Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Botswana hosts military conference

The fifth African Conference of Commandants (ACoC) of Staff Colleges got under way this week, bringing together military men and women from 17 countries in Africa.

 Some countries from Europe and America sent military personnel to observe as African countries try, with limited funding, to move away from fighting amongst themselves towards peaceful cooperation.  

 The conference, like previous ones, allows military personnel to come together to share ideas on a common approach for teaching at Staff Colleges.

┬á“We want to raise the level of professionalism amongst African defence colleges. Staff colleges are in support of peace keeping. We should all understand how to work with each other when we go for operations,” ACoC new chairperson, Brigadier Gotsileene Morake, said on the sidelines of the conference.

 The Botswana Defence Force brigadier will remain chairman of ACoC for a year until another country takes over the rotational chairmanship. The BDF brigadier said the Staff Colleges are putting on common procedures as to how countries are going to cooperate for collective peace keeping operations. 

“Whatever agreements reached, I am mandated to implement the resolutions of the conference,” said Morake. ┬á

He said as part of the student exchange programme, Botswana Staff College students are trained at other staff colleges outside the country.

“In future, we will invite students to come and train here once our infrastructure is in place,” said Morake.

Sandra Oder of the ACoC Secretariat has warned there is considerable risk by having the United Kingdom as the sole donor for the management of ACoC.

 Oder is of the view that it is essential to get ACoC to broaden the base of donor support saying any thoughts of getting assistance from the African Union would only materialize if it was formally recognized by the AU.

┬á“Reliance on a single donor is not prudent, especially given the risk of organizational collapse if the donor has a bad financial year. More donors should be brought on board. Organisations such as the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre had survived when the Government of the United Kingdom withdrew support, because it had a broader donor base,” Oder wrote in her paper, ‘Operationalisation of ACoC ÔÇô The challenges of funding’.

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Sunday Standard August 9 – 15

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of August 9 - 15, 2020.