate and prevent conflicts. In circumstances where conflicts have occurred, the Peace and Security Council shall have the responsibility to undertake peace-making and peace building functions for the resolution of these conflicts;
Promote and implement peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction activities to consolidate peace and prevent the resurgence of violence;
Co-ordinate and harmonize continental efforts in the prevention and combating of international terrorism in all its aspects;
Develop a common defence policy for the Union, in accordance with article 4(d) of the Constitutive Act;
Promote and encourage democratic practices, good governance and the rule of law, protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for the sanctity of human life and international humanitarian law, as part of efforts for preventing conflictsAll these objectives do not have practical ways of addressing root causes of the conflicts and proceeds from the point that maintenance of peace is by increasing military capabilities which in turn has an impact on the military spending.
Some of the efforts carried out to meet these objectives are always in form of supporting delegations to conflict countries which then increases military related spending but do not directly translate to safety of the people
In terms of combating terrorism, the most adopted approach is sending troops and forces thereby stretching military spending but do not include strategies that address the root causes of radicalization
In terms of objective (f), very little effort is being employed by the AU regarding meeting the objective. If more resources are directed towards these then in the long term some of the conflicts in Africa could have been prevented hence reduced cost of conflicts 4 – Principles
The right of the Union to intervene in a Member State pursuant to a decision of the Assembly in respect of grave circumstances, namely war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, in accordance with Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act;
The right of Member States to request intervention from the Union in order to restore peace and security, in accordance with Article 4(j) of the Constitutive Act.In most cases in Africa, these intra state conflicts leading to tribal/ethnic wars, genocide, crimes against humanity are caused by lack of respect to human rights, social justice, human dignity, equitable distribution of resources and corruption which AU lays less emphasis on. If more resources are directed to these then there shall be reduced intra state conflict 5 – Structure of PSC
Talks about the structure of Peace and Security Council stating that it shall be composed of fifteen members elected on the basis of equal rights. It shall be composed of 10 members elected for a term of two years; and 5 Members elected for a term of three years in order to ensure continuity.Some of these structures have huge financial implications whose opportunity cost sometimes are poor investment on basic services, human rights and social justice leading to more conflicts.
There should be progressive reduction of spending related to such structures so that more resources can go to public service delivery, humanitarian needs, climate justice and social justice 6 – Functions of PSC
The Peace and Security Council shall perform functions in the following areas:
Promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa;
Early warning and preventive diplomacy;
Peace-making, including the use of good offices, mediation, conciliation and enquiry;
Peace support operations and intervention, pursuant to article 4 (h) and (j) of the Constitutive Act;
Peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction;
Humanitarian action and disaster management;
Any other function as may be decided by the Assembly.These functions relate to intervention after conflicts have emerged. The functions of the PSC should be geared towards addressing the root causes of conflicts other than being reactive after conflicts have erupted.
Long term peace can be attained by not waiting to invest money after conflicts have arose but to invest the resources in sectors like public service delivery, human rights, climate justice and social justice
From the perspective of PSC, maintenance of peace is attained by having standby forces. 7 – Powers of the PSC
Undertake peace-making and peace-building functions to resolve conflicts where they have occurred;
Authorize the mounting and deployment of peace support missions
Recommend to the Assembly, pursuant to Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act, intervention, on behalf of the Union, in a Member State in respect of grave circumstances, namely war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, as defined in relevant international conventions and instruments

The powers of PSC are premised on the foundation of assembling a regional regimen which in turn increases military spending
The PSC should have deliberate powers to prevent conflicts not by recruiting more standby forces but by addressing root causes of intra state conflicts for long term peace and security

2.7. Visit to Freedom Corner 
After the seminar, the participants went to the Freedom Corner where trees that were planted during the GDAMS 2015 were visited and watered.

The participants also took time to reflect about the victims of the Garissa University Terror attacks and also offered solidarity to the Peasants Struggle in the world which is also affected by militarization and globalization.

2.8. Conclusion
In conclusion the Nairobi GDAMS 2016 which also served as the African Regional Prepcom sought to disabuse the common continental notion that Africa needs a rise in military expenditure to be able to address the increasing cases of insecurity in the continent and that Africa is facing rising cases of insecurity and conflicts because Africa is spending less in the security sector.

All the presentations sought to provide evidence that not all the allocations that go to the security sector in Africa are actually motivated by provision if security and safety for the people of Africa but are motivated by various factors ranging from corruption, pursuit for protection of powers, wrong strategies in tackling causes of insecurity like terrorism and wrong perceptions of conflict prevention mechanisms.

The meeting resolved to conduct more research ahead of the Berlin Congress to concretize and firm up the Africa’s position to be presented during the Berlin Congress.


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