Civil Military Relations During COVID – 19, Challenges and Opportunities


Civil Military Relations During COVID – 19, Challenges and Opportunities



As the world encounters the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
pandemic, various countries are taking different measures to combat
its spread with some even deploying their armed forces to boost the
capacity of civilian institutions in containing the virus.

The nature and extent of military roles has varied, with some armies
taking over from and marginalizing civilian institutions while others
recognize and offer support to the relevant lead civilian institutions,
usually Ministries of Health.

Framed as a ‘war’ and a ‘battle’ to conquer, Uganda’s context
underscores COVID-19 as a huge security threat and not a mere
health crisis. The military, local defense units and police have
taken an active role in enforcing presidential directives such as, the
lockdown and curfew, and performing other wide-reaching functions
on logistics. The foregoing deployment of military has led to closer
proximity and interaction between soldiers and civilians with varying
results thus bringing into focus the concept of civil military relations.

This report draws on webinar conversations on security, health and
COVID-19 within civil military relations frameworks. It explores
challenges and opportunities for reform in various areas including
law enforcement, public health systems and public health emergency
response with an emphasis on; cooperation with and between the
security sectors, accountability, transparency, institutional capacity
and independence drawing on some of the experiences in Uganda and

This report underpins the intersectionality of human rights, security
and public institutions in situations of emergency. Moreover, the
delicate balance of citizen rights, agency and independence of public
institutions when military structures are favored remains a major


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