The Minister of Defense Gen. James Kabarebe has contextualized why Rwanda’s security forces prioritize human security saying that, besides the fact that the concept has always been rooted in the doctrines of security institutions, it has also served as a major pillar to good governance, people’s welfare and comfort.
Gen. Kabarebe, who was one of the panelists at the symposium for the Police Senior Command and Staff Course (PSCSC) on Thursday, said that “our soldiers can’t be confined in barracks; they are in every part of the community because they are part of that population.”
“They must give back to the population, they can’t live off the taxpayers’ money without giving back, yet they have that responsibility of social economic development, the same applies to Rwanda National Police,” the Minister said.
He added: “Police officers are not always out there to enforce law and order and arrest criminals, much of the time is spent in engagement with the people in preventive activities.”
The Minister’s comments followed his detailed insight into the historic context of the military, what they were responding to, what was the character, what influenced the doctrine, behavior and employment at different times up to date where the current security forces have reinvented how the serve the public.
Currently, according to the Minister, security forces in Rwanda are guided by the philosophy and doctrine of social, political and economic transformation of Rwanda.
“Security is determined within its entire attributes of social, political, economical and environmental aspects, and this is umbilically coded into the founding ideology of the RPF and I am sure it will remain so.”
“Our security forces recognize that human security forms the basic foundation of the entire national defense and security. This forms the rationale for the defense intervention in various areas of human security aspects such as health, education, agriculture, infrastructure and other poverty eradication programmes. This has been possible because of collaboration with other government institutions.”
Speaking about ‘people-centered policing and human security, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Emmanuel K. Gasana said that community policing is one of the best strategies to reduce crimes and improve public welfare.
“Human security is an emerging paradigm in the policing regime of the 21st century and so far the best strategy of policing that we have to adopt today because of the situation that we are in,” IGP Gasana said.
The Police Chief observed that the proactive policing philosophy bridges the gap between the classic theories of realism and liberalism.
“It is the right of the people to live, work and participate without fear in socio-political and economic structures that affect their lives, and the aim is to safeguard the vital core of all human lives from threats and vulnerabilities,” said the Police Chief.
He highlighted economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security as well as political security as some of the core human security component.
“Community policing has been factored into our policing architecture but still we are guided by the four Cs; Community Cooperation Campaigns against Crime,” he said.
The symposium also drew crème-de-la-crème and brightest minds from the region, who spoke at length on crosscutting issues linking human security to governance and accountability.
Dr. Ochieng Kamudhayi, an expert on conflict and security matters from University of Kenya, spoke about the evolutionary nature of security and corresponding challenges emphasizing locating human security in theory and practice.
Dr. Kamudhayi brought out the realist theory that was more dominant during the cold war era, which he said had its own weaknesses and only focused on the state as a unitary actor and that it was only the state that mattered and security was only offered at that level.
“This traditional understanding of security meant that the state only had to arm itself and prepare itself against external threat in a manner that even scared its people…. Later a question emerged, that in the aftermath of the cold war, the challenges were not interstate conflicts, but intrastate conflicts-it is the people inside the state that were now locking the boat and asking very serious questions related to their rights, abuses, poverty, ignorance and health,” he said.
“Instead of addressing issues by use of force, there was need to change the methodology because what was causing insecurity was poverty, health issues, education and environment among others. And this could not be addressed by arming ourselves but rather a paradigmatic shift and work directly with the people,” Dr. Kamudhayi said.
His views were reemphasized by the director of Kenya School of Law and a renowned pan-Africanist, Prof. Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba who detailed how good governance is critical necessity to enable human security.
“The existence of well-coordinated governance enhances the quality of public security and people’s wellbeing. Good governance is, therefore, at the very heart of human security. Every country is seeking to improve the level of governance as an effective and constructive human security,” Prof. Lumumba said.
He added: “If there is an insurgency in the country, children won’t go to school, people will starve and there will be public health issues; human security can’t be achieved.”
In the local context, the CEO of Rwanda Governance Board, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, who gave insights on ‘operationalizing human security – Rwanda’s home-grown initiatives in perspective,’ said that Rwanda response to her challenges is centred on restoring human security and finding solutions to Rwandans’ problems brought about by the past bad leadership, which paved way for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“Politics, governance and justice must be well structured and coordinated for effective human security. In Rwanda’s context, home grown solutions are key drivers of transformation in all aspects. Security organs play a key role in operationalizing human security in Rwanda through community support initiatives in different areas including health, shelter, infrastructures and social welfare among others,” he said, adding that, citizens are the greatest security officers if only empowered.
Another panelist, Josephine Ajema Odera also spoke at length about human security as equally beneficial to ensuring women rights are respected and protected.
The symposium was organized for the Police students of the sixth intake of PSCSC that normally comes in the last stages of the one year course.