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Role in elite pacting and power shifts

In transitional environments, non-state actors are anticipated to play a role in ‘elite pacting’ processes, as elaborated in Chapter 2. Elite pacting refers to a controlled transfer of power and authority as well as an agreement about new models of governance between the old and new nomenclatures. Elite pacting can be an important determinant of successful transition. Civil society actors including academics and international organisations can play a crucial role, as the previous findings on the case of South Africa showed (Cawthra and Luckham 2003: 309). A “strong civil society” and actors from the international community can play a significant role in facilitating dialogue, capacity and negotiation between the old and new ‘orders’ (Cawthra 2003: 35; Cawthra and Luckham 2003: 309). CSOs were anticipated to play a role in elite pacting by establishing a liaison, through formal and informal connections between the two political orders and through linking military and civilian government institutions. The role of CSOs in elite pacting, as revealed by the data of this research, is highlighted below:

• ‘When elections happened, we invited leaders of various political parties, we had people from MQM, Muslim League, PPP, Jamaat Is- lamiyah, AL - two days training with these diverse people who are not comfortable with one another. Our first focus was trust building.

We tried to build trust. They were sharing numbers, male and females, with beard, without, doing group work. Another best example, if you talk appropriate, neutral and transparent’ (Interview Participant #4, Senior NGO Representative).

  • • ‘(...) We play a role in facilitating dialogue - intellectual dialogue between people involved in policy formulation/implementation in order to reconcile positions, find compromises and solutions’ (Interview Participant #2, Senior NGO Representative).
  • • ‘We facilitate interaction and convergence between military scholars, civilian policy makers and academic scholars. (...) [We] try to bridge the knowledge gap by inviting military as well, because they always know more. (...) Our mandate is political development, which is done through direct interaction with military and state institutions (...). We attempted to link civilian decision-makers with military officers’ (Interview Participant #5, Senior NGO Representative).
  • • ‘We attempt to increase the impact of our work by inviting retired military officials (...), because there will be some transfer, because they still have some influence’ (Interview Participant #17, Senior NGO Representative).
  • • ‘[We organise] conferences and seminars inviting, inter alia, military. Integrating the message in a widely accepted message might be a strategy to achieve greater acceptance’ (Interview Participant #25, Senior NGO Representative).

Civil society actors were found to attempt to liaise and build trust between civilian and military institutions by inviting them to conferences, seminars or other relevant events. They believe that integrating representatives from decision-making institutions into their work can optimise the transfer of their findings and recommendations at a policy level. At an intra- institutional level, some organisations were found to attempt to bring together leaders from different political parties with various, if not contradictory views and ideologies. Similar to non-state actors’ contribution to direct diagonal accountability and civilian oversight through empowerment of institutions, only few associations were found to have the capacity to exercise elite pacting functions.

Some intriguing issues emerging from this combination of findings on NGOs’ role in elite pacting relate specifically to their capacity and strategy, which are discussed in detail in the next chapter. While elite pacting is essential in hybrid orders for enabling negotiations between old and new orders and the transfer of power and authority from the military to civilians, local actors and non-state organisations were found to be rarely actively considerate of this aspect. This can be either because they were not sufficiently aware of the importance of bridging the civil-military gap and building the way for the transfer of power, or perhaps because they consider that liaising with the military is associated with acquiescing their importance and thus contributing to the perpetuation of military power, or just because nonstate actors might not be sure about the public impact of engaging with or co-opting the military in their activities and prefer thus to rather not take steps that might jeopardise their funding or acceptance.

 
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