From the CIAO Atlas Map of Africa 

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CIAO DATE: 03/02

Raising Armies in a Rough Neigh-bourhood: Soldiers, Guerillas and Mercenaries in Southern Africa

Bjørn Møller

Copenhagen Peace Research Institute
August 2001


While the instruments of war, including the weaponry, are surely important, one of the timeless verities of war is that it is fought by people against other people. It therefore matters how armies are raised, as this has, among other things, an impact on the loyalty, "morale" and fighting spirit of the troops, hence also on the military power available to the State. 1 The choice between a militia structure, universal conscription or professionalization (or even privatization) also has implications for civil-military relations and may thus have a (beneficial or detrimental) impact on state-building.

The following article an overview of the personnel structures of the armed forces in Southern Africa, with a special focus on South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola. As an introduction a brief survey of recent developments in Europe in this field is provided, followed by a brief and inevitably superficial account of the historical background of the present (Southern) African armies. The focus is almost exclusively placed on armies with some consideration given to other security forces such as militias ands paramilitary forces. Both navies and air forces, however, are almost totally disregarded.


Note 1: Thoughout this paper "the State" (with capital letter) refers to the state as an institution to set it apart from individual states, synonymous with countries. Back